How Much Is Unlimited Data? All The Big Carriers Compared…
Want unlimited data? Who doesn’t! But how much does unlimited data actually cost? And, more importantly, which carrier phone plans are the cheapest?
If you’re in the market for a new phone plan, you might as well go for an unlimited data plan. With plans, you’ll pay more if you don’t have a phone. But if you already have a phone, you can find loads of great unlimited data plans online.
And once you’ve had unlimited data and calls, you really will not want to go back to limits. I know because I did it a few years back and it sucked. I’d rather have more data than I need than be capped and run out.
This way, you’ll never have to worry about data again and, thanks to things like 5G, you can use your phone’s connection to run your tablet and laptop whilst traveling. Or just watch loads of videos in the highest possible definition. Either way, unlimited data plans are great.
But what are the best unlimited data plans right now? How much is unlimited data? Is it really unlimited? All these questions and more will be answered in detail below. Let’s do this…
Best Unlimited Data Plans
Benefits of Unlimited Data Plans
The main benefit of running an unlimited data plan is that, well… you never need to have to worry about running out of data. Want to watch an entire season on Netflix while traveling to and from work? No problem.
Need to tether your phone to your laptop, so you can work securely at coffee shops? No problem. With unlimited data, you get more than enough data allowance per month to do just this. And if you have 5G in your area or city, you’ll be getting speeds faster than your home broadband.
Most unlimited plans come with unlimited calls and texts too, so you’re free to make as many calls as you want for as long as you want. Not all numbers are free, however – you’ll still have to pay for certain numbers like toll numbers and business numbers in most cases.
With unlimited data plans, you also have different options depending on whether you’re bringing your own phone or getting one as part of the deal. If you need a phone and a data plan, your monthly big will be much larger – you’re effectively leasing a phone as well as your data and calls.
If you can bring your own phone, however, you’ll pay WAY LESS. This is why SIM-only plans are so good; if you already have a phone, getting unlimited data and calls is actually fairly cheap. The biggest cost with most plans and contracts is the phone itself. If you can remove that, you’ll save a packet.
MVNO or Carrier?
Another thing you’ll want to consider before committing to an unlimited plan is what type of carrier you get it from. Do you go with one of the big boys like Verizon or T-Mobile, or do you go with an MVNO network like Mint Mobile?
MVNO are smaller networks that piggyback off a larger network’s infrastructure. For this reason, MVNO carriers are often considerably cheaper than bigger networks like Verizon. For instance, an unlimited plan from Mint Mobile – which is powered by T-Mobile – costs just $30 a month.
If you have your own phone, or you plan on buying your next phone outright, going with an MVNO like Mint Mobile or Ting Mobile is a great idea because, generally speaking, you’ll pay a lot less for your data, calls, and texts. Again, Mint Mobile has some of the best deals on the market right now.
How Much Is Unlimited Data Verizon
As of right now, Verizon has three unlimited data plans: Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Above Unlimited. You’ll pay $75, $85, and $95 per month respectively for these plans. And that is pretty expensive.
If you add in more lines on a plan, however, the monthly price decreases. But if you just need one plan, you’re stuck with the prices listed above if you want unlimited calls and data.
Is It Fully Unlimited? No, Verizon can and will start throttling speeds once you’ve used over 50GB of data per month. At this point, your connection will be delisted in terms of priority, so, no, Verizon’s unlimited plan is not 100% unlimited.
How Much Is Unlimited Data AT&T
AT&T has three unlimited data plan options broken up into three distinct price points. The Unlimited Starter plan starts at $65, the Unlimited Extra plan is $75, and the Unlimited Elite plan costs $85 per month.
Each plan has different limits and restrictions. If you want the best speeds, however, you’ll want to go with the Unlimited Elite plan. They’re all pretty expensive, though, especially when compared to Mint Mobile’s $30 per month deal.
Is It Fully Unlimited? Again, no, T-Mobile will limit your internet speeds once you hit a certain amount of data each month. On Unlimited Elite, you get up to 100GB of priority data per month. After this, you can experience slower speeds. On Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Starter, your speed can be deprioritized at any time.
