U.S. Cellular Review

U.S. Cellular's prepaid plans have something to offer both occasional and frequent cell phone users, though their data speeds aren't quite up to par with the rest of the industry.

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The Good

Choose which services you need

U.S. Cellular has a number of different plans available, each with a different combination of services so you can pay only for those you need. If you’re just looking for a basic cell phone to use for making the occasional call, one of their Ready Connect plans is a good choice. They don’t offer unlimited data, but if you don’t use the Internet much, this won’t matter. Heavy cell phone users are going to want one of the plans that includes unlimited talk, text, and data. There are a number of different options to choose from depending on how much high-speed data you want, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that suits your needs.

Android and iPhones available

In addition to a few basic cell phones, U.S. Cellular also offers iPhones to their customers and a few different Android models. Androids can be found with most prepaid cell phone providers, but iPhones are a little harder to come by. If you’re interested in purchasing one of these to use with your prepaid phone plan, U.S. Cellular’s a good company to investigate. Bear in mind, though, that phones — especially smartphones — are much more expensive with a prepaid plan than with a traditional two-year contract plan.

Easy to sign up

Signing up for a prepaid phone plan with U.S. Cellular only takes a few minutes to complete. First, you select the type of plan you’re interested in. Then you’re able to look at all of the phones compatible with the plan you’ve chosen and compare them side by side. After that, you can add accessories and review your order. Once you’ve got everything the way you want it, just enter in your payment information and you’re all set. Your new phone will be shipped to you, ready to use.

The Bad

No 4G LTE coverage

U.S. Cellular only offers 3G data speeds, so you may want to shop around if you spend a lot of time surfing the web on your phone. Many other prepaid phone providers offer 4G LTE speeds on certain devices. If higher speeds aren’t as important to you, however, U.S. Cellular may still be a solid option as your prepaid cell phone provider.

Can't manage your account online

You can’t change your plan or pay for your service online with U.S. Cellular. This is relatively uncommon in the industry. If it’s necessary, you can change your plan by contacting customer service, and paying your bill can be done right from your mobile phone or at a U.S. Cellular retail store.

Activation fees

If you go with U.S. Cellular’s voice-only or voice- and messaging-only plan, you have to pay an activation fee in addition to your regular monthly fee. The fee for the voice and messaging plan is just $20 but, if you opt for the voice-only plan, the activation fee is $50. U.S. Cellular’s voice, messaging, and data plans come with free activation.

The Details

Monthly Plans

  • Activation Fee: Up to $20
  • Data: 500MB - Unlimited
  • Minutes Included: 500 - Unlimited
  • Monthly Rate: $35 - $70
  • Texts Included: Unlimited


  • Access Fee: N/A
  • Activation Fee: N/A
  • Cost Per Minute: N/A
  • Cost Per Text (MMS): N/A
  • Cost Per Text (SMS): N/A
  • Data: N/A

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