Best unlimited wireless plan? New Verizon vs T-Mobile vs Sprint vs AT&T offers compared
by Daniel Petrov / Aug 24, 2017, 3:19 AM
Savings until 9/30/18
|Verizon Go/Beyond Unlimited||AT&T Choice/Plus Unlimited|
|Speed limits||After 23 GB||Any time/After 22 GB||After 22 GB||After 50 GB|
It was bound to happen. T-Mobile increasing its prices a bit, and Verizon limiting its "unlimited" option a bit, that is, as one simple look at the quarterly profits of the four major US carriers, and some recent network speed tests would tell you. After an initial period of amassing customers, switchers and goodwill, T-Mobile bumped its unlimited One Plus data plan for a party of four with five bucks apiece, at first making it basically equal to Verizon's offering, as taxes and fees are included in the price with T-Mobile.
lowering the average speeds a bit, Big Red took the matter in its own hands, and introduced three new unlimited plans - Go, Beyond and Business. While the Go Unlimited plan is nominally cheaper than what T-Mobile has to offer, it lets you stream at 480p DVD quality, plus you can also get the network "de-prioritization" thingy at any time, so we can just call it speed throttling. The Beyond Unlimited plan lets you stream at HD definition, and keeps the previous 22 GB de-prioritization cap in congested areas, but it is also ten bucks a month more for one line, and gets more expensive until you hit four lines, where it is basically equal to T-Mobile's offers, so for the typical family plan user nothing changes.Now, however, after the H1 network tests are out, and it turned out that Verizon's LTE infrastructure might be overloaded from all the unlimited goodness,
Verizon's superior coverage would cost data guzzlers a bit extra nowAt the same time, Sprint posted the above table to showcase its running promo that makes it much cheaper than the rest of the gang. Regardless, since all these plans offer similar extra services now, like hotspot allowances, high-def streaming (save for Verizon's new plans) or unlimited talk and texts, the choice usually boils down to coverage and speeds. Where does that leave AT&T? Well, despite that its single line unlimited is the most expensive still, that's the exact reason it laughs all the way to the bank compared to the other major carriers, as we have shown you before, so it's unlikely to see neither an exodus nor an influx of customers after T-Mobile or Verizon's latest moves. It also offers the Choice Unlimited plan that is cheaper, but streams in 480p DVD quality, and with 3Mbps maximum, plus it doesn't offer a hotspot quota.
So, which unlimited data plan is for you? Well, you have to pay a bit extra for Verizon's offer, but you get the best countrywide network coverage, while if you mostly chill in a large city, you may save money with Sprint, or take advantage of the higher 32 GB "speed de-prioritization" threshold that T-Mobile offers. All carriers have a certain cutoff, above which your blazing 4G LTE speeds may be throttled in times of peak network usage for repeat offenders - the so-called "de-prioritization," which in reality only affects the top percentile of data guzzlers, though. All in all, the moral of the story stays the same - whatever plan you chose, make sure its carrier has decent coverage in the areas you frequent the most!
Posts: 725; Member since: Oct 13, 2010
How is it unlimited when there is a data cap?
posted on Feb 14, 2017, 4:51 AM 4
Posts: 473; Member since: Jan 21, 2016
Because it's not a hard cap and is simply de-prioritized data, not throttled.
posted on Feb 14, 2017, 5:45 AM 14
Posts: 693; Member since: Jun 05, 2012
They have not always done this. I still have unlimited data from Verizon that I bought in 2009. It is the legacy plan, not this new (de-prioritized) one. I can use as much as I want with no penalties. My phone is always on 4G (Unless signal strength is weak). The most I have used in one month is 60 Gb and it was just as fast as the beginning of the month.
posted on Feb 17, 2017, 5:12 PM 4
Posts: 12; Member since: Apr 22, 2017
I have the new unlimited and last month I used 95GB this month I'm at 60 so far and have not seen any meaningful slow downs. At home I still get my normal speeds of 10-13 mbps download and at my work place which faces a cell tower I am getting 30-70 mbps down most times of the day. I love the plan so far. If I have been slowed down there haven't really been any times where I couldn't do things on my phone.
posted on Jul 07, 2017, 9:08 AM 0
Posts: 1599; Member since: Feb 04, 2013
Theyve always done this. It's deprioritized. Not throttled. There's a difference. One means youll get slowed, the other means you may or may not feel a difference. Just because you hit 60gb and didnt feel a difference, it doesnt mean they didnt deprioritized you after you went past a certain amount.
