Mint Mobile is cheaper, but it has yet to show up on those surveys at all, and offers no physical-store support.
Cricket's 8 Mbps speed limit is annoying, and it doesn't allow mobile-hotspot use, but in this data-sipping context, those are acceptable trade-offs.
Some prepaid services offered service in only 30-day increments; to avoid a punitive level of math, we treated that as a month in our calculations.
Finally, we didn’t factor in taxes and regulatory fees because they vary by jurisdiction (on my own T-Mobile plan, for example, these fees added up to just over 7 percent of my June 2019 bill).
(Sorry, Tracfone.)That left us with the following services to assess: For each, we computed the cost of a few typical bundles of smartphone service, setting minimal use at 1 GB of data, moderate use at 5 GB, and heavy use at 15 GB.
One gigabyte a month is enough for simple emailing, Web browsing, and navigation with Google Maps or Apple Maps, while 5 GB is enough for frequent social media use and 15 GB is for folks who regularly play games and stream video.
And its pricing is competitive with that of AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile for the amount of data that most people actually use.
It isn’t the best choice for people who frequently travel outside of the US or who want unlimited data, but it is the first carrier everyone else should look at.
We limited this guide to the most widely used national options—starting with the big four nationwide carriers and their prepaid services and subsidiaries, and then adding services that have ranked high in surveys from sites and organizations such as PCMag, the American Customer Satisfaction Index, and J. Power, or in reader-interest metrics from the comparison-shopping site Whistle Out. Cellular and the resold services of the cable firms Comcast and Spectrum, both of which require subscriptions to their residential broadband.
We also chose to exclude contenders available only in parts of the US. We also cut prepaid services that required separate purchases of data, texts, or voice minutes to meet our monthly usage quotas.