Best Basic Cell Phone Plans 2022

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Sometimes you just want to go back to basics, even with your cell phone. That's where the basic cell phone plan comes in.

Cell phone plans with only talk time (minutes) and texts are becoming fewer and further between in 2022. But the ones we found could be solid options for smartphone holdouts or those who are content to surf the web only when on Wi-Fi. These plans are almost always prepaid, since none of the major cell phone carriers offers a plan without mobile data. It's mobile data that allows you to access the internet over a cellular network.

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Best basic cell phone plans: unlimited minutes

Ting, Consumer Cellular and Google Fi offer plans with unlimited talk time at reasonable prices. In each case, though, it’s not much more expensive to add a gigabyte of data.

Ting: Flex plan

  • Price: $10 per month.

  • At a glance: Unlimited minutes and texts.

Consumer Cellular: Unlimited Talk Only plan

  • Price: $15 per month.

  • At a glance: Unlimited minutes.

Google Fi: Flexible for 1 plan

  • Price: $20 per month.

  • At a glance: Unlimited minutes and texts.

THINGS TO KNOW

Ting

Ting contracts with T-Mobile and Verizon, so you'd use one of those networks. While their Flex plan excludes data in the initial cost, you can easily add a gig for an extra $5 if you later determine you need it.

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular contracts with multiple network providers, and is known for its stellar customer service. The carrier offers a plan with unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for another $5 per month.

Google Fi

Google Fi partners with T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular, so customers use those networks when Wi-Fi isn't available. Unlimited international texting is included with all plans. With the Flexible for 1 plan, you can add data to your service for $10 per gig.

Best basic cell phone plans: limited minutes

No sense paying for unlimited minutes if you really just need a few. With Tracfone, unused airtime rolls over each month, as long as you top up your balance. Prefer a more traditional monthly plan? US Mobile offers a flexible, build-your-own plan for as little as $2 per month.

Tracfone: 30-minute airtime card

  • Price: $9.99 a month.

  • At a glance: The 30 minutes are divided into unit increments, and you spend them on talk time, texts and/or megabytes for data use. Depending on your phone type, a text sent or received can equate to less than a full "minute."

US Mobile: Build your own plan

  • Price: Starts at $2 per month for 75 minutes, plus selected tier of texts and/or data.

  • At a glance: Usage is divided into levels, and you select the number of minutes, texts and data you need.

THINGS TO KNOW

Tracfone

Tracfone is owned by Verizon, which gives you access to a top-rate network without the top-tier price tag. The 30-minute airtime card expires after 30 days if you don’t add more airtime.

US Mobile

US Mobile runs on the Verizon and T-Mobile networks. You can build your own plan by selecting the quantity of minutes, texts and/or data you want from the available tiers. Monthly tiers start at $2 for 75 minutes, $1.50 for 50 texts and $1.50 for 50 MB of data. You can change your plan from month to month.

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METHODOLOGY

We evaluated cell phone plans offered by popular carriers, considering monthly plan price before taxes and fees. We only considered national carriers, which ruled out regional providers like U.S. Cellular.