How Much Is the Average Cell Phone Bill for One Person?
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Cell phones are everywhere — odds are everyone you know has at least one phone in their back pocket or purse. However, that doesn’t mean cell phones are affordable; in fact, for many, phone bills have only become more expensive.
So, just how much is a phone bill for one person? What about a family? These are the hard questions you need to ask yourself before upgrading your phone or signing on with a new carrier. Today, let’s break down average cell phone bill costs and the factors that affect them.
What Factors Affect Cell Phone Bills?
Your cell phone bill includes the money you pay each month to pay off your phone (if applicable) and the monthly fees you pay to use a cell carrier or company’s network. In addition, it’ll include any data overcharge fees, late fees, and ancillary expenses you might accumulate.
All of that can easily add up over time, resulting in a much bigger, more expensive phone bill than you anticipate. Here are some of the biggest factors affecting cell phone bills and rising costs nationwide.
Number of Lines
For starters, the number of lines connected to your cell phone plan will affect your overall costs. Generally, the more lines you have, or the more people use the same plan, the more expensive the plan will be overall. If you’re looking for a single-line plan just to cover your own phone, your bill will generally be cheaper.
However, perks like 5G network connectivity, unlimited text and call, and video streaming may lend themselves to higher costs.
However, the inverse is true when you consider per-line costs. Most phone carriers charge you more on a per-line basis to join their networks with just one line compared to if you join their networks with two or more lines. For instance, you might sign up for a new phone plan with two lines, and each line costs $35 per month for $70 per month. If you join the same phone plan was just one line, you might pay $50 per month.
Naturally, your cell phone service carrier will affect your phone bill at the end of the month, as well. Generally, the big three phone carriers – Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T – charge higher prices for their networks and coverage, and for good reason. When you sign up with one of these major carriers, you’ll usually get better cell phone coverage, whether you are looking for top-tier 5G coverage or good 4G LTE coverage.
However, the smaller phone carriers can still be worthwhile. Their plans are usually less expensive on a per-month basis, and some even allow you to pay for them ahead of time instead of having to lock into a years-long contract.
Some essential plans may come with discounts if you use autopay or limit the mobile hotspot data usage among your lines, though. Connect your credit card to your iPhone or Android phone bill to keep track of how much data you use and pay your bills automatically.
The majority of popular phone plans are “unlimited” plans these days. That means you can enjoy technically unlimited data downloads and Internet surfing no matter where you go or how often you are on Wi-Fi. In practice, your data download speeds usually get capped or slowed down after a certain point.
These unlimited data plans are typically more expensive than those with set data limits, like 10 GB, 30 GB, etc. Nationwide prepaid plans may come with high-speed data caps that aren’t too limiting, plus unlimited talk and texting.
International Calling/Texting Options
Do you travel frequently? If so, you might like phone plans with good roaming data allowances or international texting and talking features. These perks are nice to have, and they can reduce your per-trip costs when you are abroad, but they do increase the cost of your monthly bill. Don't bother with these options if you don’t need to call to Mexico or Canada frequently, don’t bother with these options.
When you purchase a new phone with a monthly plan, you'll need to make a monthly payment to pay down the balance, just like you do with a car or mortgage. To avoid this, try to purchase your phones outright, whether that means saving up cash or purchasing last year's model. Low-cost phones can drive down mobile plan costs.
Lastly, whether or not you have cell phone insurance for your mobile device will impact your monthly payments. Cell phone insurance can be great if you just purchased a new, expensive mobile device and don’t want all that money to go down the drain if you drop it by accident. But it does mean you pay a small cost each month on top of your usual cell payments.
What Is the Average Cell Phone Bill Cost?
The average cell phone bill cost can vary from person to person. Yet, if you're wondering how much is a phone bill for one person, there's an easy answer: about $144.
According to some research, this is the average cell phone bill across the country. This doesn't take into account any of the numerous factors mentioned above, but it's a good starting point when estimating how much you should expect to pay when you sign up for a new phone plan. Keep in mind, of course, that this includes both the carrier bill and the bill for paying down a new mobile device.
Some people may have phone bills that are much less than $100, while others may have phone bills that are much more expensive than $144! It all depends on how many phones you have, the carrier you use, etc.
How Can You Reduce Your Phone Bill?
Given the fact that the average phone bill is over $100 these days, you might want to know how to save a little scratch. Good news – there are lots of ways to reduce your phone bill. Let’s take a look at a few big ones.
Hold Off on Phone Upgrades
Many of the best new phones are fun to play with and have attractive features, but they are well over $1000. If you want to save money and avoid signing up for another long-term payment contract, hold off on phone upgrades until you can afford to fork over the cash for them in one go. Or choose a cheaper phone you can afford right now.
Switch to Another Carrier
Alternatively, consider switching to a different carrier aside from the big three. Smaller carriers like Mint Mobile, Republican Wireless, and US Cellular don’t have their own networks. Instead, they piggyback off of the big three’s networks and coverage zones. But that means you can ride on the large networks without having to pay premium prices.
Just keep in mind that many of these smaller carriers don’t come with as many perks, like streaming subscriptions, as their larger counterparts.
Remove a Line You Don’t Use
If you don't use a line on your phone plan – for example, if you previously had a family plan with four lines, but both of your kids moved out of the house – it might be smarter to remove those lines so you don't have to pay for them each month.
Bundle With Friends or Family Members
On the flip side, it can sometimes save you money to bundle up with friends or family members. Take the example above, with a network that charges you $35 per line for two or more lines but $50 per line if you only have one line on your phone plan.
If everyone is willing to pitch in and pool their money, you can save hundreds of dollars per year by switching to a group or family plan instead of paying for your network coverage by yourself.
Consider Not Signing Up for Unlimited Data
Unlimited data sounds nice, but is it really necessary? Take a hard look at how often you surf the web or download things to your phone. If you don’t use a truly exorbitant amount of data, it might be worthwhile to avoid an unlimited plan entirely. Pick a data plan that has a hard data limit, instead.
From time to time, you might go over that limit and have to pay an extra fee, but you may very well save money in aggregate by not paying for data you won’t often (or ever) use.
Try Navi Today
All in all, phone bills can range from as little as $30 per month to well over $100 per month, depending on how many lines you have, your phone model, and much more. If you are struggling to save money and looking for an affordable phone or phone plan, Navi can help in more ways than one.
Our Phone Navigator service, for example, can help connect you to the best phone discounted deals based on your budget limitations and ideal carriers. Our Plan Navigator service, meanwhile, can show you the best phone plans for your area and data needs. Check out both services today!