You just purchased a 5G phone and are ready to get the fastest data speeds possible. Before you do, you'll need a cell phone plan that includes access to 5G networks. In this article, we'll tell you about the best 5G cell phone plans!
Table Of Contents
What Is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology that promises to bring much faster speeds than 4G LTE. There are three different kinds of 5G coverage: high-band, mid-band, and low-band.
High-band 5G is the fastest of the three, with low-band being the slowest. However, high-band has an incredibly short signal, so it's not particularly useful for the average consumer. High-band 5G can't even penetrate walls.
Low-band 5G is pretty widely available right now. Verizon and T-Mobile have both made nationwide low-band 5G networks available this year. While this might sound exciting, in truth low-band 5G is often slower than 4G LTE data. For context, TV channels used to transmit to those old, antenna TVs over low-band 5G wavelengths.
We're most interested in mid-band 5G, as it's faster than low-band but stronger than high-band. Unfortunately, mid-band 5G is not widely accessible yet, and it may be a while before every major carrier has a mid-band 5G data option. However, we're on the right track! T-Mobile is about to release their mid-band 5G network to dozens of areas throughout the United States. By the end of 2020, T-Mobile plans to make mid-band 5G accessible to 100 million Americans.
When Should I Upgrade To 5G?
5G has gotten a lot of press the past few months, but a lot of the details you hear in the media can be misleading. Despite what some major carriers want you to think, 5G is not widely available right now. While there are several active high-band and low-band 5G networks available to consumers, they're pretty sparse and aren't as powerful as you might think.
Low-band 5G has a pretty wide range, but it can be slower than 4G data. On the other hand, high-band 5G is quite fast but it's really only available in major cities.
We're still waiting for mid-band 5G to become widely available in the United States. Mid-band 5G is faster than low-band, but it's wider and stronger than high-band. T-Mobile is about to become the first major carrier with mid-band 5G available to the public. They claim that, by the end of 2020, 100,000 million people should be able to access their mid-band 5G network across the United States.
If you're considering upgrading your cell phone to one with 5G compatibility, there are some affordable 5G phones hitting the market. Some of our favorites include the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the iPhone 12 Mini. If you're sure you want to upgrade to a 5G plan, we recommend switching to T-Mobile or a T-Mobile MVNO carrier so you can enjoy their mid-band 5G network.
What Do I Need To Use 5G?
You'll need a 5G phone if you want to connect to 5G networks. While some iPhones will display a 5G symbol, you won't actually get 5G speeds without a 5G phone.
If you have a 5G phone and a 5G cell phone plan, you're all set! Your phone will automatically connect to 5G networks when they're available.
Do I Need To Pay Extra For 5G?
Many carriers have begun to include free 5G access with their plans. However, 5G can be a $5–10 / month add-on for some cell phone plans. We don't recommend paying the extra cash for something that's not widely available yet.
Verizon 5G Plans
Play More Unlimited
The Play More Unlimited plan allows for adding as many as 1–10 lines, which also included unlimited mobile hotspot data with no overage charges. Some features of this plan are that it includes unlimited minutes, messages, and 4G LTE data. This plan is incredibly fast, but it can be slowed if the network is congested. You'll also get unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico.
One drawback of this plan is that mobile hotspot speeds are throttled at 600 kbps once 15 GB are used. Verizon may also throttle your cellular data speed after 25 GB. This plan is also not the cheapest, with 1 line costing $80 a month. If you have 10 lines, that would be $400 a month plus a line fee of $90 with a $10 discount.
Do More Unlimited
The Do More Unlimited plan is a good option for those that want a lot of premium data without having to pay premium-tier prices. This plan also includes unlimited minutes, text, and data. However, if you use more than 50 GB of 4G LTE data within a month, your speeds can be throttled. This plan has 50 GB of 4G LTE data and 15 GB of high-speed mobile hotspot.
This plan also doesn't charge overages, and you have unlimited text to more than 200 countries. You can use data in Mexico and Canada, but the speeds will be throttled after using half of a GB. For an extra $10 a month you can access their 5G network, six months of Apple Music membership for free, and get 500 GB of Verizon Cloud storage.
Get More Unlimited
With the Get More Unlimited plan, you can have up to 1-10 lines. This is Verizon's premium unlimited data plan with unlimited minutes, texts, and cellular data, as well as 30 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot. The line fees are $100, and for 1 line it is $90 a month; when you go up to 10 it is $500 a month.
This is Verizon's most powerful unlimited data plan, where your 4G LTE data won't be throttled till you have used 75 GB per month: a much higher threshold than other options. It also has many features such as five travel passes and 500 GB of Cloud storage.
This plan has lightning-fast 4G LTE cellular data and mobile hotspot. There are no overage charges on this plan, and you can make unlimited calls and texts to Canada and Mexico. The speeds would be throttled at 512 MB per day in these countries and if more than half of the data usage, talk time, or texts are in Mexico or Canada.
AT&T 5G Plans
The Unlimited Extra plan can include 1–10 lines on AT&T's expansive wireless network. This plan starts at $75 / month.
It has many unique features that set this plan apart from similar data plans in the price range, and can help you avoid phone scams with free fraud blocking and spam risk alerts. You'll have a hard time exceeding this plan's 50 GB high-speed data cap. Once you exceed the 50 GB premium data cap, your speed will be throttled when the network is congested.
There are no overage charges, and you can text to 120 countries and make unlimited calls to Canada and Mexico. Plus, if you travel to those countries, you can use data roaming for free.
