Group of people using mobile devices

These days, cell phones come with a lot of options, and cell phone users are no longer limited to choosing from just a few big companies. While these big companies often offer the latest phones and calling features, new mobile providers have popped up to fill niches. These smaller mobile providers don’t provide all of the bells and whistles, but they still offer plenty to be excited about. Many offer very cheap, if not free, data plans with unlimited minutes and texts. Plus, none of the companies listed in this post require contracts. The only catch is that you’ve probably never heard of these companies—at least not yet. Here are six low-cost cell phone plans that you can’t afford to miss.


Cheapest data plan: $23 for 100 MB of data, plus unlimited talk with unlimited nationwide and international texting Best deal: $39 plan includes 750 MB of data, plus additional minutes for calls to Mexico and other countries Like Ultra Mobile, Lycamobile also caters to the international calling crowd. In fact, all of its plans include unlimited international texting. The $39 plan includes unlimited calls to over 50 countries, with additional minutes provided for over 15 more. Lycamobile’s $59 plan increases free unlimited calling to more than 70 countries and also includes unlimited calling, texting, and data nationwide within the U.S.

Freedom Pop

Cheapest data plan: Basic plan, with 500 MB of cellular data free each month Best deal: Unlimited Talk/Text plan, with 500 MB of monthly data for only $6.67/month (billed annually) Freedom Pop may be the most revolutionary option on this list. It offers a truly free plan with 500 MB of 3G/4G data each month. This plan also includes 200 voice minutes and 500 text messages for free. To get this, all you have to do is buy one of Freedom Pop’s phones, whose prices start at $119. Right now, an iPhone 5 from Freedom Pop goes for $399. You can also use your own device as long as it’s one of 10 phones from various manufacturers. If you’re happy with Freedom Pop but need a little more, you can upgrade to the Unlimited Voice/Text plan. This plan also includes 500 MB of data for just $6.67/month when you prepay for the year.

Red Pocket Mobile

Cheapest data plan: $29.99 for unlimited talk and texting with 500 MB of mobile Internet Best deal: Red Pocket Mobile lets you use your own unlocked phone, including any iPhone Red Pocket Mobile lets you use unlocked phones on either GSM or CDMA networks. So, yes: you can use an unlocked iPhone. Plans with data start at $29.99/month, with unlimited talk and text and 500 MB of mobile Internet. Unlimited mobile Internet plans start at $39.99. Red Pocket Mobile also provides customers with options for paying other bills through the Evolve Money app. This makes it easier for users to pay utilities, insurance, internet service and other bills from their mobile device. In the future, the app will come pre-loaded on select Red Pocket Mobile devices.

Ultra Mobile

Cheapest data plan: $19 for 100 MB of data, plus unlimited talk and text Best deal: $29 plan includes 500 MB of data, plus unlimited international talk and 1,000 international minutes on cell Ultra Mobile is best for frequent international callers. The company says that there are 50 million frequent international callers in the U.S., hence its goal to keep families in touch. Ultra Mobile offers five primary plans with a good blend of domestic data, voice, and texting features, as well as international options. Starting with the $29 plan, customers receive unlimited calling to over 40 countries. The plan also includes 1,000 minutes for another 45 destinations. Ultra Mobile works with unlocked GSM phones, including the iPhone 5, 5S, and 5C.

Republic Wireless

Cheapest data plan: $5/month for unlimited everything over Wi-Fi Best deal: Buy the highly-rated Moto X ($299) and sign up for “Unlimited Everything” with 3G data for $25/month Republic Wireless offers a variety of plans starting at $5/month. This plan gives you unlimited talk, text, and data, but you can use only Wi-Fi. The best deal is the “Unlimited Everything” 3G plan for $25/month. Republic Wireless uses Sprint’s network when you’re not in an area with Wi-Fi. Republic Wireless also lets you change your plan twice per billing cycle, which is pretty handy if you’re outside cellular range. Simply downgrade to the $5 plan, and you can still use your phone over Wi-Fi, too. Republic Wireless offers three phones. The Moto X is one of the better phones available from discount carriers, and its price-tag ($299) makes it a good value, too.

Scratch Wireless

Cheapest data plan: Free when using Wi-Fi Best deal: Purchase data passes for $1.99/day or $14.99/month when you need them Scratch Wireless’s mobile plan banks on users being within the range of Wi-Fi most of the time. In fact, the company points to a Cisco report indicating that 80% of the time people connect to the Internet from a phone, they’re within Wi-Fi range. When you’re not in Wi-Fi range, you can purchase passes for voice and data. Passes cost $1.99/day or $14.99/month, with a separate pass for voice and data required. Service is provided through the Sprint network. Texting is always free on all plans.

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