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Best Cell Phone Plans for College Students

The following are the best cell phone plans for college students that offer extreme value at affordable prices.

Everyone likes to save a bit of money, but for students especially, any cash saved can make a big difference. Students are on a budget. They need a maximum return from minimum investment. A mobile phone is an absolute requirement for most students. Whether it be for calling family members, keeping in touch with friends, research, or simply entertainment.

Luckily, there are plenty of best cell phone plans around, not to mention specific student discounts and bonuses on offer from some of the top-rated cell phone service providers.

Most of today’s smaller phone carriers lease portions of their coverage area from the Big four carriers. which means you get a great price on service without sacrificing the coverage, reliability, and speed of a big carrier.

Small carriers offer the cheapest cell phone plans around. Better yet, they offer customized prepaid phone plans to everyone. prepaid options make it easy to find an option that suits your unique needs for talk, text, and data. Without being locked into an annual contract, you can also make changes to your plan each month. From adding lines to adding data, it’s easy to customize your plan whenever you want.

Our Top Picks for The Best Cell Phone Plans for College Students of 2020

Republic Wireless – Best Overall

republic wireless logo

Our pick for the best cell phone plans for college students goes to Republic Wireless. Republic has gained a lot of attention over the past few years, and for good reason, they rely heavily on Wi-Fi to keep costs down for both talking and data. When not using Wi-Fi, Republic Wireless uses the Sprint or T-Mobile network.

You can customize your plan and cancel it at any time. Their plans start at $15 per month for unlimited talk and text, which is a terrific feature. You can also add data for $5 per month per GB of data. Before a student decides on Republic Wireless, they can double-check to see if there is coverage available in their area.

Plans and Pricing:

  • $15/month: Unlimited talk and texts
  • $20/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 1 GB of 4G data
  • $25/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 2 GB of 4G data
  • $30/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 3 GB of 4G data ($5 per additional GB)

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Twigby – Best for Light Users

twigby logo

Twigby offers a highly customizable plan with affordable prices and plenty of perks which is ideal for light to medium data users. They operate on the nationwide 4G LTE Sprint network with backup from the Verizon Wireless network. That means you get extensive, reliable coverage.

There are a variety of data plans that Twigby offers, with each priced carefully to appeal to the customers. All plans come with a 25% off for the first 6 months and a satisfaction guarantee, so if you find yourself unhappy with the customer service, the network, or the plans, then you’ll be able to claim a full refund.

Plans and Pricing:

  • $9.75/month: Unlimited talk and texts.
  • $14.25/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 1GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus international talk and text at no additional charge.
  • $17.25/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 2GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus international talk and text at no additional charge.
  • $21.00/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 3GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus international talk and text at no additional charge.
  • $24.75/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 5GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus international talk and text at no additional charge.
  • $32.25/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 10GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus international talk and text at no additional charge.

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Tello Mobile – Most Affordable Plans

tello logo

Tello is another popular option for those looking for best cell phone plans for college students. Tello allows you to build your own plan, selecting both your data plan and your minutes and text allocation through a simple tool on Tello’s website. All Tello plans are prepaid, so you will never get hit with any kind of hidden fees, early termination costs, contracts or activation fees. So long as you live in an area that’s covered by Sprint, Tello is the way to go.

Tello’s cell phone plans are insanely affordable. It offers an adjustable plan with generous data rates and minutes, as well as freebies such as hotspot access, unlimited texting, and international calling to Mexico, China, and Canada.

Plans and Pricing:

  • $8/month: Unlimited talk and texts with free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania.
  • $10/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 1 GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania.
  • $14/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 2 GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania
  • $19/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 4 GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania
  • $24/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 6 GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania
  • $29/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 8 GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania
  • $39/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and unlimited 4G data with mobile hotspot access plus free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania

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Ting Mobile – Pay for What You Use

ting logo

Ting is a cell phone service provider that has a unique pricing structure that is unlike most prepaid services. You only have to pay for what you use, so there is no overcharging for stuff you don’t even need.

With Ting, you only pay for what you use with a $6 starting price for the first line. If you don’t use any minutes, texts, or data, you don’t have to pay any more than that. Ting customers also benefit from free hotspot access, not to mention free international calling to over 60 countries! Even better, you get the choice of using Sprint or T-Mobile for your coverage.

Plans and Pricing:

On Ting, your monthly cost will likely be different each month since it depends on usage.

Let’s say you choose 101-500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 500Mb of data for $30/month. If you use that, that’s what you’ll pay. However, if you use less or more of anything, your bill will automatically be adjusted accordingly. The idea with Ting is that you only pay for what you use, ensuring you’re not overpaying for service you don’t need.

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US Mobile – Highly Customizable Plans

us mobile logo

US Mobile runs on T-Mobile’s network and has more than 300 different plans to choose from. Simply pick the talk, text, and data you need and enjoy an average phone bill of less than $20/month. All customers also get a free VPN service, which enables you to be online in privacy.

US Mobile offers a personal dashboard where you get a full overview of your usage, which makes it easy to customize your plan to your actual needs. You can upgrade and downgrade your base plan every month and top up talk, text, and data during a month without surcharges. The top-up also rolls over to the next month if it’s unused.

US Mobile is contract-free and allows you to snooze your phone plan while still getting to keep your number. You can bring your phone or buy a new one in the US Mobile shop. US Mobile doesn’t have activation fees.

