Cell Phone Carriers and What They Offer

There are three major cell phone carriers in the United States: Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, who recently absorbed Sprint. Sprinkled in are smaller carriers who are fighting for a piece of the carrier pie. If you’re not loyal to your carrier, weigh the benefits of switching because many companies offer deals and free items if you switch. Be sure to shop around, though, because their deals change frequently.
Plans seemingly change constantly, too, so take this article with a grain of salt. But, as of September, 2020, these are the plans that the cell phone carriers offer.

Verizon Wireless

The largest carrier in the US, Verizon Wireless has over 150 million subscribers. They seem to have that many plans, too. Verizon offers multiple unlimited plans with different features such as 5G versus 4G, access to different streaming services, hotspot gigabits, etc. Additionally, you can extend unlimited access to other devices such as tablets for an extra fee.
If you don’t need unlimited, they offer 5GB and 10GB plans that allow you to carryover your data. Want a prepaid plan? They have that, too. In fact, according to WhistleOut, they have just under 40 plans with over 80 phones to choose from.

AT&T

Although Verizon is the largest provider, AT&T is not far behind. They have slightly fewer plans and not as many phones to choose from. Even so, they have enough for most people to find what they’re looking for. AT&T has unlimited, 4GB and prepaid cell phone plans and claim to make switching to their services easy.
If you’re an HBO fan, HBO Max is included with the AT&T Unlimited Elite plan. There is no extra charge. It does come with a hefty price tag, though… You’ll pay up to $85 per month for a single phone plan.

T-Mobile (including Sprint)

Sprint was absorbed into T-Mobile on April 1, 2020. If you are not a current T-Mobile or Sprint customer, you will shop via T-Mobile. Eventually, Sprint will be fully integrated into T-Mobile and will no longer stand on its own.
T-Mobile prides themself as having an “un-carrier” culture where everyone can find a plan for them. They also emphasize great customer service and an inclusive culture. Like Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile offers an array of plans including unlimited, pay as you go and prepaid plans.
If you enjoy traveling internationally, T-Mobile may be the carrier for you, as they do not charge roaming fees abroad. In fact, they claim you can travel to 210 destinations without being charged extra fees.

Mint Mobile

Deadpool actor Ryan Renyolds purchased Mint Mobile in 2019. It was founded in 2016 to give consumers a more affordable option than the main four (now three) carriers charge. Currently, they offer unlimited talk, text and data for only $30 per month for the first three months.
All Mint Mobile plans include 5G data, wifi calling and wifi text. Introductory plans last for three months at a lower price. If you like them, you can renew them for 12 months to lock in the lower rate. The only issue we found with Mint Mobile is that their coverage is not quite as comprehensive as the larger carriers. However, they are a younger company and will likely keep improving this.

Visible

Visible is self declared as the future of phone service. They use Verizon’s 4G LTE network which claims to cover 99% of the US population. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Visible is that they only offer one plan. Their plan costs $40 per month with unlimited high speed data, messages and “minutes.” You can also cancel at any time.
Downsides include no 5G and no flexibility within the plan.

Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless has been around since 1999. In 2013, AT&T bought their parent company, but Cricket Wireless is still branded as its own company.
They offer four different plans for up to five phones per plan. Two are unlimited data plans, including up to 50% usage in Canada and Mexico and costing up to $60 per month, and two are not. All, however, have unlimited talk and text with 5G and 4G LTE coverage. Cricket Wireless does sell limited prepaid phones or you can buy an unlocked phone elsewhere.
This list is not exhaustive. There are more cell phone carriers to choose from including US Mobile, Boost Mobile, US Cellular and Consumer Cellular, to name a few. Many of these cell phone carriers also offer protection plans for smartphones, tablets and other devices using their data. But beware of these plans, as they are rarely the best option.

Who has the best cell phone protection plan?

The best protection plan doesn’t come from one of the carriers on this list; it comes from Upsie. With prices up to 85% lower than carrier insurance plans, you already can’t go wrong. Then add in lower deductible prices, accident protection from drops and spills, and quick customer service and you have a winning warranty! Furthermore, Upsie works to get your phone repaired quickly when it breaks. In fact, they can get it repaired same-day in most cases at a certified shop or even a Genius Bar (for iPhones) near you.

Can I get Upsie for my carrier phone?

Yes! As long as the phone, new used or refurbished, was purchased within the last 120 days, you can get an Upsie warranty. New phones must come with at least a 90 day manufacturer warranty, which most do. Used or refurbished phones must come with at least a 30 day sellers warranty or 30 days left on their manufacturer warranty. Learn more about Upsie’s cell phone insurance plans or contact an Upsie representative to answer all of your questions.

So who is the best cell phone carrier?

That is largely up for you to decide. It depends completely on what you need from your carrier because not everyone requires the same things. When making a decision, look at coverage in areas you frequent, service and phones they offer in addition to price. For example, unlimited data is great, but it might not be worth the price for people who connect to wifi at work and at home. Finally, search for current deals and promotions. Sometimes all you need to make a decision is a discounted rate or even a free phone.

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