U.S. Cellular Phone Bill: What You Should be Paying

Are you pay too much for your U.S. Cellular phone service? We can help.

U.S. Cellular is the fourth largest wireless carrier in America with almost 5 million customers across 23 states. But is the average cell phone cost per month worth it? Is there network quality really worth it?

Network quality 

In terms of network quality, US Cellular is very popular in a few key areas of America such as Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma, as well as sections along the east coast such as North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Northeastern areas of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. However, they have very limited 5G coverage at this time with only a few spots in Iowa and Wisconsin while the rest of their coverage is 3G or LTE.

Below is a map of their current coverage:

Map of US Cellular Network Coverage

Map of US Cellular Network Coverage from RootMetrics.

One thing of note is called the payback. This is a special offering by U.S. Cellular which pays you back if you stay under 3 gigabytes of data for their top two plans. You get between $5 and $10 back for each month you use this limited data. 

U.S. Cellular Cell Phone Plans

Unlimited plans

U.S. Cellular has 3 different plans referred to as Basic, Everyday, and Even Better.

Basic Plan

Everyday Plan

Even Better Plan

Cost

$55 per line, per month

$65 per line, per month

$75 per line, per month

Unlimited talk, text, and streaming

Yes

Yes

Yes

Video streaming quality

480 SD

720p HD

1080p Full HD

Mexico and Canada roaming

No

500 MB data, 100 minutes, 100 texts

1GB data, 200 minutes, 200 texts

Payback

No

$5 if you use less than 3GB

$10 if you use less than 3GB

Hotspot access

No

15 GB

30 GB

Priority Data

No

25 GB

50 GB

Redbox Movie Night subscription

No

1 free rental per month, per line

2 free rentals per month, per line

Each of these prices advertised by the company reflect those who sign up for auto-pay and paperless billing. You have to link a debit card or bank account in order to qualify for this. Should you fail to do so or choose not to, each of these plans go up $5 per month, per line.

One of the issues customers have is that the unlimited everyday plan does include 25 gigabytes of prioritized data but whenever there are times of congestion, the company will temporarily slow the data. And once you reach your data caps, they will slow it even more. There are also taxes and other charges that apply to your Unlimited Plan cost that are not listed here, the amount of which is based on where you live.

Family and Sharing plans

U.S. Cellular allows up to 4 phone lines per plan with no additional line access fee. The Unlimited Family Plan cost is based on the data and number of lines.

2 phone lines:

Basic Plan

Everyday Plan

Even Better Plan

Cost

$52.20 per line, per month

$62.50 per line, per month

$72.50 per line, per month

Unlimited talk, text, and streaming

Yes

Yes

Yes

Video streaming quality

480 SD

720p HD

1080p Full HD

Mexico and Canada roaming

No

500 MB data, 100 minutes, 100 texts

1GB data, 200 minutes, 200 texts

Payback

No

$5 if you use less than 3GB

$10 if you use less than 3GB

Hotspot access

No

15 GB

30 GB

Priority Data

No

25 GB

50 GB

Redbox Movie Night subscription

No

1 free rental per month, per line

2 free rentals per month, per line

3 phone lines:

Basic Plan

Everyday Plan

Even Better Plan

Cost

$38.33 per line, per month

$48.33 per line, per month

$58.33 per line, per month

Unlimited talk, text, and streaming

Yes

Yes

Yes

Video streaming quality

480 SD

720p HD

1080p Full HD

Mexico and Canada roaming

No

500 MB data, 100 minutes, 100 texts

1GB data, 200 minutes, 200 texts

Payback

No

$5 if you use less than 3GB

$10 if you use less than 3GB

Hotspot access

No

15 GB

30 GB

Priority Data

No

25 GB

50 GB

Redbox Movie Night subscription

No

1 free rental per month, per line

2 free rentals per month, per line

4 phone lines:

Basic Plan

Everyday Plan

Even Better Plan

Cost

$30 per line, per month

$40 per line, per month

$50 per line, per month

Unlimited talk, text, and streaming

Yes

Yes

Yes

Video streaming quality

480 SD

720p HD

1080p Full HD

Mexico and Canada roaming

No

500 MB data, 100 minutes, 100 texts

1GB data, 200 minutes, 200 texts

Payback

No

$5 if you use less than 3GB

$10 if you use less than 3GB

Hotspot access

No

15 GB

30 GB

Priority Data

No

25 GB

50 GB

Redbox Movie Night subscription

No

1 free rental per month, per line

2 free rentals per month, per line

Prepaid plans

In terms of prepaid plans, there are three different plans and you can add between one and five lines to each plan. You save $10 on each line if you add more than one. But just like any other plan, it is subject to significant throttling when there’s heavy congestion on the network, and they might prioritize contract customers over prepaid customers.

