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Cheapest iPhone 5 Plans: How to Pay Less for the iPhone 5



Choosing a carrier for the iPhone 5 is difficult. There are a lot of factors to consider including price, network coverage, network reliability, data speeds, and data caps. Network coverage and reliability in specific locations is difficult to pinpoint, but we can break down the price of the iPhone 5 with no problem.

By the end of September a total of five carriers in the U.S. will carry the iPhone 5, and more might follow in the future. We know that Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T take shots at one another in ads all the time, but iPhone 5 users can also choose between Cricket Wireless and C Spire Wireless as well.

We’ve compared the price of iPhone 5 plans at five U.S. iPhone 5 carriers to find the cheapest plans.


The iPhone 5.

Read: iPhone 5: AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint – Which Carrier is Best?

For our purposes all plans will have the smallest amount of voice minutes, text messages, and data while still offering all three. The price at the end of each section is the total cost of ownership including the phone price and the cost of monthly access.


Of the three main iPhone 5 carriers in the U.S. AT&T has the most options for wireless plans. It lets users choose from standard plans or new Mobile Share plans.

The cheapest standard individual plan includes 450 minutes, unlimited text messages, and 300MB of data. That will cost $79 a month plus the $199 upfront for the iPhone 5 with 16GB.

AT&T’s base mobile share plan adds $6 to that amount, bringing it up to $85 per month. That offer unlimited voice minutes, unlimited texts, and 1GB of data. It even includes tethering, though 1GB of data is not a lot of data and using it to tether probably isn’t a great idea.

Over two years the standard AT&T plan will cost $2095 plus taxes and fees. The base Mobile Share plan will cost $2239 over two years plus taxes and fees.


Unlike AT&T, Verizon only offers shared data plans for the iPhone 5.

The base Share Everything plan from Verizon costs $80 per month. That includes unlimited voice minutes, unlimited texts, and 300MB of data with tethering. Tethering makes even less sense on Verizon, thanks tothe very small amount of data.

With a 16GB iPhone 5, the base Verizon plan costa $2119 over two years plus taxes and fees. The 16GB iPhone 5 is $199 with a contract.



Out of the big three carriers with the iPhone 5 Sprint is the only carrier without data caps on any plans.

Even the base plan includes unlimited data and texts, but limits voice minutes. The base Sprint plan costs $79.99 per month and includes 450 voice minutes per month. The unlimited data also comes with 300MB of domestic roaming, so users can’t use much data when outside of Sprint’s network.

After two years with a $199 16GB iPhone 5 the base Sprint plan costs $2118.76 plus taxes and fees.

C Spire Wireless

C-Spire LTE Roll Out Points to Possible Fall iPhone 5 Launch

C Spire is the first regional postpaid carrier in the U.S. to get the iPhone 5, though it gets the phone a week after the big three.

Like Sprint, C Spire offers unlimited data and unlimited texts in all of its base plans that include data. The base plan with data for C Spire wireless includes 500 voice minutes and costs users $60 per month.

Paired with a $199 16GB iPhone 5 the base C Spire Wireless plan will cost $1639 plus taxes and fees over two years.


Cricket Wireless logo

Cricket is the first prepaid carrier in the U.S. to receive the iPhone 5. Prepaid means users don’t need to sign contracts for thephone, but they have to pay full price for the phone.

The full price of the 16GB iPhone 5 comes out to $649, which is a lot of money, but arguably worth it for users who don’t want a contract. Cricket’s base iPhone 5 plan costs $55 per month for unlimited voice minutes, unlimited texts, and unlimited data with a soft cap of 2.5GB.

User with a prepaid iPhone don’t need to stay with it for any length of time, but for the sake of consistency two years with a 16GB iPhone 5 on Cricket costs $1969.

iPhone 5 Plan Comparison

When it comes down to price alone, C-Spire offers the cheapest iPhone 5 plan. We recommend comparing coverage, speeds and data limits to find the best plan before making an purchase, but these details make it easier to get past the price and focus on the details.

