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iPhone 11, Pro, Max: These are the cheapest carriers for Apple's pricey new phones

Just because the phone itself is expensive doesn't mean service has to be. Check out these affordable options.

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You 'll splurge on the phone. Now find service that won't further break the bank.

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This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Preorders for Apple's three new iPhones -- the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max -- begin on Friday, but whenever you buy, you're going to have to pick a carrier to go with the device. With its starting price of $699, the new iPhone 11 is being called the best iPhone value in years. Of course, $699 is still a hefty sum, especially if you're buying it outright rather than paying it off monthly as part of a service agreement. And if you're opting for more storage or one of the iPhone 11 Pro models, starting at $999 and $1,099 respectively, the sum gets heftier still.

Then there's the matter of your wireless carrier. Once you've splurged on the phone, will you still be able to afford $50-to-$60 service fee per month, the price for a typical unlimited plan? Good news: You don't have to pay that much, and you don't have to get roped into a service agreement that lasts anywhere from 18 to 30 months. 

Below are the most affordable carriers and plans I could find for the budget-minded iPhone user. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the products and services featured on this page.

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Are you an Optimum or Suddenlink cable subscriber? You may be able to land one of the best deals out there: Unlimited service (on AT&T's or Sprint's network) for just $20 per month. If you're not a subscriber, the plan runs $30 per month -- still competitive, just not quite as attractive.

What's the catch? For now, Altice's mobile service is available only in about 20 states.

Taking a page from Mint Mobile, AT&T is offering a hefty discount on service if you're willing to prepay -- for an entire year. For one lump sum of $300, you get 12 months on the 8GB plan (which includes unlimited calls and texting and 8GB of high-speed data each month). Taxes and fees may run you a bit extra; it's not immediately clear from AT&T's terms and conditions.

One extra perk: The plan includes calling to and from Canada and Mexico.

Mint takes the notion of "prepaid" cell service to the next level: You get price breaks when you pay for three, six or 12 months in advance. So, for example, a payment of $75 would net you three months on the carrier's 3GB plan. 

The deals get better as you go up the tiers, however. Prepay $240, for example (which works out to $20 per month), and you get 12 months on the 8GB plan. Mint relies on T-Mobile's network.

If you don't like the idea of paying a big chunk of cash up front, US Mobile will give you up to $20.83 off whatever monthly plan you choose, for the first 12 months. The carrier offers a choice between customizable and unlimited plans for its GSM LTE and Super LTE networks (T-Mobile and Verizon, respectively).

Here's an example: 200 voice minutes and unlimited texting ($8), 5GB of high-speed data ($15) and 5Mbps data speed ($5). Total: $28. Price per month with the discount: Just $7.17 (not including taxes and fees).

There are other inexpensive options out there, but these rank among my favorites. If you've found a low-cost iPhone plan you like better, tell me about it in the comments!

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