posted on Jul 07, 2017, 9:09 AM 0
Posts: 614; Member since: Dec 09, 2009
The old "unlimited" plans from Verizon about 10 years ago had a 5GB cap. After 5 GB they reserved the right to cancel your service for abuse. De-prioritizing is a lot better. I routinely go over 23 GB on Sprint and don't have any issues.
posted on Jul 07, 2017, 12:32 PM 0
Posts: 1559; Member since: Jul 12, 2016
As someone who worked at Verizon for 4 years I can tell you that you do in fact get deprioritized, it's very hard to notice and lasts for seconds at a time to only the most data hungry users on a very congested tower. Your 60GB is small compared to some users.
posted on Jul 07, 2017, 1:01 PM 0
Posts: 1124; Member since: Feb 23, 2009
He is referring to T-mobile they have always done this, you are correct however the Verizon legacy plans do not de-prioritize. Also This is a good lesson in reading comprehension the plans say unlimited data they dont say anything about the speed until you read the T&C
posted on Jul 10, 2017, 9:35 PM 0
Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011
You must be living in a area with less Verizon customers; if there are lots of customers on the same cell, your speeds - even at the beginning of the month - would have been capped, because the bandwidth would have been shared between all the users.
posted on Aug 24, 2017, 3:45 AM 0
Posts: 45; Member since: Apr 14, 2015
Unlimited Data. Not Unlimited Data Speeds. Data is a unit of size and is not a speed in or of itself. That's like saying the All you can Eat buffet is not All you can eat because it doesn't have the food you like.
posted on Feb 14, 2017, 10:51 AM 9
Posts: 10; Member since: Dec 12, 2016
I'm a T-Mobile agent and I explain the difference all day. They are completely different. Not to mention 97% of users never even hit t-mo's 28 gb de-prioritization ceiling... and even those who do will only notice a speed difference during congestion period. I've intentionally racked up my data in previous months to hit the 28 gb just to test this and I experienced slightly slower speeds for an hour or so in the evenings but by that time I'm back home on wifi anyway.
posted on Feb 14, 2017, 7:19 PM 0
Posts: 151; Member since: Sep 05, 2014
well let me fix this for you I am a tmobile customer in detroit(real detroit) which is a metro city depritoriztion is a dog in heat to the fullest. on 4glte i m bogged down to .5mbps and cant do a thing until 1-3am to 9am i Dont havewifi and use well over 100gbs per month. saving grace switch to h+ and get a steady 12-20 mbps
posted on Feb 14, 2017, 7:52 PM 1
Posts: 10; Member since: Dec 12, 2016
Well yeah, obviously metropolitan areas will have higher traffic / more congestion. Nothing is going to be a perfect fit. You're definitely in the minority as far as how much data you use, the target demographic will always be the majority.
posted on Feb 14, 2017, 8:20 PM 1
Posts: 45; Member since: Apr 14, 2015
Because it says Unlimited Data. Not unlimited Data Speeds. So, Unlimited Data is how much data you can use. It does not say "Unlimited Data at 4g LTE Speeds" Or "Unlimited Data at X mbps" It just says "Unlimited Data". Why is this hard for people to understand?
posted on Jul 07, 2017, 11:15 AM 0
Posts: 295; Member since: Jul 30, 2015
Yeah it's not a data cap. I've been on tmobile one since September and go over 28gb almost every month because i use the hotspot alot. I have never seen reduced speeds and I have used 45gb this month so far.
posted on Feb 14, 2017, 7:17 AM 1
Posts: 677; Member since: Nov 13, 2012
Wow, 45Ggb! I have a data plan of mere 2gb. In my country the data plans suck, we don't have unlimited plans and the large data plans (4-6gb) are like $40-$50 without unlimited talk/text, which is absurd. You guys get all the fun :(
posted on Feb 14, 2017, 7:46 AM 0
Posts: 69; Member since: Nov 21, 2015
You should visit Finland! We have unlimited plans (max. 50-150 Mbit/s depending on carrier) for around 20€/month ($21.3). And also very important feature, no stupid speed limits after X amount of data. So always as fast. But usually if you want unlimited messages and calls it's like +5€/month. And for family (let's say 4 persons) you can get 4 unlimited plans for 72€.
posted on Feb 17, 2017, 2:15 AM 0
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