  1. C-Spire – $1,639
  2. Cricket – $1,969
  3. Sprint – $2,118.76
  4. Verizon – $2,119
  5. AT&T – $2,095

Other U.S. carriers will likely get the iPhone 5 in the coming months, including regional carriers and most prepaid carriers. T-Mobile will also offer plans for unlocked iPhone 5s when Apple sells them in October, but we’re not sure which plans it will push or open for the phone. For now the best deal is C Spire wireless by a long shot.



  1. cvans

    09/16/2012 at 11:05 am

    You said based on lowest costs. Change at&t to the $2095 and then its a fair and good artical.

  2. derek

    09/16/2012 at 11:18 am

    Verizon information is incorrect. You can still get the “standard plans”, but they are not listed on the company website. You have to either call or go to a verizon store.

    • ysh

      10/21/2012 at 4:24 pm

      Verizon charged $40 per mobile extra for the handset. So its $40 for 1 line + $50 for 1GB data plan which is $90 altogether

  3. Alex

    09/16/2012 at 12:55 pm


  4. Yazid Santiago

    09/16/2012 at 2:12 pm

    You should really have the iPhone 5 cost $199 and No contract and a $50 pLAN it’ll be bettr if u have a plan of $100 who in the working d would d buy it Yale won’t get proggress if yall do that yall get more bucks

  5. Lenny Lenny

    09/16/2012 at 2:23 pm

    Imma go with Cricket

  6. E counts

    09/16/2012 at 3:22 pm

    I have droid but wonder if cricket service is good as Sprint’s service.

  7. Benne

    09/17/2012 at 11:42 am

    Since apparently carriers juggle with taxes I would like to know the prices taxes included. I have seen all these taxes and fees that are confusing at the least. Prices should reflect all costs, not the base. I left AT&T partially because of these “obscurities”, since these taxes mounted up to 15%+ of the plan, considerable I would say!

    • Danz

      10/17/2012 at 3:40 am

      Uhm outside of prepaid …tax add on pushes price to over $100

  8. Kenneth Paolo Vidad

    09/17/2012 at 1:48 pm

    so the iphone 5 on cricket wireless with 16GB of memory is $649?
    is that official price or just estiamte based on unlock iphone prices?

    • Jacob Andrew Mason

      01/14/2013 at 12:38 pm

      it’s the official price, and the same as buying on direct from apple.

  9. Olaf

    09/18/2012 at 10:18 pm

    ATT was great to “grandfather” our original unlimited data plan on 2 new iPhones bringing 2-yr cost for both iPhones to $59+$10 +2x$20(data)=$109×24=$2616 or $1308/phone + tax. As long-time ATT iPhone customers ATT waived the $36×2 upgrade fee. and grandfathered in our 300 texts/mo at no charge. Pays to be a reliable customer and bargain.

    • Olaf

      09/18/2012 at 10:26 pm

      Taxes bring our $109/mo bill to $121/mo for 2 iPhones

    • A Otto

      12/21/2012 at 5:45 pm

      I’d love to know who you talked to! We’ve been w AT&T since 2005 w I grandfathered iPhone plus 2 other iPhones plus 2 non smartphones and they have NEVER waived upgrade fees for us! We currently have 4 phones up for upgrade and even w telling them we were thinking of switching companies we were NOT offered incentive to stay. Seriously considering a switch but not sure where to go. It’s so confusing.

      • Olaf

        12/22/2012 at 6:21 am

        Several years ago we ran into a “dead end” with ATT like you, so didn’t upgrade then. This time we were fortunate to get someone who wanted to keep us as customers as we were also considering leaving ATT also. Would you believe after processing our order with new iPhones as above (when I wrote this), somehow we missed confirming via an iPhone text, so our order was cancelled. We thought all was lost. However, we started over, calling back and eventually ended up with an ATT manager who apologized and restored our order so we’re happy with ATT, despite the mixup. Good luck.

