Data is a precious commodity these days. The cost of using mobile web services can get high, and unlimited plans are scarce. Even if you have multiple options available, you must be smart about picking the right one. Factors such as pricing, signal and throttling caps tend to vary significantly.
In this article we will help you find the best unlimited data plans in the US. We’ve put together the best options we could find.
Verizon – $80/mo
After years of telling folks they don’t need unlimited data, just ahead of Valentine’s Day 2017 Big Red surprised us all by reintroducing unlimited data after an eight year hiatus. Dubbed Verizon Unlimited, the new service sets you back $80 (not including taxes or other fees), as long as you sign up for Auto Pay and paperless billing — otherwise, you’ll pay an extra five bucks. This includes line access but does not include phone repayments, should you take out the plan with a new device or still be in the process of paying off a previous one. You can also add connected devices for $20 extra per month, or $5 per month for a smartwatch.
For those interested in going multi-line, packages start at $100 (before fees/taxes), with an additional $20 per extra line. So with two devices, the bill would be $140, with three, $160, with four, $180, and so on. Without Auto Pay and paperless billing, you’ll have to add another $10 to the $100 base fee. As with the single line plan, this price excludes monthly repayments for smartphones connected on the line and includes the same rates for connected devices.
So what do you actually get with this ‘unlimited’ plan? Like with others, unlimited isn’t 100% without limits. You are guaranteed full LTE speeds only for the first 22 GB of data, with reduced data speeds and de-prioritization thereafter. Also, 4G LTE data in Canada and Mexico applies to the first 500 MB per day only, after which it drops to 2G. For those tethering, you also only get 10GB of tethered internet per month at 4G LTE speeds, otherwise it drops to 3G.
While not a perfect plan, Verizon has exceptional coverage across the states, so for those that need that coverage — this is a pretty compelling option, despite costing more than most of the others here.
T-Mobile – $95/mo
The Uncarrier has made a name of itself thanks to its unorthodox practices. They are trying to shake up the market and bring more value to their customers in ways no other carrier has before. Among the many perks of going with T-Mobile is unlimited data.
T-Mobile’s highest-end personal unlimited plan costs $95 for a single line. You also get free 2G roaming and texting in over 140 countries (listed here), unlimited calls in the USA/Mexico/Canada and discounted calls to other markets. Unlimited plan subscribers are entitled to 14GB of dedicated hotspot data added to their bucket. This isn’t the cheapest single line option out there, but we think it’s one of the best because of the amount of included hotspot data.
The term “unlimited” can be a bit tricky in this industry, though. T-Mobile notes that service may be slowed or restricted in order to provide better network coverage to other users after a certain point. What does that mean? In T-Mo’s case, customers who use more than 26GB of data in a single billing cycle will have their data usage “de-prioritized” compared to other users for that billing cycle. Basically, if T-Mobile’s network gets too congested in a particular area and you’ve gone over 26GB of data, you might be temporarily dropped down to a slower data speed.
Not everyone needs unlimited 4G speeds, right? We happen to like this plan most, but T-Mobile also offers 2 GB, 6 GB and 10 GB options at lower prices. By the way, T-Mobile also has Data Stash, which allows you to keep each month’s unused 4G LTE data (up to 20 GB). Other Uncarrier offers include unlimited streaming of music and video (when using certain services) and more.
Sprint – $75/mo
Sprint has gotten a lot of criticism due to its network, but there are plenty of markets with good coverage and awesome data speeds. If you happen to live in one of them, you could save some cash and go with the Now Network.
Sprint’s unlimited data plan is the cheapest out of the postpaid options on this list. Subscribers are promised unlimited calls, text messages and data. Just like with T-Mobile, though, you’ll be “de-prioritized” after you reach a certain point. Sprint’s de-prioritization method starts when you use 23GB of data, which is 3 less than T-Mobile’s limit.
This is no Uncarrier, but you will get plenty of cool bonuses for signing up with Sprint. These include 3 GB of hotspot data, unlimited texting/2G data in a select markets outside of the USA and special call roaming discounts. You will also enjoy free calls/texts/2G data when in Mexico or Canada, as well as 1 GB of high-speed data when in said countries.
Another good option is the 40 GB per month plan, which also includes a whole year subscription for Amazon Prime.
AT&T – $100/mo
This is the priciest option in the list.
AT&T provides an unlimited data package, but only for DIRECTV or U-verse subscribers. It’ll cost you $100 per month and comes with unlimited talk, text and data usage in the US, Canada and Mexico with no roaming fees. AT&T will also de-prioritize users after they reach 22GB of usage in a billing cycle.
If you’re only looking for service for your smartphone and aren’t also interested in signing up for any television packages, you should pass on this plan. However, if you’re already a DIRECTV or U-verse subscriber, this plan might be of interest to you.
Prepaid and MVNOs
Boost Mobile – $60/mo
The big carriers are known to be dependable, but there are plenty of good choices on the prepaid side of things… especially if you are looking to save some cash. Boost Mobile’s unlimited plan costs $60 per month, and you can reduce the monthly payment down to $55 if you opt for Auto Re-Boost (automatic card payments).
Subscribers get unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data, as well as 8 GB of hotspot data and unlimited music streaming with select partners. Much like the other plans, you’ll be de-prioritized after you use 23GB of 4G LTE data in a billing cycle. Just keep in mind Boost runs off Sprint’s network, so make sure you have good coverage in your area.
MetroPCS – $60/mo
MetroPCS has a decent unlimited plan, too.
MetroPCS charges $60 ($55 if you select a family plan) and offers unlimited high-speed data, talk and text, as well as unlimited music streaming with certain apps. You’ll also get 8GB of hotspot usage.
Customers who use more than 25GB in a billing cycle will have their data usage de-prioritized compared to other customers in that billing cycle when network congestion occurs.
You can also stream as much music as you’d like from Pandora, Spotify and a few other services without it counting against your monthly data allotment.
Cricket Wireless – $70/mo
Cricket is also a good option for folks looking for unlimited data.
Cricket’s unlimited plan costs $70 per month ($65 with Auto Pay), and comes with unlimited high-speed data and nationwide talk and text. It also comes with unlimited international texting, as well as unlimited calling and texting to and from Mexico, Canada and the US. There are no mobile hotspot capabilities with this plan though.
While Cricket doesn’t utilize any de-prioritization methods with a data cap, there are some things you should know before signing up. Cricket only allows customers to utilize download speeds of 8Mbps with compatible 4G LTE devices and 4Mbps with compatible 4G devices. This means that you’ll still get 4G LTE speeds on your mobile device, but they’ll be somewhat limited.
There you have it! Those are our very favorite unlimited data plans in the US. Are you signing up for any of these? Do you have any suggestions? Hit the comments to let us know.