Plans and Pricing:

  • $10/month: Unlimited talk and texts.
  • $20/month: Unlimited talk, texts and 1.5GB of 4G data with hotspot access.
  • $25/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 2.5GB of 4G data with hotspot access.
  • $30/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 5GB of 4G data with hotspot access.
  • $36/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 8GB of 4G data with hotspot access.
  • $40/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and unlimited 4G data with hotspot access.

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List of Other Best Students Cell Phone Carriers and Plans of 2020

Page Plus – A Big Network for Less

page plus logo

A subsidiary of TracFone, Page Plus is a heavy-weight in the no-contract phone biz mostly because it rides the Verizon network. As such, this is one cell phone service provider that is able to give you a ton of value for your money.

Page Plus plans to start out at just $12 a month for 250 minutes, 250 texts and 10 MB of data per month and going as high as $55 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data, With astounding coverage since it runs on one of the best networks today and affordable plans, this is the perfect cell phone provider for those who need to watch their budget.

Plans and Pricing:

  • $12/month: 500 minutes, 500 Texts, and 100MB 4G data
  • $29.95/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 3GB of 4G data plus $10 free international calling credit.
  • $39.95/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 8GB of 4G data plus $10 free international calling credit.
  • $55/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and unlimited 4G data plus $10 free international calling credit.

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Visible – Best Unlimited Plan

visible logo

Visible has an impressive set of features, especially considering the price.  For just $40/month with taxes and fees included, Visible gives you unlimited talk, text, and data on Verizon’s LTE network.

This plan also includes a mobile hotspot which is limited to 5Mbps, however, it’s still a nice touch and can be very helpful in a pinch. One thing to keep in mind is that this is all done with no storefronts. If you have a question or a problem, you will have to solve it remotely.

Plans and Pricing:

$40/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and unlimited 4G data with free Wi-Fi calling and mobile hotspot access. (Taxes and fees are included)

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Mint Mobile – Bulk Savings

Mint Mobile logo

Mint Mobile runs on T-Mobile’s network. While you might not get the superior speed T-Mobile is known for. Mint Mobile is a unique cell phone service that offers a bulk discount on its prepaid plans.

Instead of monthly plans, Mint sells service in lots of three, six, or 12 months. The more you buy, the deeper the discounts. Mint Mobile plans are pretty simple. All come with unlimited talk and text. There are three data buckets, the 2GB, 5GB, and 10GB.

Plans and Pricing:

  • $15/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 3GB of 4G data (cost upfront is $45 for 3 months)
  • $20/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 8GB of 4G data (cost upfront is $60 for 3 months)
  • $25/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 12GB of 4G data (cost upfront is $75 for 3 months)

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Ultra Mobile – Best Budget Plans

Ultra Mobile logo

Ultra Mobile is the most solid option here, perhaps it is the best provider for users who frequently make calls to friends or family members abroad. No one else offers as much as Ultra Mobile in terms of international minutes.

Ultra Mobile plans are all prepaid, meaning you pay for your service before you use it. All Ultra Mobile plans come with unlimited domestic talk and text, with unlimited calls to over 80 countries and unlimited texting worldwide. The costs differ when it comes to data usage. You can save money by buying plans in 3, 6, or 12 month stretches similar to Mint Mobile which is part of the same company.

Plans and Pricing:

  • $19/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 1GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access, plus unlimited talk to 80+ international destinations.
  • $23/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 2GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access, plus unlimited talk to 80+ international destinations.
  • $29/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 5GB of 4G data with mobile hotspot access, plus unlimited talk to 80+ international destinations.
  • $49/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and unlimited 4G data with mobile hotspot access, plus unlimited talk to 80+ international destinations.

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Boost Mobile – Best for Families

Boost Mobile logo

Boost Mobile is a prepaid carrier that uses Sprint’s network. While the Sprint network may trail behind other competitors when it comes to LTE speeds, it is one of the most affordable cell phone providers on the market today. So long as you live in an area that’s covered by Sprint, Boost is a great option.

Boost Mobile’s plans starting with a 3GB plan for $35 per month and moving up to an unlimited data plan at $50 per month. With savings on multiple lines and unlimited music streaming on the 3GB plan, this is an excellent plan for streamers.

Plans and Pricing:

  • $35/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and 3GB of 4G data with 480p video streaming, and mobile hotspot access plus some sort of Tidal subscription.
  • $50/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and unlimited 4G data with 480p video streaming, and 12GB of mobile hotspot plus some sort of Tidal subscription.
  • $60/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and unlimited 4G data with 1080p video streaming, and 30GB of mobile hotspot plus some sort of Tidal subscription.
  • $80/month: Unlimited talk, texts, and unlimited 4G data with 1080p video streaming, and 50GB of mobile hotspot plus some sort of Tidal subscription.

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Thankfully, cell phone plans in the US have become more affordable since the early 2010s, as a result of ever-rising stiff competition. This is perhaps why today you have got a range of cell phone plans to pick from as a college student. While this might be good news on one hand, on the other hand, it becomes a bit tough to choose the right cell phone plan as per your requirements.

As a student, you are probably looking for ways to save money on things like textbooks, meals, and transportation. Your phone plan should not be overlooked, as companies typically offer special discounts for college students.

Since you don’t want to find yourself short on cash when studying, it’s a good idea to go with a prepaid plan that won’t charge you excess fees for blowing through all your call or data inclusions.