  • The first plan is the eight gigabytes of high-speed data. This includes SD streaming, unlimited talk and text, and costs $40 per month.
  • The second plan is unlimited high-speed data with SD streaming, unlimited talk and text at $55 per month.
  • The third prepaid plan has better features than most prepaid plans, with unlimited plus high-speed data, SD streaming, 1.5 Mbps hotspot access, unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada, and 22 gigabytes of priority data alongside one Redbox movie rental per month. It is important to note here that even though you are paying for unlimited data, you only get priority in terms of speed for the first 22 gigabytes per month after which point they will throttle your speed.

Other plans

Specialty Plans

They do have what are called Lifeline calling plans, a type of specialty calling plan available two qualifying low-income individuals and only applies in certain States. This is a federal government benefit program so applicants have to call 1-800-447-1339 to get more details and submit an application.

Travel Plans

There are international travel plans available in the form of daily travel passes and monthly travel passes.

  • For daily travel passes you can choose Canada or Mexico which includes 20 texts, 20 minutes of voice, and 100 megabytes of data for $5 per day.
  • You can also choose Zone 1 or Zone 2 which includes the same text, voice, and data at $10 per day.
  • For monthly travel passes, you can choose Canada, Mexico, or Europe specific, alongside the other countries included in Zone 1 or Zone 2. 

5G

Will 5G cost more? If you have a 5G compatible device and you live in one of the few areas that has it, there is technically a fee unless you open up a new line and have a smartphone postpaid plan alongside credit approval. The actual amount for those who don’t qualify for this is based on the specific phone. For example, access to 5G with the Google pixel 5 is regularly $23.30 per month while the Apple iPhone 12 is an additional $27.63 per month.

How U.S. Cellular’s Unlimited Plan Compares

Compared to big companies like Verizon, U.S. cellular has good prepaid options, unlimited plans, and family plans, and they don’t have a lot of hidden fees or taxes like Verizon Wireless. In terms of price, the unlimited plans for U.S. Cellular start at $55 whereas comparable plans with companies like Verizon start at $80. However, when you compare the fact that they don’t have a lot of perks like HBO or Disney plus subscriptions, and they throttle your speeds once you reach your data limit, the phone bill cost per month may not be as favorable compared to bigger companies.

The cost for multiple phone lines becomes more attractive the more lines you add. For example, if you add 4 phone lines even at the most expensive, Even Better Plan, you are paying $50 per line, per month compared to the $75 you would be paying for an individual plan with just one line.

Network coverage is a big deciding factor. U.S. Cellular, for example, has very thorough network coverage across approximately 10% of the United States while big companies like AT&T have coverage across at 68%. 





Best of the Best. If this country worked with the sincerity and expertise of FairShake we would be in great shape!

Stocksy_txpd2fb379aCMc200_Medium_1013152 Allie, real FairShake customer

They got more done in a few weeks than I did in over two years.

jonas-kakaroto-KIPqvvTOC1s-unsplash John, real FairShake customer

I can’t say enough good about this company! They are really a light for us in a very hard time.

Mark Mark, real FairShake customer

Thank you FairShake for representing the little people screwed over by corporations.

Stocksy_txpd2fb379aCMc200_Medium_1016567 Amanda, real FairShake customer

I was having problems with the company for months. That you could make it resolved in a few days is wonderful.

eye-for-ebony-nOHn3pIyPaw-unsplash Marisol, real FairShake customer

It's not right what Big Business can get away with if we let them. People need to know someone is out there to help!

Stocksy_txpd2fb379aCMc200_Medium_670432 Virgil, real FairShake customer

FairShake Helps put the power and money back in your hands

Take Action