Content of the material
1. Verizon Wireless: Best cell phone providerThe best cell phone carrier in the US in 2021, and a good choice for 5G
Network: 5G Unlimited price: From $70/month Budget plan: From $30/month International unlimited calling: From $5/month
Reasons to buy
+ Best network speeds + Inexpensive to add wearable or tablet to plan + Good phone selection
Verizon Wireless is our best cell phone provider for 2021, and has been at the top of our guide for the past three years. Why? It’s one of the biggest, sure, but it gets superior scores for reliability, speed, and network coverage. With solid coverage throughout the majority of the country (although there are few patchy zones in the north west and mid-west), and a large 5G network, Verizon will suit anyone looking for a strong signal and consistent data service. It rates a little lower for customer service than others, but it does have a larger customer base too, so we’d expect a variance of opinions and satisfaction ratings.
Verizon isn’t a cheap carrier: in fact it has some of the most expensive plans on the market, but they do offer decent value if you are happy to invest in your cell phone. Pricing starts at $30 (for multiple lines) and run up to $90 per month. You do get what you pay for, but not everyone can afford to commit to such expensive cell phone plans each month. If you want to pay as little as possible and still enjoy the benefits of such a strong network, you can pay $30 per month and get about 500MB of data. International calling can be bolted on for an extra $5 per month for unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada, or $10 for calls to 185 countries worldwide.
Given the reliability of Verizon’s 5G network, you can look to offset costs with your home internet provider by getting an unlimited 5G plan from Verizon and using it for the majority of your home broadband needs. If you find yourself out of the home more often than in it, this is a good way to get a fantastic cell service and save a little money elsewhere.
- Read our Verizon Wireless review
A cell phone provider also called a mobile service provider, is a business that offers mobile phone services like data, text, and calling. Sure, you’re adding it to your fiber bill, so the total at the end of each month may seem eye-watering, but you’re probably saving money overall on two essential services. Devices are commonly locked to services until they’re paid off, so you’ll definitely want to consult your contract before you make the jump, just to make sure you don’t get stung.
With an extensive national network, Verizon is the leading wireless provider. Verizon’s plan and device flexibility, combined with excellent business features, makes it the clear winner in our best overall cell phone provider category. Providers locked the phones they sold so that they could be used only with their service.
So you don’t have to get a new phone if you’re switching providers. With no contracts, no overage fees, and 99% coverage across America, Republic Wireless was a natural addition to this list of the best cell phone providers and is used and trusted by many. Verizon is one of the largest network providers in the United States.
These networks span both types of cellular technologies used in the US, which is great if you want to bring your own phone to the service. Both Apple and Samsung sell unlocked models with the technology to operate on multiple networks.
Scams and robocalls
According to a report released by First Orion, fraudulent calls increased drastically, from 3.7 percent of all calls in 2017 to almost 30 percent in 2018, and that number has increased further into 2021. Many of these calls appear to come from local numbers, a practice called “neighborhood spoofing” spammers use to trick you into thinking the call might be important. Often, these calls appear to come from legitimate phone numbers, which are temporarily hijacked.
These spoofed numbers are also a large part of why many call blocking techniques are ineffective at stopping the onslaught of robocalls, as many call-blocking tools only prevent calls from known spam numbers. Adding your number to the Do Not Call List prevents certain legitimate telemarketers from contacting you but does little to deter illegal calls.
If you receive an illegal spam call, hang up. Don’t say anything, especially any personal information, since the call may be recorded. Don’t press a button to remove yourself from the list or to talk to a live person because these interactions encourage spammers to keep calling you. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently called phone providers to arms against robocallers, encouraging adoption of two authentication frameworks designed to catch spam calls before your phone rings.
Is No Credit History the Same as Bad Credit to Phone Companies?
So, can you get a no credit check phone plan? The reason cell phone companies check your credit report is to identify whether you're likely to pay your bill on time. If they see many missed bill payments or delinquent accounts, this will raise a red flag.
A low credit score tells cell phone companies you're not responsible with your finances. Or lack the means to cover all of your expenses each month.
Either way, you're considered a risky customer.
But what if you have no credit history? This is the case for many young Americans who've yet to apply for credit or a loan. Unfortunately, your rent and bill payments aren't automatically reported to the credit bureaus (although there are services that can report rent to the credit bureaus for you).
If a cell phone company pulls your credit history and you have a thin or non-existing file, then you'll still struggle to get approved for a plan. Although you don't have a track record of missing bill payments, you don't have a reputation for making on-time cell phone payments either.
Nor do you have a credit score to base your approval on.
So this too is a red flag, making it a challenge to get approved for a plan.
Metro by T-Mobile Best for families
Metro by T-Mobile offers three plans that start at 10GB and include unlimited music streaming, starting at $40 per month for one phone. This plan is great for anyone who has regular Wi-Fi access and comes with $10 off every additional line. The monthly cost is $70, $100 and $130 for two, three and four lines respectively. If they own a compatible smartphone, users will be able to access T-Mobile’s 5G network.
Next up is the unlimited plan, which includes 5GB hotspot data and 100GB Google One cloud storage. This plan is great for heavy users who don’t care about how much data they use. It costs $50 per month. The prices for the first line are reduced by $20, $110, and $140 respectively. This means that they can be purchased at $80, $110, and $140 per month, as well as $170 for the second, third, fourth, and fifth lines.
The $60 unlimited plan includes 15GB hotspot data, 100GB Google One storage, and an Amazon Prime membership. This membership instantly pays itself off if you use Amazon. The price for two or three lines is $90, $120 per month. There is a special on four- and five-line plans. This promotion brings the monthly cost down to $120, $150, and $150 respectively.
A 2GB plan is available for $30 per month, but you can also get data from cheaper carriers like T-Mobile Prepaid’s T-Mobile Connect plan for $15 per month.
Metro by T-Mobile Best for Heavy Users✔ Unlimited Talk & Text ✔ 4G/5G data range 5GB to Unlimited ✔ Multi line Discount ✔ Mobile Hotspot Access ✔ 100GB Cloud OneStart at $30/month View Plans