For all of the great deals that come with family plans and shared accounts, sometimes those doesn’t apply to us. Maybe you’re a college student or someone striking out on your own and looking to pick up a phone plan.
Let’s take a look at the major cellular providers and what each offers at a particular price point. For the sake of this post we’ll see what single line plans are available at $50 per month.
Who has the best value at $50 a month?
Included in this roundup will be the following wireless network companies: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular. If there’s nothing at the $50 tier, we’ll select the next closest one without going over. We’re working with a budget, right?
Verizon – Medium Plan ($50)
For $50 per month, Verizon’s “Medium” plan offers subscribers unlimited talk, text, and 4GB of high-speed (4G LTE) data.
To be clear, this price does not factor in the $20 per month access fee for any devices purchased on payment plans. If you go over the allotted data, you’ll pay $15 per gigabyte. Other features include Carryover Data, Safety Mode.
AT&T – Mobile Share Plus 3GB Plan ($50)
AT&T customers receive unlimited talk, text, and 3GB of monthly data at 4G LTE speeds. Hit the threshold and you’ll see speeds slowed for the remainder of the bill cycle. Also included in the plan are 480p video streaming, mobile hotspot, Rollover Data. If you go over the data allowance, you’ll pay $15 per gigabyte.
Customers have to sign up for AutoPay for automatic bill payments to get this rate; it’s $10 extra each month without. Like Verizon, AT&T charges $20 per month per smartphone to access the data, too.
T-Mobile – ONE Prepaid Domestic Plan ($50)
T-Mobile doesn’t have a postpaid plan, but this prepaid option offers unlimited talk, text, and unlimited high-speed data. Top users may see speeds slowed once they get to around 50GB of data consumed. Mobile hotspot is also unlimited, but it’s throttled at 3G speeds.
Videos are streamed 480p by default but you can turn that off whenever you’d like; many music streaming services do not count against the data allowance.
Sprint – Single Line 2GB Plan ($40)
Sprint does not offer a plan at the $50 price point but it does have an option at $40 per month. Details include unlimited talk and text as well as 2GB of high speed data. Hit the 2GB barrier and you’ll be slowed down for the rest of your bill cycle.
You’ll have to enroll in automatic monthly bill payments (AutoPay) for this rate otherwise it’s $5 more each month. Mobile hotspot is included, however it goes against your data allotment.
US Cellular – 2GB Total Plan ($45)
US Cellular also doesn’t have anything at the $50 mark but it does have a plan that comes out to $45 per month – just as long as you sign up for automatic payment and paperless billing. Otherwise, you’re looking at another $10 per month.
It’s really hard to beat the T-Mobile plan for the money and we think it’s the best value for the $50 budget. Not only do you conceivably have unlimited data, but you’re not charged any stupid access fees to use the data.
To be fair, you might find something different when you start comparing multiple lines or factoring in deals, discounts, or limited time promotions. Don’t forget that this doesn’t account for any device costs, either.
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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!
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.