Which prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?

How do the various prepaid service providers fare with a $40 monthly budget? Let's compare Verizon Prepaid, AT&T Prepaid, T-Mobile, Metro, Cricket, and Boost Mobile.

With more than 400 million subscribers on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, it’s safe to say that most Americans rely on the so-called “Big Four” carriers. But, to be clear, that’s not everyone.

There are millions of consumers who use other brands and services for wireless coverage, many of which are prepaid plans. Each of the major carriers offers its own prepaid options; there are plenty of other companies competing in the space.

Let’s take a look at each of the major prepaid rate plans at a particular price point: $40 per month. How does each carrier stack up when dealing with that monthly budget?

Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?

Included in this roundup will be the following wireless network companies: Verizon Prepaid, AT&T Prepaid, T-Mobile, Metro, Cricket, and Boost Mobile. We’ll highlight the important details for each, calling attention to key benefits.


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For the sake of argument, we’re listing the best plan available up to the $40 amount and, where applicable, whether it requires automatic bill payment.

We understand there are other mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) out there, but we’re not including them here.

Verizon Prepaid

  • $35 per month
  • Includes $5 monthly discount from automatic bill payment
  • Utilizes Verizon‘s network
  • Unlimited Talk and Text
  • Unlimited text to 200+ international destinations
  • 6GB high speed data (promo: 3GB plus additional 3GB at no extra cost)
  • Includes mobile hotspot

AT&T Prepaid

  • $40 per month
  • Includes $10 monthly discount from automatic bill payment
  • Utilizes AT&T’s network
  • Unlimited Talk and Text
  • Unlimited Talk and Text to Mexico, Canada
  • Use Talk, Text, and Data in Mexico, Canada
  • Unlimited text to 100+ international destinations
  • 8GB high speed data
  • Includes mobile hotspot
  • Unused data rolls over to next month

T-Mobile

  • $40 per month
  • Utilizes T-Mobile’s network
  • Unlimited Talk and Text
  • Wi-Fi Calling
  • 10GB high speed data
  • Includes mobile hotspot
  • Select music streaming services don’t affect data usage

Metro

  • $40 per month
  • Utilizes T-Mobile‘s network
  • Unlimited Talk and Text
  • 10GB high speed data
  • Select music streaming services don’t affect data usage

Cricket Wireless

  • $35 per month
  • Includes $5 monthly discount from automatic bill payment
  • Utilizes AT&T’s network
  • Unlimited Talk and Text
  • 5GB high speed data

Boost Mobile

  • $35 per month
  • Utilizes Sprint’s network
  • Unlimited Talk and Text
  • 3GB high speed data
  • Includes mobile hotspot
  • Includes 6 months of TIDAL
  • Select music streaming services don’t affect data usage

Conclusion

In terms of an overall pick that addresses the needs of most consumers, it’s a toss-up between T-Mobile and its prepaid brand, Metro. Both use the same network and offer consumers unlimited talk, text, and 10GB of 4G LTE data. Additionally, each gives users access to an array of streaming music services that do not affect data usage. Plus, we like that we don’t have to sign up for automatic payments.

If we were to give the edge to one, it would be T-Mobile. Why? Handset selection is better and there is a higher likelihood of snagging a promotion or incentive.

As good as T-Mobile and Metro look here, it might not be available in the places that are important. Before considering a carrier switch you’ll want to ensure that coverage is available everywhere you want or need. What’s more, look at the up-front costs associated with changing providers as well long-term fees.

To be fair, you might find something different when you start factoring in multiple lines or pair with deals, discounts, or limited time promotions. Don’t forget that this doesn’t account for any device costs, either.

Look close

Also worth noting, take a look at the finer details for things like international calling or messaging. If those matter to you, one carrier might edge another and it could be worth trading off a few bucks each month.

Personal discounts

Lastly, there may be some monthly savings available to you as part of an employee, affiliate, or military discount. That might be good for a few bucks each month!

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