      • Fred L. Rice

        01/19/2013 at 10:29 am

        I used to work as an ATT call center agent (Yes, I hate ATT too). EVERY SINGLE TIME a customer asked me to waive the 18 dollar upgrade fee, I did it. Trick is this…..ATT will not waive the 18$ fee, but they will credit your account for 18$ for some made up excuse. Your next bill will show the 18$ upgrade fee, but under credits you’ll see a -18$ credit for courtesy, or for some other reason that doesn’t really matter. That way the agent gives you the credit but it does not violate the “No Upgrade Fee refund” policy. One other thing, go to an ATT dealer and tell them you will buy the phone if they do not charge you the upgrade fee. You will have to watch to be sure they do this, but if they will go in to the Telegence System and make a note that they promised you the fee would be waived, when you get the next bill it will be on there and you can call Customer Service, they HAVE to honor the note. The store agent CAN but probably WILL NOT credit the fee at the sale time, because they lose their commission that way.

  10. Sara

    09/23/2012 at 1:46 pm

    actually Cricket’s iPhone prince is $499 no plans and their monthly fee for unlimited EVERYTHING is only $55 i’ll much rather go contract free

  11. Lamont2g

    10/02/2012 at 12:16 pm

    iPhone 5 16G at C Spire is actually $149 with 2yr contract. $249 for the 32G and $349 for the 64G.

  12. tammie

    10/07/2012 at 7:00 am

    I have heard alot of people say they are having the same issues with the phone 5 as they r having with phone 4. Wanted to get one but hearing alot of negative about it so might just not get one. Anyone with any good things to say about phone 5 ?

    • Kelly

      11/10/2012 at 3:28 pm

      Yes, the iPhone 5 is awesome.

      • Olaf

        11/10/2012 at 5:54 pm

        We just got 3 iPhone5s. They seem to be rock solid – no issues for us. Even maps seems OK for us, perhaps since we have the latest OS.

  13. Brad

    10/27/2012 at 7:57 pm

    Info is wrong regarding Verizon. Share data plans are available for all smart phone users. I have Iphone 4, son has droid, and wife has a dumb phone. Access charges for the smart pones are $40 each, for the dumb phone $30, and them data charges star at 2G for $60. Each additional 2G is $10. Unlimited talk and text for all phones

  14. John

    11/07/2012 at 3:48 pm

    Actually, the cheapest iPhone 5 is from where you can get an iPhone 5 64GB sim-free for free!

  15. Free Store

    11/15/2012 at 11:16 am

    Actually, the cheapest iPhone 5 is from where you can get an iPhone 5 64GB sim-free for free!

  16. Austin

    12/26/2012 at 11:50 pm

    Virgin Mobile offers an unlimited data plan for $35 a month for the iPhone 4s. Does anybody know if they support the iPhone 5?

  17. Lin

    12/30/2012 at 7:46 am

    Well Verizon sucks. We have old all unlimited plan and they won’t let us upgrade to iphones unless we go to limited plans they now offer. It will end up costing us more each month so we are looking to switch to another carrier. Why would we want to pay more for less. Makes no sense that they won’t work with us to keep us as customers. They are too rich to care about those of us who helped them get that way. Little guy always loses.

  18. kevin

    01/28/2013 at 6:28 pm

    virgin mobile $450 for iphone 4s. $35 a month for lowest cost plan. gives $1290 for two years but does not have roaming on other towers. am considering iphone 5 factory unlocked use with att and prepay cards.

  19. kevin

    01/28/2013 at 6:41 pm

    also. being unlocked is a lot of hype. you can buy a MIFI HOTSPOT for $80 and take that international with you. get a simm card with data in destination country. use WIFI INTERNET PHONE like skype and make calls via wifi. a lot cheaper than paying the unlocking fees

    • Bill

      01/30/2013 at 12:13 pm

      There ARE no unlocking fees. If you buy one directly from Apple unlocked – no fees. If you fulfill your contract with Apple (or buy out your contract), they will unlock it for free. Same with the other carriers. Just call your carrier. I unlocked my iPhone 3G via an AT&T website, since I had already fulfilled my 2 year contract. Then I bought a Straight Talk SIM, and now have unlimited voice and text. Yeah, the data may be limited at 2GB/month – but that’s what I was limited to with AT&T – and they charged $80 per month for the same service that Straight Talk charges $45/month for!

