Smartphones and Data Plans have become analogous to bread and butter and in the US, it is important to have data wherever you go. Though you have public Wi-Fi, you are always susceptible to cyber-attacks, which is why you can go for data plans. Now, there are four major wireless carriers in the US. They offer unlimited data plans for all the smartphones sold in the US. They offer unlimited data plans that have different tiers.
The major wireless carriers here are T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. You have these carriers now but which one of them has the best and cheapest unlimited data plan? Before we go about how we chose the best individual plans, let us see how we picked the best individual cell-phone plans:
How we picked the best individual cellphone plans?
They have been divided into categories of unlimited data and tiered plans for individuals. If you are wondering if there are many tiered plans, then no, there aren’t many-tiered plans left but you can take a look at the individual plans. They have been picked based on how the network performs, then the results of the 4G networking tests. Even the prices were considered and we added the monthly access fees too. There are a few carriers who do charge those access fees in the total cost of the plan you select.
What is the estimated amount you could pay for the unlimited data plan for one person?
After the consideration of all the factors, for the unlimited data plan, you may be paying from $60 to $95 per month depending on the carrier you want to pay. There are a few limited tiered options that start from $40 to $60, but they are very limited. In today’s time, these wireless carriers are slowly shifting to the faster 5G technology so they may start having plans for that. Compatibility is another factor that needs to be addressed before going for a plan even from top carriers. Major carriers like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile might give you the 5G coverage but you need to get phones that are compatible with those.
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Best Unlimited Plans for Individuals
1. T-Mobile- Best Unlimited Plan Made
T- Mobile offers the best, unlimited plans for everyone. You have different unlimited plans for everyone out there, based on the price. You have the Magenta unlimited plan which is for $70 per month. Then, there is an Essentials Plan for $60, and then, you have the Magenta Plus for $80 a month. Let us talk about each of the unlimited data plans that T-Mobile has to offer.
First, there is the Magenta plan which is the best choice for you if you like to use limitless data every month. The plan was previously named the One Plan but for a few years, it has been called Magenta. You cannot stream HD videos with this plan but for many, streaming a video at 480P is not a bad idea on a smartphone so you can have this plan.
If you go to the Essentials plan, this is the basic and cheapest unlimited data plan T-Mobile offers. It is $10 less than the Magenta plan and all the travel perks like free texting and in-flight Wi-Fi is not available in this plan. Also, your data can get slow if the network is congested. Unless you want to save the $10, we prefer that you take the Magenta Plan.
Now, the Magenta Plus has all the Magenta Plan offers plus some extra features. It has unlimited talk, text, and data aboard. You also get the 20GB mobile hotspot allowance, Netflix subscription, talk and text in neighboring countries like Mexico and Canada. There is unlimited Wi-Fi on flights and also get free unlimited international data in over 210 countries worldwide. Your data speeds aren’t slowed down unless you have used up your 50 GB threshold.
2. Alternative Unlimited Plans: Verizon
There are different plans that Verizon offers too. Two plans have the same cost and compared previously, they do charge a little less for unlimited data.
There is Do More Plan that is for $80 a month and it lets you use 50 GB of your LTE Data per month. You have other perks too like the 15 GB of very high-speed hotspot data and also 500 GB of free cloud storage. With Verizon, you get six months of Apple Music. This plan is chosen by all because Verizon has the best coverage in the country. Their network is strong and they can get you great network service anywhere in the US. You can also get unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada. You even have the 50 GB deprioritization threshold. This means that Verizon won’t slow down your data speed unless you exhaust your 50 GB data in the month.
If you like to stream videos of high quality, (we are talking HD and Ultra HD), then you can choose the Play More Data Plan. In this plan, you get the Apple Music subscription and along with it, you can get to stream the videos in HD instead of 480p. Verizon can slow the speed of your data if you use more than 25 GB of data per month and this happens in the Play More Plan.
The cheapest unlimited data plan that Verizon offers is the $70 per month Start Unlimited Plan. In this plan, Verizon can slow your data speeds whenever their network is congested. There are no extra perks in this plan.
At $90 a month, you have Verizon’s most expensive plan which is Get More Unlimited Plan. You can get to enjoy 75 GB of data, free Apple Music, HD video streaming, 30 GB LTE hotspot data.
Verizon Tiered Data Plan comes at $55, and it is the 5GB plan. This is for those customers who don’t need unlimited data. This plan is available if you have just one phone on Verizon’s network. This is the only option you can get if you don’t want the unlimited data plan.
Read more from Verizon:
- Verizon Wireless Internet Plans for Home
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2. Best Unlimited Data Plan: AT&T
Now that we had a look at T-Mobile and Verizon, let us have a look at the unlimited data plans that AT&T has to offer. Now, there are three different plans in AT&T that are unlimited data plans. There is the $75 a month Unlimited Extra Plan that includes 15 GB high-speed hotspot data. They too have the 50GB deprioritization, where they won’t slow down your network until you exhaust the data.
There is an Unlimited Starter Plan which comes for $65 per month but there is no hotspot data and AT&T has the right to slow down your data whenever the network gets congested with too many users. If you are looking for a plan that is well within budget and not concerned with major speed fluctuations, you can opt for this starter pack.
Then, you have the third plan which is the AT&T Unlimited Elite Plan, where it is for $85 per month. You get to stream the videos in HD resolution, HBO subscription, double the hotspot data to 30GB, and it will slow down the speed of your data if you have used more than 100 GB data in a month. This is the most expensive one and the most elite one too.
You have different thresholds for different carriers, and for AT&T, it will slow down the data speeds when you have reached your 50 GB data for the Unlimited Extra plan, 100 GB data for the Unlimited Elite, and Unlimited Starter at any time.
