The United States of America may be the most popular country in the world. This is thanks to its world-famous Hollywood movies, the strongest military in the world, thousands of famous inventions, and hundreds of top multinational companies ruling the world of business. It’s a dream land for many, hence people from around the globe, be it students, working professionals, artists, or tourists, flock to this country in huge numbers. That brings us neatly to the best prepaid SIM cards in the United States.
Being in the USA, you need to know how to stay connected. For that, you might be thinking about which telecommunications company’s services you should take. This could be pretty confusing as there are a plethora of SIM card providers in the US — 3 major operators and more than 17 MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators). Thus, to ease your confusion, in this guide we will discuss several leading mobile operators in the US.
1. T-Mobile US
T-Mobile US, commonly referred to as just T-Mobile, is the second-largest wireless carrier in the US. It bought, then merged with Sprint, which was the smallest among the four major operators. Consequently, there are only three after the merger, as we mentioned. T-Mobile is popular for providing free roaming in Canada and Mexico, allowing data rollover, T-Mobile Tuesdays where you get lucrative rewards like free food from several fast-food chains, and so on.
The carrier operates on 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, and 5G NR frequencies. The company has quite extensive coverage, with its 5G NR covering 40% of the country. Its 4G/LTE coverage is the worst of all the big three players, especially in rural areas. You can get its SIM card for 9.99 USD and its top-up is readily available everywhere in the country. The plans it offers are either combo, data-only, or add-ons.
2. AT&T US
AT&T stands for American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. It is not only the oldest wireless carrier in the US but the whole world. However, despite being “ancient”, it is the smallest of the three big players in the country. The company operates on 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, and 5G NR frequencies. Its coverage is extensive, with the best 3G coverage in the entire USA.
An AT&T SIM card is available for 4.99 USD at all the AT&T stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, and so forth. Their SIM cards remain active for only 60 days after no top-up or no activity for that period. The company offers only two types of plans, i.e., either combo or data-only. My AT&T app is the official app of the company, available for both Android and Apple devices.
3. Google Fi
Google Fi is an MVNO of T-Mobile and UScellular. It’s a unique carrier as it automatically selects the best network constantly. It is vastly popular because it allows free international roaming in more than 200 countries. The provider mostly operates on T-Mobile’s network unless you are in the Midwest, USA. Google Fi SIM card is available for $5 in Target and Best Buy across the country.
However, it is important to note that before buying a Google Fi SIM card, you must ensure your device is compatible. Its SIM cards can be topped up online only. The Google Fi app will help you to buy plans and recharges. The app is available for both Android and Apple smart devices. The company offers only one type of data featured plan which includes calling minutes and SMS along with data.
4. Lycamobile USA
Lycamobile is a T-Mobile MVNO, which means its network coverage is similar to theirs. It is popular for offering international calls at low tariffs. The company also operates in several European countries. You get a Lycamobile SIM card starting from $19 (including a plan). The SIM card is available with independent sellers like electronic shops, grocery and convenience stores, and so forth.
The same independent sellers sell their top-up vouchers throughout the country. You can also recharge it online or via its app. The company offers only two types of plans — Monthly Plans and Add-Ons. The monthly plans are a combo of calling minutes, SMS, and data. However, remember that no plan of this carrier is eligible for 5G NR. These rates are cheaper than many of its competitors, though.
5. Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile is also a T-Mobile MVNO. It is not only one of the cheapest such operators but also among the most inexpensive providers of prepaid SIM cards in the United States. It was a part of Ultra Mobile, but later on, it became a standalone brand. However, it doesn’t sell monthly plans like other virtual operators in the country. In fact, its shortest plan is 90 days, which means it has no short-term one. It is sold for just $2 at Best Buy and Target stores.
Although, you may find Mint Mobile SIM cards for as much as $45 if they come with a plan. Their SIMs can be recharged online only using international debit and credit cards. The carrier offers only two types of plans—Cell Phone Plans (combo of minutes, SMS, and data) and Data Add-ons. Fortunately, all the Mint Mobile Plans are 5G NR eligible if you have a 5G enabled device.