Cheap mobile plans

These are our picks for the best cheap SIM-only and prepaid plans, ordered by highest data first.

Credit: Photo by from Pexels

How much data should I get?

Everybody consumes data differently. You might think your habit of burning through 10GB of data each month is excessive but there are plenty of others who consume double, triple or even a dozen times that amount. Still, regardless of who you are and how much data you consume, it's probably a smart idea to avoid paying too much for data you don't need.

Unless you are spending a frankly unhealthy amount of time on social media, you should be able to get by with minimal (between 1 and 5GB) data. If you're streaming a lot of Netflix or using your phone as a source of connectivity for other devices, it might be worth bumping things up to double digits and beyond. It doesn't make sense to pay for data you don't use but you should always try and make sure you're getting at least close to as much as your money should be getting you.

How can I save data?

If you are really trying to keep it cheap, a couple data saving tips are to make sure that your apps aren’t using data in the background and turn off the capability on your phone that has you use data when Wi-Fi signals drop out.

Most video streaming services like Netflix and Stan now offer offline playback. Making use of that capability is another way to cut down the amount of data you consume month-to-month. The same goes for music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. The ability to stock up your device with music and podcasts that you can listen to between Wi-Fi hotspots has made it much easier for people to scale back their data consumption when necessary. 

Cheap mobile plans under $30

Our pick?

Cheap mobile plans under $20

Our pick?

Boost Mobile $40 Prepaid Starter Pack

Currently discounted down to $20 instead of the usual $40, this prepaid Boost Mobile plan gets you a staggering 30GB plus an additional 14GB per month for the first three months. Throw in unlimited national calls and messages and international calls and that total takeaway of 44GB/month starts to look pretty appealing.

Cheap mobile plans under $10

Our pick?

How did we decide?

Our recommendations were made by looking at the cheapest plans within each price bracket with the highest data, steering you in the direction with the best value for money spent. Basically, we were looking to find the most amount of data for the lowest outright cost - rather than working out the best rate of dollars-per-gigabyte.

If this approach doesn't agree with you, it might be worth checking out some of our other mobile and broadband guides below:

This article was updated by Fergus Halliday in May 2020.

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