The best alternative data plan that has tiered data in AT&T is the $60 plan that offers 9 GB. It is for those who would want to use the data but not pay for the unlimited plan.
AT&T also has other plans like the Mobile Share plus plans where you get 3 GB data for $50 a month.
The best part of taking AT&T plans is that you have the chance to roll over or shift all the unused data to the next month. There is attractive pricing for the prepaid plans of AT&T but the data plans remain the same.
Read more from AT&T:
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- AT&T Internet and Phone Deals for Existing Customers
3. Best Unlimited Plan: Sprint
Sprint is the best when it comes to Hotspot data. If you want to use your phone’s data to connect to your devices like your laptop or PC to the internet, then you make use of the hotspot. If you tend to do this a lot, then the best-unlimited data plan you can select is the Sprint Unlimited Premium plan.
When you think of taking this plan, you are buying the internet plan too where the unlimited premium plan offers 100 GB (yes, it is 100 GB really) of mobile hotspot data. This is high-speed hotspot data and you also have free Hulu subscription if you take this plan. Apart from that, you also get a major 50 GB data de-prioritization limit and you can use this data till the end of the month.
Sprint also has the Unlimited Basic Plan at $60 per month, the Unlimited Plus is at $70 per month and the Unlimited Premium plan is at $80 per month. Unlimited Plus has the best balance when it comes to the pricing and the perks it has to offer. You get to stream your videos in full HD, then also have Tidal and Hulu streaming subscriptions. Then, there is 15 GB of LTE hotspot data, 10 GB of data whenever you travel to Mexico and Canada.
The basic Unlimited Plan can let you watch a video in 480 p only and it offers only Hulu. The LTE hotspot you get is also 500 MB and the data you have in Mexico and Canada is also 5GB. Hence, if you want a good plan, then opt for the Unlimited Premium or Plus plan. You can get Amazon Prime membership if you are up for Unlimited Premium.
How You Can Buy These Unlimited Data Plans?
There was a time when there were no unlimited data plans that were being offered by any major carriers but now these unlimited data plans have come a long way. There are major carriers, and there are smaller ones that offer them now. So, you have two different ways where you can buy these unlimited data plans: postpaid and prepaid.
1. Postpaid plans
Postpaid plans are those which have a recurring monthly cycle, and you have to pay a monthly bill to match. If you are someone who uses a lot of data and you may not want to do any kind of math about how much you spend per day, then you can take the postpaid plans. There are carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint that offer these postpaid plans. You pay for the data usage at the end of the month. When you take the postpaid data plans, you get additional perks such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime subscriptions which are the additional entertainment packs.
2. Prepaid Plans
There is the MVNO market that has all the offers in prepaid. To get these plans, you have to pay the price upfront to use unlimited data. They do allow you to bypass the credit check. The prepaid plans are great if you take them from MetroPCS, Cricket, Twigby, US Mobile, etc. You can always get a nice deal with these mobile carriers instead of the major 4 and we would suggest you take a look at the plans they offer too. You may never know how good the deals are at a lesser price.
Why Unlimited Data Isn’t Really Unlimited?
So, when we talk about unlimited data, we mean that data that is used for browsing, streaming, gaming, etc. The amount of data we are consuming, is not a luxury anymore, in fact, it is a necessity. Now, not many unlimited plans are out there that are being offered even from top carriers. There are data de-prioritization thresholds and this can lead to slow data once you consume all of it.
What happens is that when you take a basic plan, and there is some network congestion, then your data is slowed down so that the premium plans enjoy fast and hassle-free data. There are different de-prioritization thresholds for different carrier plans. It all depends and weighs on how the unlimited data plans of different carriers are.
Which unlimited data plan should I choose?
Now that you have the complete knowledge about the different unlimited data plans offered by the major carriers, you have to make a choice yourself. There are different data plans for different uses and first try to figure out for what reason do you use the data the most.
If it is for hotspots, then you can use Sprint’s unlimited bands. They are very much in the budget and they have unlimited data coverage plans. Then you can choose Verizon if you want good coverage and is reliable across the US. If you want high data allotment, transparent pricing, free international coverage, in-flight Wi-Fi, then you can have T-Mobile plans.
FAQs of Unlimited Data Plans
Q. Is unlimited data unlimited?
No, the unlimited data plan is not perfectly unlimited. Because, every carrier has this data deprioritization where once you exhaust a set amount of data, then the carriers have the right to slow down the data. If you are in a basic unlimited data plan, then your data can be slowed down anytime.
Q. Who has the best, unlimited data plan?
The best, unlimited data plan in terms of coverage is Verizon but overall, it is T-Mobile’s Magenta Plan. It offers great perks for $70 per month.
Q. Who has the cheapest unlimited data plan?
The cheapest unlimited data plan is Sprint’s unlimited data plan. The Unlimited Basic plan is at $60 and it is one of the good options for unlimited data plans for your smartphones.
Q. Does Verizon throttle unlimited data plan?
Yes, just like any other carrier, Verizon also throttles the unlimited data plan. They have their data deprioritization thresholds at 22 GB per month and the Sprint and others have till 50GB for a few unlimited plans.
Hence now that we have to come to the end of the article, we would like to sum up. You can for the T-Mobile plan if you want a great unlimited data plan, or take the AT&T plan for great service. They are saying that the T-Mobile and Sprint are merging but as of now there is no change in their plans or pricing structure.
They may launch the cheapest unlimited data plans ever, but there is no official confirmation as of yet. We know there aren’t many cheap plans but the best ones are out there. There are 3 to 4 different unlimited data plans to choose that are offered by each carrier and ultimately, choose the ones that make you enthralled. There are 4 plans with Verizon, AT&T has three and a few unlimited tiered data too.