The best cell phone plans for international students

Posted by Rohit Mittal

If you are a student studying in the US and have not yet purchased a reliable cell phone plan, you are missing out on a huge opportunity!

Thankfully, cell phone plans in the US have become more affordable since the early 2010s, as a result of ever-rising stiff competition.

This is perhaps why today you have got a range of cell phone plans to pick from. While this might be a good news at one hand, on the other hand, it becomes a bit tough to choose the right cell phone plan as per your requirements.

To make your task easier, we have done some research and here are some of the best cell phone plans you can choose.


When it comes to providing value for money, FreedomPop is the way to go. You can buy their free phone plan and enjoy 500 text messages, 200 minutes talk time along with 500MB high-speed data per month.

Their Global Free 100 plan is another attractive add-on where you get to enjoy 100 international minutes a month and you can make a call to more than 50 countries. You can even choose to enjoy more free minutes by simply upgrading your plan.

Further, if you are going back to your home country, you can still stay connected with your friends in the US through Wi-Fi calling, which means your phone would not stop working.

Offers at a glance:

  • Free phone plan offers 500 free text messages, 500 MB of free data and 200 minutes free talk time. You can upgrade this plan to get more benefits
  • Free global plan allows you to make a call to over 50 countries
  • Wi-Fi calling app of FreedomPop allows you to make and receive calls even when you are outside the US
  • Cell phone services are powered by Sprint 4G LTE data network

Total Wireless

With Total Wireless, you just need to spend $35 monthly and you will get a package that would give you access to unlimited calls and text messages along with 5GB of high-speed data.

This plan is a perfect pick for international students who are looking for cheaper cell phone plans and don’t have heavier data needs.

However, you can buy an additional data card for $10, in case you need more data.

Offers at a glance

  • Get unlimited talk time, text messages and 5GB data for $35/month
  • Add additional 3GB data for $10 (this will be carried over until you choose to stop the services)
  • Verizon network powered cell phone services
  • Easy to start prepaid service with no credit check
  • Enjoy international calls at a low cost with $10 global calling card
  • Use the same CDMA phone in the US and in your home country
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StarightTalk is another great service provider which provides a range of benefits with no contracts. You can enjoy unlimited calls and texts along free data under various plans.

Offers at a glance

  • Enjoy nationwide unlimited free calls and text messages along with 2GB data for $35
  • Enjoy nationwide unlimited free calls and text messages along with 8GB data for $45
  • Enjoy nationwide unlimited free calls and text messages along with 12GB data for $55
  • Enjoy worldwide unlimited free calls and text along with 8GB data for $60
  • Enjoy unlimited text messages along with 100MB data for $30
  • Enjoy international calls with $10
  • Their ‘bring your own phone program’ allows you to enjoy all these benefits with your own phone

Simple Mobile

Get access to a range of plans costing between $25 and $60 a month from Simple Mobile. You get to enjoy unlimited texting and calling along with 1GB of high-speed data for $25. Once you have consumed all the high-speed data, your speed gets reduced to 2G.

Further, there are an array of other prepaid plans provided by Simple Mobile that offer international calling and texting to various countries like India, Mexico, Canada, and China.

For countries other than these, you can make use of global calling card and continue to enjoy low calling rates.

Offers at a glance

  • Get unlimited talk time, text messages and 1GB high-speed data for $25
  • International texting and calling to various countries
  • Call services powered by T-Mobile network
  • No credit score needed
  • Ready to work with any unlocked GSM phone


If you are looking for a reliable and affordable calling plan, Tracfone has got you covered. Their smartphone plans start at just $15/month. However, the catch here is that this plan doesn’t provide unlimited calling, texting, and data. Thus, it is only suitable if you don’t use your phone much.

Offers at a glance

  • Offers start from $15/month
  • AT&T, T-Mobile networks, and Verizon powered call services
  • You can choose to stop the service anytime
  • No credit check required
  • Works with any GSM/CDMA phone
  • Make international calls to a range of countries at US rates


Verizon is one of the leading cell phone network used by a range of cell phone owners in the US. A Verizon plan takes care of all your needs and you can choose between unlimited and limited data, unlimited talk and text, mobile hotspot tethering, video streaming and so on.

U unlimited plan works well for most international students, however, you can even opt for other inexpensive options like M for 4GB, L for 8GB and S for 2 GB.

Their $40/month prepaid plan offers you 3GB high-speed data, unlimited texting, and calling.

Offers at a glance

  • Affordable plans between $35 and $80/month with unlimited texting and calling
  • No credit check required
  • No contract
  • Low-cost international calling with international calling plans
  • Works with any CDMA phone
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Republic Wireless

This is yet another service provider which provides extremely budget-friendly plans for students. Their typical plan costs between $15 and $90/month and includes unlimited calls texting and data.

Offers at a glance

  • Plans between $15 and $90/month with unlimited calling, texting, and data
  • Phone units cost $179 for android phone
  • No contract required

T-mobile Prepaid

T-mobile prepaid is also a reliable service provider you can choose to go with. For $50/month, you get to enjoy 10 GB of LTE. If you don’t use your phone much, you can go for $45 plan which provides 4 GB LTE/month

Offers at a glance

  • 10 GB LTE for $50/month with unlimited calling and texting,
  • 4 GB LTE for $45/month with unlimited calling and texting
  • 6 GB LTE for $55/month with unlimited calling and texting
  • You even get the choice to keep your phone number
  • Stateside international; calls for $15/month while unlimited calls to Canada and Mexico for $5/month

Your Turn

These were some of the best cell phone plans for international students studying in the US. If you are on a budget, it is highly recommended to go with the cheapest option which meets your requirements.

What are your views on this? Which plan are you currently using? Do share with us in the comments.


About Stilt:

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