How Much Is Unlimited Data Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile, co-owned by Ryan Reynolds – yep, THAT Ryan Reynolds – is fast becoming our favorite US carrier. The reason for this is simple: it offers up one of the best unlimited data plans on the market for just $30 per month.
This price, just $30 a month for unlimited calls and data, is considerably cheaper than Verizon and T-Mobile’s plans. And not just by a bit, more than 50% in most cases. For this reason, Mint Mobile, which is powered by T-Mobile’s network, comes highly recommended.
Is It Fully Unlimited? Kinda. Like all the big players, once you hit a certain data threshold, 100GB in this context, your internet speeds will be slowed down. You’ll still be able to use data, but it just won’t be as fast.
How Much Is Unlimited Data T-Mobile
Because of the rise of Mint Mobile and the fact that Mint uses T-Mobile’s network, T-Mobile had to come to the table with something pretty compelling, otherwise, it’d lose all of its users to Mint.
This is why T-Mobile now offers an unlimited plan for $30 per month. Is it truly unlimited? Yes, but you may experience slower internet speeds once you have used more than 50GB per month when the network is congested.
Is It Fully Unlimited? No, once you hit 50GB of data usage per month or a congested tower, your internet speeds will be slowed down and this will persist until your next billing cycle.
Is Unlimited Data Actually Unlimited?
As you can see from the above breakdown, no carrier or MVNO in the US offers truly unlimited data. It doesn’t matter which carrier you go with, at some point you will experience data retardation once you exceed a certain threshold per month.
Is this a bad thing? Well, it’s not ideal. But to use 100GB of data per month, as is the case with Mint Mobile, you’d have to be watching videos and downloading content on your phone ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.
Or mining bitcoin or something…
And the reason for this is because the most data I have ever used in a month is about 60GB – and that was when I was using it to run my PC at home when I moved house.
The average monthly data use in the US is between 4GB per month and 10GB, so whatever plan you go with, most people will not experience any kind of throttling.
Ideally, throttling wouldn’t exist and you’d get fast internet speeds regardless of how much data you’ve used. But it would appear that all the carrier big wigs have gotten together to agree that data throttling is a good idea. They all do it, so you cannot escape it, sadly.
All you can do is pick a plan from a carrier or MVNO that serves up the best value for money.
Wrapping Up: Our Pick For Best Unlimited Data Plan
Given all of the above, you have quite a bit to mull over. If you’re all about reducing your monthly bills and you want unlimited data, then Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Plan is essentially unbeatable in 2021.
Powered by T-Mobile’s insanely good infrastructure, Mint Mobile makes data plans extremely simple by just doing a select few options: you have a very cheap one for people that don’t use much data, a middling one for 10GB of data per month, and an Unlimited Plan for $30 per month.
Don’t need unlimited data? Mint Mobile does 15GB a month for $25; that’ll be more than enough for most people too. Remember: nearly 90% of phone users in the US seldom use more than 10GB of data per month anyway, so why pay for more?
Verizon’s offers are expensive but as a network, it is very good with amazing coverage and some really awesome free bonuses for signing up like free Disney+ accounts and the like. But it is still going to cost you double what you’ll pay via Mint Mobile.
T-Mobile’s unlimited plan is arguably the best option, alongside Mint Mobile; it offers unlimited plans for $30 a month. And like Mint Mobile, this includes 5G connectivity at no extra cost.
AT&T’s unlimited plans are much the same as Verizon’s – they’re expensive but come with added benefits like free access to certain apps and services. Personally, I would still go with a cheaper alternative over these two networks.
So, who’s the best with respect to unlimited data? It’s either T-Mobile or Mint Mobile once we factor in pricing and coverage. I have been with Mint Mobile for 12 months now, I moved from Verizon, and I have loved it so far – the speeds are great and $30 a month is brilliant for unlimited 5G and 4G data.
Mint also has a great spread of plans for every type of user; it also does things in a way that is not confusing. You decide how much data you need or want and pick a plan. All the plans are cheap and offer free 5G and 4G connections.
And they start from as little as $15 per month (that’ll get you 4GB of data). My advice? Go with either the 15GB or Unlimited Plan. They offer the best bang for your buck.
Richard GoodwinRichard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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