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Verizon, T-Mobile, AT & T and Sprint compared unlimited plans



From August 10 T-Mobile will launch the new data plan Essentials unlimited . At $ 60 a month, it's basically a cheaper version of the T-Mobile One Plan, but skips the free Netflix and international data. T-Mobile Essentials is one of over a dozen unlimited plans offered by the four major US carriers to serve our data-hungry mobile phones. However, it can be tiring to keep track of the ever-changing unlimited plans, pricing, and features. That's why we're here.

For more than a year, the unrestricted data wars between AT & T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint have been tricky to say the least. Everyone is trying to outdo the others in terms of the price and how much data you actually get. On the one hand, unlimited data is like a bottomless cup of coffee in a restaurant: at some point you'll be cut off. On the other hand, many people do not need all of this data ̵

1; or coffee in fact.

For most people, these big data plans should be more than enough. But to understand what you actually get, we compared the unlimited plans of AT & T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon and all the fine print that came with them.

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Jumping on AT & T's cheaper unlimited plan? Not so fast …


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Editor's note : This article was originally published on February 13, 2017. Since then, AT & T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have announced several changes to their unlimited data plans. The following information reflects the prices and features of unlimited plans as of August 9, 2018.

Data Limits, Prioritization and Throttling

The unlimited plans of the big four carriers come with unlimited calls, text messaging and data – Oh, if only things were that easy. But there is a catch – if you reach a certain data limit, your 4G LTE data speeds may be slowed down temporarily or for the remainder of the billing cycle. Some network operators, such as Verizon, send their data requests to the back of the line. Learn how each carrier prioritizes and throttles when it exceeds its data limit:

Verizon: "We can choose to over-network your data to other Verizon customers."

T-Mobile: "On all T-Mobile plans During congestion, the small proportion of customers using more than 50 GB per month may experience reduced speeds until the next billing cycle due to prioritization."

AT & T: "On AT & T Unlimited & More Premium, after 22 GB data usage in one bill While AT & T Unlimited & More allows the customer to temporarily experience slower speeds on the line during periods of network congestion." [19659002] Sprint: "Customers using more than 50 GB of data during a billing cycle are" degrited "during times and locations where the sprint network is limited.

Cost of a single line

Obviously One of the reasons why there are no unlimited plans is to offer a lot of data at a reasonable price – reasonable enough to exceed excessive fees is what costs a single line of unlimited data on each carrier. Sprint's Unlimited Plus for $ 70 a month and T-Mobile One Plus for $ 80 a month are two of the best values ​​for hotspot data and 1080p HD video streaming – the higher price of the T-Mobile plan includes taxes, Fees and surcharges.

  Woman pays bills by phone

Not all unlimited data rates are the same.


Peter Cade / Getty Images

Some comments on these plans:

  • The plans for AT & T, Sprint, and Verizon do not include taxes, surcharges, or additional fees. These vary greatly depending on where you live.
  • All plans include an Autopay discount: $ 5 per month for Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon and $ 10 per month for AT & T.
  • T-Mobile Essentials, T-Mobile One, Sprint Unlimited Basic and Verizon gounlimited plans limit users to standard definition video and only 3G hotspot support.
  • AT & T's Unlimited & More plan restricts people to standard definition video with streaming speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps and does not include hotspot data.

Comparison of single-line unlimited data rates with Autopay discounts

Carrier Unlimited monthly data costs Data Limit Video streaming – up to hotspot allowance One-line data plan costs 2 years
Sprint Unlimited freedom $ 60 50 GB / month 480p SD 500 MB $ 1,440
T-Mobile Essentials $ 60 50 GB / month 480p SD 3G data speeds only $ 1,440
Sprint Unlimited Plus $ 70 50 GB / month 1080p HD 15GB $ 1,680
T-Mobile One $ 70 50 GB / month 480p SD 3G data speeds only $ 1,680
AT & T Unlimited & More $ 70 22 GB / month 480p SD No $ 1,680
Verizon "gounlimited" $ 75 No 480p SD 3G data speeds only $ 1,800
T-Mobile One Plus $ 80 50 GB / month 1080p HD 10 GB $ 1,920
AT & T Unlimited & More Premium $ 80 22 GB / month 1080p HD 15GB $ 1,920
Verizon "beyond the limit" $ 85 22 GB / month 720p HD 15GB $ 2,040
Verizon "upper limit" $ 95 75 GB / month 720p HD 20GB $ 2,280

Taxes, Fees and Charges

T-Mobile has abolished the taxes, fees and surcharges that phone plans usually have – somehow. The carrier simplified the pricing for its customers by folding these additional costs into the price of its plans. So a $ 60 per month plan on T-Mobile actually costs $ 60. If you finance your phone, of course, your bill also includes those costs.

AT & T, Sprint, and Verizon data plan rates do not include taxes, surcharges, or additional fees. Trying to estimate how much these costs will cost you is a patience study, as these extra costs vary quite a bit depending on where you live. To support this, each carrier has a website that will help you estimate how much these charges will be: AT & T, Sprint, and Verizon

Cost of Additional Lines

If you need additional lines with unlimited data, Each of the big four has a number of prizes. Below are the monthly prices for one, two, three and four bundles of lines.

