The best unlimited data plan should give you all the calling, texting, and data, with top contenders like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all offering something different in 2019. Consistent unlimited 4G LTE speeds are the goal, without ever being throttled down to 2G speeds. Little details like that can make it truly difficult to find the best unlimited data plans, but we’ve got you covered.
We’ve spent hours sifting through the data plans from carriers – big and small – to see what plans they offer. And, we’ve dug into all the fine print, to the detriment of our vision, to see which data plans are going to cut you off, which might slow you down, and which will give you proper access to unlimited data. Even then, there’s a lot of variation in what you get, with some data plans restricting use of Wi-Fi hotspot or limiting video resolution to DVD quality.
So, if you’re looking for a true unlimited data plan, we’ve got the best options picked out here. You won’t find any plans here that turn off your 4G LTE speeds after a certain level of usage. We’ve only included carriers that reduce the speeds available to you to address network congestion. Everything else fails to fit our definition of the word “unlimited”.
We’ve also focused simply on the base tier of unlimited data plans for individual customers: no family plans making it seem like a carrier has a good deal, when in fact you need three more people to sign up with you; just the lowest cost plan that offers unlimited data, talk, and text. This means deals on phones and the value of extra perks like free Netflix or HBO aren’t factored into the rankings.
Now that we’ve cleared up how we picked, let’s get straight to the rankings.
Best value unlimited plans:
Best deal: Metro by T-Mobile unlimited plan for $50 (runs on T-Mobile network)
Metro offers the best value unlimited plan on the market right now. For mobile phone users that want to pay as little as possible while getting as much data as possible, Metro is the right carrier.
Metro runs on T-Mobile’s powerful network (though sometimes spotty in rural areas, in our experience). And it’s unlimited plan costs $50 with all taxes and fees included in that price. Users can stream DVD-quality video and use as much data as they want. They can also call and text to their hearts’ content. Metro even offers 5GB of high-speed hotspot data.
There are some limitations to the plan. Users who exceed 35GB of data use in a month can see their speeds throttled during times of network congestion. Still, the plan remains highly competitive, with a soft data cap much higher than a lot of its similarly priced and even more expensive competitors.
Alternative pick: Visible (runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network)
Boost Mobile's Unlimited Gigs plan used to hold this spot for its extra hotspot data at the same price as Metro, but we've found the plan from a new carrier called Visible to be a better option for budget-minded shoppers.
Visible offers a value-focused plan with unlimited texting, calling, and data on Verizon's LTE network. The plan has a great price at $40, and that's inclusive of all taxes, fees, and other charges. Your bills will be straight forward.
Visible has no point at which it will begin to throttle data speeds, however the company does keep a cap on speeds at all times. Users will be kept at a max of 5Mbps, which isn't crazy fast, but is enough for almost all mobile needs. Visible makes up for that limit by allowing unlimited video streaming and unlimited mobile hotspot on these plans.
While some carriers limit the speeds of certain activities, like online gaming or music streaming, Visible just caps everything at 5Mbps. At the price, the only competition we could find was Teltik, which is only available to businesses and self-employed customers. And, there's currently a promotion that entirely removes the 5Mbps speed cap for new customers, and it lasts as long as they remain customers.
Other contenders in this category:
- Walmart Family Mobile (very close to Metro)
- Boost Mobile (Same cap and price as Metro, with extra hotspot data but more limited BYOD potential)
- Teltik (best option for business users)
- Simple Mobile
- Virgin Mobile (high value for iPhone buyers)
- Cricket Wireless
- Straight Talk
- Page Plus Cellular
- Ultra Mobile (Excellent value but lacking clarity)
Top of the Big 4:
3. Best offer: T-Mobile Magenta plan for $70
At first glance, the T-Mobile Magenta plan doesn’t look like it’s the best deal, but we factored everything in, and it added up. One big point in T-Mobile’s favor is that the $70 monthly fee is exact: all taxes and fees are already included. Sprint's plan appears cheaper at first, but its plan has variables (taxes and fees) that keep us from recommending it over T-Mobile.
T-Mobile has the highest soft data cap of all four major carriers, tying with Sprint. It won’t begin deprioritizing T-Mobile Magenta customer data speeds until after they’ve used 50GB. That means customers who truly plan to get their money’s worth of unlimited data will get more mileage from T-Mobile. One constraint is that video streaming is limited to DVD quality.
There are extra perks as well. Tethering is allowed at up to 3G speeds. Customers can use their phone while traveling in Canada and Mexico with unlimited talk and text and 5GB of 4G LTE data, along with some usability in more than 140 other countries. Plus, T-Mobile throws in a free Netflix subscription that didn’t even factor into our consideration (because it requires two lines, so individuals can't get it).
Better still, for customers that don't need international features, the T-Mobile Simply Prepaid Unlimited plan is much the same as the Magenta Plan, but costs just $50 plus taxes and fees.
4. Alternative pick: Sprint Unlimited Basic plan for $60
Of the big four carriers, Sprint offers the lowest base price for its unlimited data plan. We do have some gripes with it, though. Sprint discontinued the Unlimited Freedom plan and introduced a new tiered plan system. The Unlimited Basic plan is the cheapest at $60, but has additional taxes and fees.
While the price is the same as the old Unlimited Freedom plan, Sprint has reduced the mobile hotspot data from 10GB down to 500MB. It also only allows 480p video streaming, whereas before it offered HD video. There has been an upgrade to its data allotment though, as now customers can use 50GB of high-speed data before data deprioritization during network congestion.
Sprint also throws in a free subscription to Hulu, and allows for some services abroad, including free texting and basic data in over 200 countries and full service with 5GB of LTE data in Mexico and Canada.
Base plan: Verizon Start Unlimited plan for $70
Verizon's base unlimited data plan is a bit more expensive than the competition as the $70 starting price for individual plans doesn't factor in taxes and fees. But, with that price comes uncapped data, calls, and texts, and 4G network coverage that consistently ranks higher than all of the other major carriers.
Verizon's Start Unlimited plan offers DVD-quality streaming, but no mobile hotspot. Customers can also use their service for data, calls, and texts in Canada and Mexico.
Though this is a true unlimited data plan, customers may experience reduced data speeds when the network is congested. And, that's regardless of how much data they've used in a month.
With a price higher than it's competitors, we don't like that the plan has so many limitations.
Base plan: AT&T Unlimited Starter plan for $70
AT&T's base unlimited data plan starts at $70 for a single line, but AT&T's pricing structure is painfully confusing. It also has an access charge, but applies a discount for paperless billing and auto-pay as well as another random discount. Taxes and fees are an additional price. But, the cost gets you onto AT&T's network, which ranks highly in the US and works with many of the best unlocked phones.
That AT&T Unlimited Starter plan doesn't allow Wi-Fi Hotspot usage, limits streaming to DVD quality, and can see reduced data speeds during times of network congestion. But, customers do get unlimited texting to over 120 countries, and free roaming in Canada and Mexico.
AT&T does have a value option in the Prepaid Unlimited plan, which currently starts at $45 (down from its usual $55 price) a month with AutoPay. It's comparable to the Unlimited Starter plan while coming in at a lower price.