Best prepaid plans 2019: Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile and Sprint

Best prepaid plans 2019: Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile and Sprint
All major US carriers have had those scrappy prepaid phones since ages, for folks who didn't really have the wherewithal to endure two-year contracts, or the credit history to get a subsidized expensive phone with set monthly outlays. The death of two-year contracts forced them to rethink the prepaid conundrum, too, and these are now very enticingly priced, plus the phones offered on prepaid are no longer scraping the bottom of the specs barrel.

We've compared the current prepaid offerings from each major carrier below with more detail for your convenience. These plans include unlimited talk and texts, but who's talking these days, it's the data that counts, as well as other perks. Sprint maintains the lowest unlimited data price here as well, while Verizon is no longer the most expensive carrier for prepaid, but its network offers the most expansive coverage, and a few other extras as well. 

Check out the current prepaid plan prices for easier comparison when you shop around the big four and eventually settle down for whichever is the one that covers your area best.

*prepaid plan prices are after an auto-pay discount, where available

AT&T has the most balanced prepaid offers


The second-largest US carrier also has very expansive coverage outside of big cities, casting a bit smaller net than Verizon, and has a bit cheaper prepaid prices to reflect on that, and we'd especially point out the $40 8GB plan as the one that does the job without breaking the bank. AT&T's GSM network also means a much wider range of compatible phones.

Verizon - no longer the most expensive, and still with great coverage


America's largest carrier will grant you at least a bar or two from the cornfields of Illinois, to sweet home Alabama, but that superior network of towers will cost ya, starting at $40 for 3GB of prepaid data (AT&T gives you 8GB for that price). Verizon's unlimited prepaid plans are priced only a tad above comparable T-Mobile and AT&T ones, though, plus the carrier offers carryover data if you haven't blown through your allotment for the month.

T-Mobile - former underdog is getting expensive


Ever since T-Mobile started a plan price war with the big guys, the combination of aggressive marketing and great phone/plan discounts, propelled it to new heights in subscriber growth. That phase seems to be abating now, though, and its prices ($70 for a single prepaid unlimited line) reflect what's on offer - fastest average download speeds, but still, a tad weaker coverage outside big metropolitan areas, compared to AT&T or Verizon. Again, AT&T's 8GB for $40 holds the fort on its own here.

Sprint - cheapest prepaid, but for how long?


The fourth-largest US carrier had the most affordable prepaid plan prices, including unlimited, but these are for legacy customers only. Sprint Forward, the company's prepaid plans, are no longer accepting new customers as of now. The merger with T-Mobile may be just around the corner, though.

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7 Comments

1. Jyakotu

Posts: 867; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Currently an AT&T Prepaid customer on the $40 6GB plan. More than enough data for me, as I'm most frequently connected to a Wi-Fi network due to being in college at the moment. Even when I go out and there's no free Wi-Fi, the only thing I use my data for is Apple Music streaming. I've only hit the limit of my plan maybe once or twice. For the unlimited plan, I think AT&T should just do away with the $60 unlimited data option and stick with the $75 one, but not increase the $40 6GB option. Only way I'd pay more for the middle option is if they increase the amount of data offered.

2. Jrod99

Posts: 759; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

75 dollars. Ouch. Glad I’m still currently grand father in. But not with Verizon. No way.

3. BuffaloSouce unregistered

It doesn’t make you special, you leave the same comment on every Verizon article

4. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

I'm with Verizon on beyond unlimited plan I pay as much as my friend on T-Mobile, only difference is I obviously have better coverage when we both travel by car so not complaining about price here .

5. CleeveThaGreat

Posts: 18; Member since: Sep 09, 2015

I currently have t-mobile & have been testing out verizon in my opinion verizons coverage is on par, but verizon indoor coverage is superior, price wise you get what you pay for, only thing that i hate about verizon is video streaming oppose to t-mobile ...tmobile is way ahead...can be that i have a granfathered plan without that video streaming bs..when playing youtube & netflix is stays under 10mbps on verizon even with a 150mbps data speed ..which i hate..and my tmobile plan does not do..and tmobile offers superior customer service and cant forget about tmo tuesdays verizon has verizon up but thats garbage.

6. smoked_2na unregistered

Project Fi $20/mo. I just turn off the data. With Xfinity Hot-Spots and Wi-Fi at work and home the big Telco's have convinced everyone else to watch crappy HD TV shows on the go. Just say NO.

7. DFranch

Posts: 557; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

I'm just waiting for my Wife's phone to get paid off so I can switch to AT&T's 8GB prepaid plan. My Wife & I share a paltry 2GB (I'm on wifi a lot), so the extra data would be great. Mostly, I want to switch to AT&T for the phone selection. There are so many phones which I can't even consider because Verizon won't support them.

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