Best unlimited wireless plan? New Verizon vs T-Mobile vs Sprint vs AT&T offers compared

 Sprint Unlimited
Savings until 9/30/18
Verizon Go/Beyond UnlimitedAT&T Choice/Plus UnlimitedT-Mobile ONE/Plus
Includes taxes & fees
1 line$50
$75/$85$60/$90$70/$80
2 lines$90
$130/$160$115/$145$100/$120
3 lines$95
$150/$180$135/$165$140/$170
4 lines$100
$160/$200$155/$185$160/$200
5 lines$100
$200/$250$175/$205$180/$230
Speed limitsAfter 23 GBAny time/After 22 GB After 22 GBAfter 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. 

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, 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. 

At 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!

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102 Comments

1. KParks23

Posts: 719; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

How is it unlimited when there is a data cap?

3. Acdc1a

Posts: 470; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

Because it's not a hard cap and is simply de-prioritized data, not throttled.

13. KParks23

Posts: 719; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

Deprioritize and throttle essentially the same thing. It's not unlimited if at a certain GB you do anything to my speed or video quality that's BS.

28. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 912; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

1) Not the same thing. 2) They've always done this since data was a thing.

63. Brewski

Posts: 669; 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.

66. sebstin

Posts: 170; Member since: Dec 03, 2015

What do you do with 60GB data every month on a phone?. I always wonder..

75. fgpalm

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.

76. izim1

Posts: 1594; 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.

81. Saadq23

Posts: 5; Member since: Feb 22, 2016

Its People like you that got Data caps added in the first place. WTF are you using 60Gb for.....

86. c.hack

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.

87. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1521; 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.

98. tuminatr

Posts: 1104; 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

99. Leo_MC

Posts: 6623; 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.

77. antmiu2

Posts: 550; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

1) Still not unlimited 2) Fake Marketing

30. trublackrose

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.

33. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Seems like what many EU countries have, data max speed until x gb and then 'slow' after x gb

35. KParks23

Posts: 719; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

No it's like saying you go to a all you can eat buffet get your 1st plate then go back and they took all the items away but spinach and then they say it's still all you can eat!

40. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

nope, it's like all you can eat, but they later say you can only take a plate every 20 mins, well, it's still all you can eat, just depends on how long you are gonna seat there and eat

78. izim1

Posts: 1594; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

No. Its going to an all you can eat buffet but after you eat 10 plates they ask you to let other people serve themselves first before you can fill your plate up again.

89. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I like this analogy ^ √ More accurate to the actual situation.

54. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3944; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Ha, nice one mate.

42. cwilli319

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.

43. DurTeeDee

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

45. cwilli319

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.

71. kevv2288

Posts: 272; Member since: Jul 30, 2015

T-Mobile!

72. Gsmalltheway

Posts: 273; Member since: Aug 15, 2009

You only get speed slow downs if your in a highly congested area. 95% of people will never see a slow down in speeds even after data limit is reached unless they are in a mojor city

83. trublackrose

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?

6. kevv2288

Posts: 272; 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.

11. Valdomero

Posts: 653; 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 :(

55. Tommikke

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€.

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