Comparison of additional lines of unlimited data with autopay discounts applied

Carrier First line costs Cost of the second line Third line costs Fourth line costs Total cost per month for four lines
T-Mobile Essentials $ 60 $ 30 $ 15 $ 15 $ 120
Sprint Unlimited freedom $ 60 $ 40 $ 20 $ 20 $ 140
T-Mobile One $ 70 $ 50 $ 20 $ 20 $ 160
AT & T Unlimited & More $ 70 $ 55 $ 20 $ 15 $ 160
Sprint Unlimited Plus $ 70 $ 50 $ 30 $ 30 $ 170
Verizon "gounlimited" $ 75 $ 55 $ 20 $ 10 $ 160
AT & T Unlimited & More Premium $ 80 $ 70 $ 20 $ 20 $ 190
T-Mobile One Plus $ 80 $ 60 $ 30 $ 30 $ 200
Verizon "beyond the limit" $ 85 $ 75 $ 20 $ 20 $ 200
Verizon "upper limit" $ 95 $ 85 $ 30 $ 30 $ 240

Unlimited Prepaid

All four carriers offer prepaid packages with unlimited data. For a more detailed comparison of pre-paid plans from both major and regional carriers, read our Summary of Best Prepaid Wireless Plans for 2018 .

Comparing prepaid unlimited data rates with autopay discount

Carrier Data Limit Video streaming – up to hotspot allowance Monthly costs
AT & T unlimited 22 GB per month 480p SD No $ 55
Sprint Forward Unlimited 23 GB per month 1080p HD 10 GB $ 60
T-Mobile One Prepaid 10 GB per month 480p SD Until the data has been allocated $ 70
Verizon prepaidunlimited No 480p SD 3G data speeds only $ 75
AT & T unlimited Plus 22 GB per month 1080p HD 10 GB $ 75

HD video vs. SD-Video

It gets difficult here. Although all these plans are unlimited, the cheapest rates limit the videos you stream to 480p standard definition – think of DVD quality. That means if you're on T-Mobile Essentials, T-Mobile One, Sprint Unlimited Basic, AT & T Unlimited & More or Verizon Gounlimited, streaming videos will not be available in HD. It would be a shame to have a Galaxy S9 with its beautiful 2,960×1,440-pixel screen and only watch videos in less than a tenth of the resolution.

But if you pay more, AT & T Unlimited & More Premium, Sprint Unlimited Plus, and T-Mobile One Plus let you use the unlimited data you've purchased to stream 1080p HD resolution video. Verizon's higher cost beyond unlimited and beyond unlimited plans lets you stream to HD, but it's only 720p.

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All carriers offer HD video streaming with unlimited data rates.


Josh Miller / CNET

Mobile Hotspot Data

All carriers offer hotspots with LTE data speeds, but not all plans. Also keep in mind that there are restrictions on how much data you can use. T-Mobile One and Verizon gounlimited offer unlimited 3G mobile speed hotspot streaming. AT & T Unlimited & More gives you nothing.

  • Verizon top unlimited – 20GB per month mobile hotspot LTE data
  • Verizon beyondunlimited – 15GB mobile hotspot LTE data per month
  • AT & T Unlimited & More Premium – 15GB per month mobile hotspot LTE data [19659022] Sprint Unlimited Plus – 15 GB per month mobile hotspot LTE data
  • T-Mobile One Plus – 10 GB mobile hotspot LTE data
  • Sprint Unlimited Basic – 500 MB per month mobile hotspot LTE data [19659022] Verizon gounlimited – Hotspot access at 3G data speeds
  • T-Mobile One – Hotspot access only at 3G data speeds
  • T-Mobile Essentials – Hotspot access at 3G data speeds only
  • AT & T Unlimited & More – No Mobile Hotspot Data

Unlimited Plan Savings

I recommend reviewing sites from time to time for mobile providers' offers and discounts on unlimited data rates. For example, if you bring your own device or buy one directly, Sprint currently offers a discount of $ 20 per month, per line for unlimited plans. This is a time limited offer and there is no word as to exactly when it will expire.

Carriers also offer discounts to military personnel, veterans and their families.

The Last Word

It's really wonderful to have unlimited data options from all four major US airlines. However, this comparison of costs and characteristics is only part of the overall picture. Think of other factors that will affect your wallet: phone costs, extended warranties, taxes, surcharges, and activation fees – the last three of which have been tailored to T-Mobile's pricing. It is also worth considering network coverage and the quality of this coverage.

But before you do anything, look at how many mobile data you're using. It is not necessary to have an unlimited plan if you do not use a lot of data.

Here are links to each carrier's unlimited plans: Sprint, AT & T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Best Prepaid Mobile Plans for 2018 : Verizon, AT & T, Sprint, Boost, and more compared

Phones released vs. locked : Everything you need to know


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