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Shopping for cell phone plans can be frustrating. It's hard to plow through all the details to figure out which plan offers the most value or best fits your needs. You need to consider coverage, data limits, family discounts and minutes and, of course, cost. This comparison looks at similar plans across ten companies.

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Sprint

Sprint’s single line, 2 GB plan runs $40 per month. Sprint often hosts specials that may save you money for the length of your contract, which is generally one year. They also have discount plans for seniors and active-duty military. In general, plans range from $0 to $80 per month. Coverage is spotty in the western United States, but much better in the eastern U.S.

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Verizon

Verizon’s single line, 2 GB plan is $55. They have a variety of other plans, including a pre-paid plan with more data for less money. Their Above Unlimited plan offers unlimited data, with high speeds until you hit 75 GB per month. They also offer deals if you participate in their BYO Phone program. Their coverage area includes most of the United States.

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Cricket

Cricket customers are part of AT&T’s network. The single line, 2 GB plan is $30. Cricket’s plans are all prepaid and run from $25 to $55 per month. They have coverage across all of the United States but are lacking in some of the more rural areas. They do not offer special discounts but do reduce prices if you have multiple lines on the same plan.

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Consumer Cellular

Consumer Celluar’s single line, 3 GB plan is $40 per month. They have budget plans that start at just $15 per month, and their most expensive plans are $60 per month. They offer no activation fees and a free month when switching plans on an existing phone. Their coverage is spotty in rural areas of the western United States.

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Unreal Mobile

Unreal Mobile’s basic plan, with unlimited talk and text on a single line, plus 2 GB of data, is $15. They offer data rollover for fluctuating net-surfers. Unreal has fewer plans and phones than most of their competitors but charge less in exchange. Their coverage is excellent in the eastern U.S. and spotty in the western United States.

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Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile’s single line, 3 GB plan is $35 per month. Their plans run from $35 to $80. They offer unlimited HD music streaming, and more expensive plans give a better streaming experience. Boost Mobile has less coverage than many providers on this list. However, if you tend to stick close to a major city, then you should be in the clear.

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Mint Mobile

Mint’s basic 2 GB plan is $15 per month. Mint Mobile serves customers through the T-Mobile network. Their plans range from $15-$25 per month, but you must pay for three months in advance. Mint offers a free sim card with startup. Because they're prepaid, you aren't locked into a contract. Mint Mobile has extensive coverage in the eastern US, but spotty coverage in the western United States.

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Tello

Tello is part of the Sprint Network. They have a variety of plans, including options with fewer minutes and data, which are perfect for families with children who need to keep in touch once in a while. Tello’s single line, 2 GB plan is $24. Their coverage is nearly non-existent west of Missouri, but they do service larger cities in the Midwest and the western U.S.

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Simple Mobile

Simple Mobile’s single line, 2 GB plan is $28 per month. Their plans range from $20 to $57 per month. They use T-Mobile’s network, and their plans include unlimited international calling to selected countries, including Mexico. Their coverage is fairly extensive across the United States.

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Metro PCS

With Metro PCS, users pay $30 for a single line, 2 GB plan. Their plans range from $30 to $70 per month. Their data plans are generous and slow your data when you near your cap, rather than charging you for overages. Metro PCS uses T-Mobile’s network, so they have some of the most extensive coverage in the U.S.

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