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How Much Is the Average Cell Phone Bill for One Person?

a person holding a cell phone bill and cell phone

Cell phones are everywhere, but that doesn’t mean cell phones are affordable; in fact, for many, phone bills have only become more expensive.

Wondering if you're overpaying or if you've got a great deal on your phone bill? 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.

In this article, let’s break down average cell phone bill costs and the factors that affect them.

Average Phone Bill For One Person

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 $157.

According to some research from J.D. Power, this is the average cell phone bill across the country as of 2023. This doesn't take into account any of the numerous factors we 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.

To give you a better idea of the possible range, we polled our team here at Navi. On the low end, we had some folks paying just $15/month for capped data, with a prepaid MVNO carrier and no phone financing. On the high end, we had some team members paying over $200 for their family of four on a more premium data plan with one of the Big Three carriers. 

It all depends on how many phones you have, the carrier you use, how much data you want, what perks you’re interested in, and more.

Interested in comparing cell phone plan options? Try our free, unbiased Plan Finder. With just a few details, like your current carrier, the number of lines, and the perks you’re considering, we search through thousands of plan features to find the best deals on cell phone plans for you.

What Factors Affect Cell Phone Bills?

From $15 to over $200 is quite a range! What different factors affect the price?

Your cell phone bill includes:

  • The money you pay each month to pay off your phone (if applicable).
  • The monthly fees you pay to use a cell carrier or company’s network. 
  • Any data overcharge fees, late fees, and extra 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.

Do keep in mind that many carriers offer multi-line discounts so that any lines you add to the plan are less expensive than the first one. One of our not-so-secret secret hacks is that couples, friends, and roommates should always consider looking into the best phone plans for two – or more – as a way to save money. No need to be part of the same family to benefit from family plan pricing perks. 

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.

Perks like 5G network connectivity, unlimited text and call, and video streaming may lend themselves to higher costs.


Naturally, your cell phone service carrier will affect your phone bill at the end of the month, as well. Generally, the big three phone carriersVerizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T – tend to 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. These carriers also tend to throw in extra perks, like travel benefits, streaming subscriptions, and phone upgrade deals.

However, the smaller phone carriers and MVNOs like UScellular, Spectrum Mobile, Optimum Mobile, Xfinity Mobile, and Cox Mobile can still be worthwhile. Their plans are usually less expensive on a per-month basis, though they’re typically more of a no-frills experience.

Most plans from big carriers and small carriers alike may come with discounts if you use autopay or limit the mobile hotspot data usage among your lines, too. 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.

Data Allowances

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. You can also look into prepaid plans that come with high-speed data caps that aren’t too limiting and will come with unlimited talk and texting.

International Calling/Texting Options

Do you travel frequently? If so, you might be interested in the best phone plans for international travel. Really good cell phone plans for travel include solid roaming data allowances as well as 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. 

Many plans now include talk and text to Mexico or Canada, but there’s always the option to spring for more. If this kind of perk doesn’t matter to you, it widens your options for low-cost phone plans. 

Phone Payments

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.

It’s also worth keeping an eye out for phone promotions. Many carriers – especially the Big Three – run phone deals year-round to try to tempt new customers over. For example, when the new iPhone 15 came out, Verizon ran an “iPhone on Us” promotion, which only required a trade-in of an old iPhone, and a subscription to a 5G unlimited plan, in exchange for a brand new iPhone 15.

Cell Insurance

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.

How Can You Reduce Your Phone Bill?

Given the fact that the average phone bill is over $150 these days, you might want to know how to save a little cash. 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 the average price of a new phone in 2023 was $823

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 and Xfinity Mobile, for example, don’t have their own networks. Instead, they piggyback off the big three’s networks and coverage zones. But that means you can ride on large networks without paying 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’s smart 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. As we mentioned earlier, you can get in on a family phone plan even if you’re not all a family. Multi-line discounts are a great way to cut down on phone bill costs without having to compromise on perks or coverage.

If everyone is willing to pitch in and pool their money, you can save hundreds of dollars per year instead of paying for your network coverage by yourself.

Consider How Much Premium Data You Need

Most plans these days come with unlimited data, but plans vary in the amount of premium, or prioritized, data they offer. In short, when you run out of premium data, you still have data, but it might be slower.  The more premium data, the more expensive the phone plan. 

Take a good look at how often you surf the web or download things to your phone. Most phones can tell you how much data you use every month in the settings. If you find you don’t use a truly exorbitant amount of data, it might be worthwhile to look for plans that don’t have vast amounts of premium data. 

If you’re a really light data user, you can look into capped data plans, too. 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 use.

The Bottom Line

All in all, phone bills can range from as little as $15 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.

Our Phone Deal Finder can search through thousands of phone deal options to find you the best phone deals based on your budget limitations and ideal carriers. Our Plan Finder, meanwhile, can help you compare phone plans for your area and data needs. 

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