      • Maggie Turnbull

        02/28/2013 at 10:22 am

        How long have you had Straight Talk? In your experience, how is the coverage, compared to AT&T? I’m considering making the same move but can’t risk losing ANY functionality or coverage because my work depends on it. In fact I really need better coverage than AT&T if possible, so if ST uses multiple networks that would be interesting to know.

  20. Roger

    02/21/2013 at 9:27 am

    What’s the best prepaid carrier for the ip 5

  21. Maggie Turnbull

    02/28/2013 at 10:19 am

    What about Straight Talk? My boyfriend just switched to that and it seems to beat all these plans — $45/month for unlimited talk/text and 2Gb of data. Of course, he needed to have his own phone (which he simply unlocked after his AT&T contract expired), but even considering the full cost of a NEW phone up front, it must be cheaper than any of these plans AND it apparently takes advantage of multiple networks for better coverage (as long as you have the GSM phone, not Verizon’s iphone). The total cost of the service for Straight Talk would be ~$1080 for two years, plus the cost of the phone if you don’t already have one.

    • Ariane

      03/08/2013 at 5:15 pm

      This is amazing! I am all for no contract, no chains, no links, and no exploitation and hidden fees by these moguls corp asses. I love apple products because of their easy to use, fast, and virtually viral-protection. But to be chained to some huge corporate greed ass I will not. Done that in Canada, and I had to pay 400 to get out of a contract to come back to US – clearly a case of legal robbery.

      No contracts is the way to go, and perhaps if we all go that route these corporate moguls learn a lesson that corporate greed/robbery does not pay.

      • MIke

        04/04/2013 at 10:06 am

        LOL You just speaking my mind!!! I like that and i am sure people going prepaid are increasing.

        • Maggie Turnbull

          04/04/2013 at 1:12 pm

          Well, Mike and Ariane, the update here is that his service with ST has turned out to be rather sketchy. We’re supposedly both using the AT&T network, but now that he’s moved his phone to Straight Talk he is missing a lot of texts and doesn’t seem to have as good of coverage anymore. (I know he’s not just making that up, haha.) It’s a real pain and ST doesn’t have any customer service to speak of. Sometimes I think you do get what you pay for, sadly. For him it’s not a big deal, because he doesn’t use the phone for work — but I absolutely cannot risk having an unreliable service just for the sake of saving a few bucks. I would not make the switch unless the service really improves.

  22. Sarah Lue

    05/11/2013 at 8:23 pm

    Do NOT use Straight Talk. I used them for nearly 2 years then when I went to buy the new iPhone 5 from them they ended up charging me 4 times for 1 phone. i spent nearly 2 hours on the phone with “customer service” who basically told me they couldn’t do anything about it. The price is worth it, my service was amazing. But if you ever run into a problem with a phone or have to contact “customer service”, you can pretty much kiss your phone goodbye. In my opinion, Straight Talk is NOT worth the hassle. i would much rather use a company that has a store I can go into and speak to someone who speaks English and can actually help me with a problem.

    • Maggie Turnbull

      05/12/2013 at 9:35 am

      I’ve now encountered a few more people who have switched to Straight Talk, and I really have to agree with what Sarah Lue says. If you are the kind of penny pinching person who is happy to spend your time struggling with basic the functionality of your phone, and you don’t care whether the people in your life can reliably communicate with you by text or voice, then by all means go with Straight Talk and save yourself that $40/month over the other plans. But you’ll spend far more than that on therapy!!!!!!

      • Jenny

        08/18/2013 at 1:35 pm

        I’ve never had any problem with strait talk I’ve had them since they started my whole family n friends love them too

    • Jenny

      08/18/2013 at 1:33 pm

      How could they charge u three times when u can buy the phone out right there’s no contract

  23. Peter Stevens

    09/22/2013 at 5:52 am

    None of these deals are all that cheap. I’d say Virgin Wireless $40 tax included for 1200 minute, unlimited text, unlimited data (with autopay; $45 without) or MetroPCS $40 unlimited everything. Both plans are cheaper than anything listed here.

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