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What’s the average phone bill per month in 2024?

By Mint Fox

Originally published September 14, 2023

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Last Updated June 13, 2024

Mint Fox with text reading "What's the average phone bill per month?"

Food, iced coffee, shelter and a cell phone. These are just some of the things we need to survive. Okay maybe not the iced coffee, but a cell phone is certainly more than just a luxury nowadays, it’s a necessary utility. You need it to do business, stay in touch with loved ones and so much more.

So you’d think wireless service would be easily attainable and affordable, but sadly it seems not all providers feel that way, if the average phone bill is any indication. So what is the average phone bill per month? Let’s dig into the different variables that come into play and explore the pricing across the wireless industry. Then, we’ll go over different ways you can save on your monthly phone bill.

In this article

How much is the average cell phone bill per month?

According to a mobile overspending report assembled by Whistleout, the average American is spending $160 per month for their cell phone plan,* which adds up to almost $2k per year. Remember when that used to be the cost of a car payment? In contrast, most Americans’ ideal monthly cost for wireless service is about $99, just under $1,200 per year.* So why do they pay so much more? We’ll get to that.

How much have phone plan prices increased over the last decade?

Nearly 75% of Americans said they were concerned about the rising cost of cell phone plans in 2022,* and for good reason. Looking back to 2013, the average cost of a cell phone plan has gone up over 36%, including a 4% year-over-year increase over the last 9 years.* Almost half of Americans surveyed said they thought they were overpaying for their service, too. Can’t say we disagree.

The worst part? 36% of Americans said they wouldn’t be able to afford a 10% increase in their monthly bill.* We don’t want to be pessimistic, but if the last few years have shown us anything, those other carriers are going to keep raising rates, and the average phone bill per month is probably going up again soon.

Why are phone plans so expensive?

It’s a broad question, but the main culprits are the big wireless companies. Not offering lower-priced plans and pushing their customers to commit to pricier unlimited plans that they don’t need causes the overall average to go up. The average phone bill per month is high, but it is still an average.

One in three Americans surveyed admitted that they knowingly overspend on their wireless plan.* So why keep paying it? There are a number of reasons. Worries that switching will be too difficult, not being aware of what else is out there, or being on a “grandfathered” plan are all things that might keep people from switching to a lower cost wireless plan. But once you get past these hurdles, which actually aren’t as difficult as most people think, you’ll see that phone plans don’t have to be expensive, and there’s a good chance there’s a more affordable plan out there that includes everything you need.

Mint Fox with binoculars with text "What to look for in a more affordable phone plan"

What should I look for in a more affordable phone plan?

While “cheaper than my current plan” may be the primary focus, there are a few things you want to consider before switching, to ensure you end up on the best plan for you. 

Switch to an MVNO

MVNOs or Mobile Virtual Network Operators are smaller wireless carriers that usually run on the same reliable nationwide networks that the big guys use. They tend to not have monthly bills because you pay in advance, meaning no sudden, unexpected charges or price hikes. 56% of Americans said they’d consider switching to a smaller carrier to save money,* but they don’t fully realize the benefits that come with these not-so-big wireless carriers.

Lower monthly cost

Like we said earlier, phone plans are going up in price each year and show no signs of slowing down. There are smaller wireless carriers that have had consistently affordable prices over the last decade, with customers saving an average of over $100 per month by switching to an MVNO,* inflation be damned

Flexible data options

Most Americans pay for data they don’t use. 83% of Americans are on unlimited data plans, but half of them use less than 10GB per month.* Many smaller wireless carriers allow you to choose the data plan that best fits your usage habits, so you only pay for the data you need. And since you’re not locked into a contracted plan, you can confidently make changes to your plan if your data needs happen to change.

Buy-in-bulk savings

Just like buying groceries in bulk, purchasing multiple months of a cell phone plan in advance can save you big. As the saying goes, the more you buy, the more you save.

Bring your phone and number with you

Like the phone you have? Find a smaller carrier that it’s compatible with and you can focus on saving instead of spending money on an unnecessary upgrade. Most phones nowadays work with multiple wireless carriers’ networks, as long as they’re unlocked. Just be sure to check if your phone is compatible before making the switch. Mint Mobile makes it easy to verify with our handy compatibility checker. Likewise, you probably want to bring that phone number you’ve had forever with you over to your new plan, so double-check to see which carriers offer that option (like, ahem, us).

No unnecessary add-ons

Many carriers today like to tempt you with subscriptions to other services “included” in your monthly plan, but if you switch to a smaller carrier that offers nothing more than wireless service, you can use the money you save to subscribe to the other services you really want. Not only do you get more choice, but it’ll probably still cost you less.

Mint Fox holding cash with text reading "Mint Mobile can help"

Mint Mobile helps keep your monthly phone bill affordable

Since we launched in 2016, Mint Mobile’s goal has been to provide premium wireless service at an affordable price. That’s literally our whole thing. In fact, we’ve raised the data amounts on all our plans three times, all without ever raising our prices. Not to mention Mint Family, our Refer a Friend program and oh yeah… we send holidays cards too. Seriously. We strive to add more value for our subscribers whenever we can.

Ready to start paying less than the average phone bill each month? Take our plan match quiz to find the best Mint Mobile plan for you. Then you can start daydreaming about what you’re going to do with all the money you save. Like getting that tattoo finally covered up, or buying a new RV, so you can see just how reliable our nationwide network really is.

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*https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/mobile-overspending-report

✝ May include plan payment, phone payment, and other associated payments.

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