How long has upgrading your cell phone been on your to-do list? Are you still roped into an outdated mobile plan as well? Putting off these decisions is understandable, given the enormous range of brands and providers available.
If you’re hoping for the perfect mobile setup to fall into your lap, this article has done the legwork for you. Read on as we detail the very best cell phone deals and mobile carriers for 2023.
Just The Phone, Thanks
If you just need a new phone – and have your mobile plans sorted out – then these are the best smartphone deals right now. Most of these options retail around the $500 mark, with some noteworthy exceptions:
- iPhone SE: The only budget iPhone comes with 3GB of RAM and fantastic performance.
- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: If you’re a Samsung fanatic, this is their most affordable option.
- Google Pixel 6a: This phone features the same Tensor chipset that operates in Google’s more expensive Pixel 6 Pro.
- Motorola Moto E: This might be the best $150 phone on the market, offering amazing battery life.
- Nokia 6300 4G: It lacks some of the streaming perks, but this semi-smartphone costs less than $100.
Now, if you’re also looking to match your phone with the most competitive service plans for 2023, read on!
Best Budget Plan
It’s pretty tough to beat $10 per month, especially amidst our current age of inflation! Tello Economy’s $10-per-month plan includes 4G LTE and 5G networks. Plus, it features unlimited talk and text, mobile hotspot tethering, and free international calls to over 60 countries.
This deal gets even more attractive if your previous phone works and is compatible with the T-Mobile network. Tello doesn’t require you to commit to a plan, so you can use this service for as long or as little as you like! The only downside? The $10 deal offers a single GB, so it’s mostly for talk and text.
If you’re mainly a texter, anyway, Tello has an even better plan for you—check out their $5-per-month custom plan that’ll get you unlimited texting with 100 minutes of talk.
Best Versatility Plan
Speaking of T-Mobile, their Connect plan offers 3 GB of data per month for a flat fee of $15. This is a great plan for people who don’t want to creep over their data limit and pay additional fees. Once you hit your 3 GB limit, T-Mobile caps your data usage for the rest of the month.
If the idea of running out of data gives you anxiety, Connect also has a 6 GB deal for $25 per month. No matter which option better suits your lifestyle, it’s nice to know that T-Mobile increases their data allotment by 500Mb every year, without additional charges.
Mint Mobile (Unlimited)
Best Unlimited Plan
Mint Mobile is known for its affordable plan types, but the Mint Unlimited plan takes the cake. There’s no hyperbole in their “unlimited” claims, as Mint Unlimited offers 35 GB of high-speed data on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE or 5G network. Plus, unlimited nation-wide talk and text, obviously!
If you’re looking for a solo plan that includes 5 GB of extra data for mobile hotspots and free calls to Canada and Mexico, Mint Mobile is your provider. The plan starts at $30 per month (for the first three months) before increasing to $40 per month for the following three months. You can save money by accepting an annual prepaid rate of $360, which winds up costing $30 per month.
Mint Mobile (Family)
Best Family Plan
It just so happens that Mint Mobile also boasts the best cell phone deal as far as family plans go. A four-line, 4 GB plan costs $60, which is wildly cheaper than the four-line plans available from Xfinity, Verizon, or T-Mobile. However, you’ll have to agree to some additional terms to keep that $60 per month plan – and those stipulations aren’t so bad.
After the initial three-month trial period, you’ll need to commit to a one-year plan. To offset that year-long commitment, family members can then switch to Mint Mobile plans that better accommodate their needs (such as the aforementioned unlimited plan). The discounts are great, so as long as your family doesn’t want to collectively switch providers midway through the year, Mint Mobile is the way to go.
Best Coverage Plan
If you’re always on the move and need a cell phone plan that offers amazing coverage, Visible Wireless is your most affordable choice. The provider offers unlimited plans on Verizon’s 4G and 5G networks. The best coverage belongs to the Visible plan, which provides unlimited talk, text and data for $30 per month. 
Interestingly, you can’t visit a Visible Wireless location because they don’t exist. Instead, you can sign up online and receive a SIM card in the mail. Once you insert the SIM card into your phone and download the app (which works on most iPhone and Android devices), you’re online!
Your Criteria, Your Choice
These options outline the best cell phone deals by looking at different criteria, such as budget, versatility, unlimited data, family, and coverage plans. Yet there are many other factors to consider when shopping for a new smartphone or cellular provider.
Do you want a new phone, or are you content to keep using your current one? How much are you willing to spend for unlimited data? Are you looking for a short-term phone, or a multi-year commitment? Many carriers offer surprising perks with their contracts, including streaming subscriptions to Disney+ or Netflix.
While these mobile phones and plans are the most affordable in their respective categories, further research may reveal additional deals that better accommodate your mobile needs.