In the current mobile phone industry, finding the right phone and provider is just step one — then you need to the best phone plan to suit your needs. That can be a challenge. Let’s take a look at the best cell phone plans currently available in the U.S.
- Find the best U.S. carrier for you (customized search)
- Which of the ‘Big Four’ wireless carriers is right for you? (guide)
Wireless carriers offer new cell phone plans, and get rid of older ones, on a regular basis. We’ll update this article as carriers make those changes, and offer what we think are the newest and best cell phone plans.
Plan: Above Unlimited
Price: $95 a month for a single line | Features: no speed congestion penalty up to 75GB
Verizon’s Above Unlimited is one of the best cell phone plans around, beginning at $95 a month for a single line, with discounts when you add up to three additional lines. There’s no speed congestion penalty when you use this plan until you exceed 75 GB for each monthly cycle. After that, your speed might get throttled. Most customers won’t reach that limit anyway.
The Above Unlimited plan offers video streaming up to 720p resolution. It also offers 20GB of 4G LTE speed mobile hotspot use on each line, but those speeds will go down to 600kbps if you exceed the cap before the end of the month. The Above Unlimited plan offers customers unlimited calls and texts from the US to numbers in Mexico and Canada. If you are vacationing in Mexico and Canada and are under Verizon’s plan, you also get access to 512MB of free 4G LTE data roaming in those countries per day. Once you exceed that cap, your data goes down to 2G speeds.
Finally, Verizon’s Above Unlimited offers five Travel Passes per month. Each daily Travel Pass allows travelers going to 130 countries to take their domestic talk, text, and data allowances with them.
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Plan: Unlimited & More Premium
Price: $80 per month for one line | Features: Free live TV service
The nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, much like Verizon, didn’t offer a standalone unlimited data phone plan for a couple of years. After Big Red caved and launched its plan earlier this year, AT&T quickly followed with its own unlimited plans. Like Verizon, it has two unlimited plans to choose from.
In our selection of the best cell phone plans from AT&T, we would recommend getting the Unlimited & More Premium plan. It charges $80 a month under that plan for one line, $150 a month for two lines, and $30 a month for each additional line up to 10 lines. Again, there are no download speed limits on the AT&T Unlimited Plus Enhanced plan, but you still might get hit with slower speeds if you exceed 22GB of data before the monthly bill cycle ends.
Video streams go up to HD quality on AT&T Unlimited & More Premium, and you also get 15GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data per month. You still get unlimited texts from the U.S. to 120 countries, and unlimited calls and texts from U.S. to Canada and Mexico, plus unlimited roaming in Canada and Mexico. It also offers customers free access to AT&T WatchTV, an internet-based live TV service currently showing 31 cable television channels, with more coming in the future.
Subscribing to this plan also gets you a $15 monthly credit for either DirecTV Now, the DirecTV satellite service or AT&T’s U-Verse internet service. Finally, the Premium plan lets users pick one premium cable or streaming service they can watch for free. The choices include HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, VRV, Amazon Music, or Pandora.
Plan: One Plus Unlimited
Price: $80 a month for a single line | Features: Unlimited talk, texting and data while you are in U.S., Canada and Mexico
Of all the carriers on this list, T-Mobile perhaps generates the most hype and promotion for its sometimes disruptive attempts to beat out the Big Two (Verizon and AT&T) with better plans. Indeed, T-Mobile (Big Magenta?), along with Sprint, offered unlimited data plans to their new customers well before AT&T and Verizon launched their plans earlier this year.
Technically, all of the best cell phone plans from T-Mobile are “unlimited” plans — none of its plans have data caps — but we think one is best. The T-Mobile One Plus unlimited plan costs $80 a month for a single line, $60 a month each for two lines, $50 a month each for three lines,$47 a month each for four lines and $35 a month for each additional line.
It offers unlimited talk and text in the U.S., and unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico, as well as unlimited 4G LTE data, with throttling only engaged if you exceed 50GB of data per month. You also get video streaming up to HD resolutions, and you can get free unlimited Wi-Fi access on any Gogo-based flight. It offers mobile hotspot data at 4G LTE speeds for the first 10 GB on your billing cycle, before going back to 3G speeds.
Finally, T-Mobile offers free Netflix access for all unlimited plan customers. New and current subscribers to the popular movie and TV streaming service can get free access to its standard plan, which normally offers up to two current streams of video at HD resolution. It normally costs $10.99 a month.
Plan: Unlimited Premium
Price: $90 each month for one line | Features: unlimited data, talk and support for streaming video at up to 1080p resolution, free Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Sprint may not be merging with T-Mobile anytime soon, (that’s supposed to happen by the end of 2019), but the nation’s fourth-largest carrier is trying its best to keep up with the competition. Among its best cell phone plans, the Unlimited Premium plan is the one we would recommend — but it’s expensive. The plan costs $90 a month for the first line, though if you bring your own phone or buy a new phone at the full retail price from Sprint, you can pay $80 a month instead. While the plan offers “unlimited” 4G LTE data, your speeds might get throttled if you exceed 50GB of data before your monthly billing period ends.
This Sprint plan increases your video streaming to 1080p resolution, and you also get a whopping 50GB of LTE data for mobile hotspots. Music streaming goes up as well to 1.5 Mbps. The plan also offers unlimited talk, text, and 10GB of LTE data a month for people in the U.S. who travel to Mexico and Canada, along with text and data (likely not LTE data) for over 185 other countries.
This plan offers free access to no less than four online services. The biggest one is an Amazon Prime subscription, which normally costs 12.99 a month. You also get access to the Hulu video streaming service at $7.99 a month (the Limited Commercials tier), Sprint Unlimited Premium plan users can also access the Tidal Premium music streaming service, which usually costs $9.99 a month.
Finally, the plan comes with Lookout Premium Plus, a mobile security and identity theft service that normally costs $9.99 a month. All in all, that’s close to $41 in monthly online services provided for free with the Spring Unlimited Premium plan.