Unlimited Elite is AT&T's most premium unlimited plan, with 30 GB of mobile hotspot capable and HD-quality video streaming. This plan start at $85 / month, but you can save a lot of money when you add multiple lines.
In addition to unlimited minutes, messages, and data, Unlimited Elite includes amazing features such as a free HBO subscription, spam risk alerts, and automatic fraud blocking. You'll also access to Stream Saver, which optimizes video streaming on your device so you can stream more video and use less data.
T-Mobile 5G Plans
T-Mobile is the leader in 5G. They were the first carrier to announce a nationwide low-band 5G network. While it sounds promising, T-Mobile's low-band 5G can sometimes be slow than Verizon 4G LTE.
However, we're really excited about T-Mobile's mid-band 5G network. T-Mobile plans to deliver mid-band 5G coverage to 100 million people by the end of 2020.
T-Mobile's Magenta plan starts at $70 / month, but it has a lot of features that make it an excellent value. It includes unlimited minutes, text, and data, as well as 20 GB of 4G LTE hotspot.
This plan is great for frequent travelers, as it includes unlimited texting and 2G data in more than 200 countries, plus unlimited minutes, text, and 5 GB of 4G LTE in Mexico and Canada.
Magenta makes you eligible for T-Mobile Tuesdays, the carrier's customer rewards program giving you access to discounts, coupons, entertainment tickets, and more.
Magenta Plus is T-Mobile's top-of-the-line unlimited plan. It starts at $85 / month and includes unlimited minutes, messages, and data with a high-speed data cap of 50 GB per month. The high price tag seems much more manageable when you factor in the Netflix subscription, international features, 20 GB of 4G mobile hotspot, and access to T-Mobile Tuesdays.
MVNO 5G Plans
A great way to access versatile cellular coverage at less-than premium prices is to opt for service from a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). MVNO carriers lease their customers access to cellular networks owned by larger companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. More and more of these smaller providers have begun to lease out 5G service. Here are some of the best options out there!
Mint Mobile Unlimited Plan
One of the best deals you will find on 5G access anywhere comes in the form of Mint Mobile's Unlimited plan. Mint Mobile is one of the most innovative MVNO carriers in the United States. Their pricing is very affordable, and their plan models are unlike any other carrier's on the market today. They have recently added 5G service to all of their cellular data plans, making them a serious competitor to other MVNOs and even major carriers.
Mint Mobile sell 3, 6, and 12 month prepaid plans. Each of their plans comes with unlimited talk and text, access to 4G and 5G data networks, and mobile hotspot. If you don't need unlimited data, you can opt for one of their more basic plans and still use 5G. However, by far the best deal they currently have available is their unlimited data plan, especially if you prepay for 12 months upfront!
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited High Speed
Metro by T-Mobile is an MVNO with access to all of T-Mobile's high speed data networks, including their low-band 5G. While there is a 10 GB data plan from this carrier that allows access to the same data, for just $10 more per month customers can access a much larger wealth of high speed data thanks to Metro by T-Mobile's Unlimited High-Speed plan.
This is no contract data plan with unlimited talk and text, as well as 10 GB of mobile hotspot included each month. For a small additional fee per month, users can access several great international features through this plan, but there aren't any included in its base fee. Even so, Unlimited High-Speed is a competitively priced unlimited plan with an impressive monthly data allotment.
Google Fi Unlimited
On the pricier end of the MVNO spectrum is Google Fi. With access to T-Mobile's high speed data networks, anyone with a GSM compatible phone can make use of 5G data on their coverage. At $70 per month for 1 line, Google Fi's Unlimited plan is comparable in price to many of the plans offered by major carriers. However, it features some unprecedented benefits.
One unique aspect of Google Fi's Unlimited plan is that its unlimited high speed data allotment carries over to international roaming. Another feature that sets this plan apart from others in its price range is that it comes with unlimited high speed mobile hotspot data as well. While there are other MVNOs with undeniably more affordable 5G accessibility, it's unlikely you'll find any as premium as Google Fi's.
Best Prepaid 5G Plans
Ting Mobile Set 5 GB Plan
The Ting Mobile Set 5 GB Plan is a great option if you want prepaid 5G access. This plan includes 5 GB of data, unlimited talk and text, and nationwide 5G coverage for just $25 / month. Your cellular data can also be used for mobile hotspot. Data speeds are throttled to 2G once you've exceeded your monthly data cap. Additional data can be purchased at a rate of $5 / GB.
Mint Mobile 10 GB Prepaid Plan
The Mint Mobile 10 GB Prepaid Plan comes with 10 GB of data, which is a bit more than the Ting Mobile Set 5 GB Plan. This plan normally costs $35 / month, but with the $15 intro offer, it comes out to $20 / month. Cellular data can be used for mobile hotspot. Unlimited calling and texting are also included at no additional charge.
Like all Mint Mobile plans, you have to pay for the entire plan upfront. We recommend starting with the 3-month intro offer, as it will help you decide if Mint Mobile is the right carrier for you. You can keep the same monthly rate at the end of the period by signing up for another 12 months.
Verizon 5 GB Prepaid Plan
The Verizon 5 GB Prepaid Plan comes with 5 GB of cellular data, unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, and mobile hotspot. The plan rewards you for being a long-term customer. It starts a $35 / month. After three months, the price drops to $30 / month. After nine months, the price drops to $25 / month.
Now that you know the best 5G cell phone plans, it's time to get out there and pick your own! Try comparing ones that catch your eye with our plan comparison tool, and use the filters to help narrow down your search. Leave a comment down below if you have any other questions about 5G plans.