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Best Unlimited Data Plans

Sept. 18, 2018
Cell Phones, Utilities
Best Unlimited Data Plans
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Unlimited data plans are back in a big way. That’s great news for people who stream music and videos on their smartphone or use it as a Wi-Fi hot spot — activities that eat up a lot of data.

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Best unlimited data plan: postpaid

  • Plan name: Sprint Unlimited Basic
  • Price (monthly): $65; $60 with autopay discount.
  • Why we like it: An affordable, entry-level unlimited plan with bonuses like Hulu and 500MB of hot spot access per line. New customers can score additional discounts.
  • Plan name: T-Mobile One
  • Price (monthly): $75; $70 with autopay discount.
  • Why we like it: T-Mobile throws in added perks, like a Netflix subscription, unlimited mobile hot spot access and free texting and 2G data in more than 200 countries.

 

Things to know:

Sprint’s Unlimited Basic plan includes 500MB of mobile hot spot data, as well as calls, texts and 5GB of high-speed data to use in Canada and Mexico. Video streams in standard definition. Sprint charges a $30 activation fee for each new line.
T-Mobile One includes mobile hot spot access, video streaming (in standard definition), unlimited talk, text and 5GB of high-speed data to use in Canada and Mexico, plus free text and data roaming in more than 200 other countries. Taxes and fees are included in the price, but add-ons such as insurance or device payments are still assessed.

 

Best unlimited data plan: prepaid

  • Plan name: Boost Mobile Unlimited
  • Price (monthly): $50
  • Why we like it: It’s the cheapest unlimited plan on the market, and it includes mobile hot spot access.
  • Plan name: MetroPCS Unlimited
  • Price (monthly): $50
  • Why we like it: A no-frills, no commitment unlimited plan.

 

Things to know:

Video streaming is limited to standard definition. You can upgrade to HD streaming for $10 per month. Plan includes 8GB of high-speed mobile hot spot data. You can have up to five lines on your account. Each additional line is $30 per month. You’ll pay full price to purchase a new phone, but if you have a phone through Sprint, you might be able to activate it with Boost.
Video streaming is limited to standard definition. Mobile hot spot data is not included. You’ll have to pay full retail price to buy a new phone, or you can bring your own if it’s compatible. MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile and uses T-Mobile’s network.

 

Best unlimited data plan for families

  • Plan name: Boost Mobile Unlimited
  • Price (monthly, four lines): $120
  • Why we like it: An unbelievable prepaid deal that’s too good to last. This limited-time offer from Boost, which includes 30GB of mobile hot spot data, is available for new and existing customers.
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  • Plan name: Sprint Unlimited Basic
  • Price (monthly, four lines): $160; $140 with autopay discount
  • Why we like it: An affordable, entry-level unlimited plan with bonuses like Hulu and 500MB of hot spot access per line. New customers can score additional discounts.

Things to know:

Boost Mobile’s promotional plan also includes HD video streaming. Boost is owned by Sprint and uses Sprint’s network. Customers may be able to bring their own phone, or they can buy a new one at retail price.
Sprint’s Unlimited Basic plan includes calls, texts and 5GB of high-speed data to use in Canada and Mexico. Video streams in standard definition.

 

Best unlimited data plans: summary

CarrierDetailsGet started
Plan: Sprint Unlimited Basic

Best: Postpaid

Monthly cost: $65; $60 with autopay discount
Plan: T-Mobile One

Best: Postpaid

Monthly cost: $75; $70 with autopay discount
Plan: Boost Mobile Unlimited

Best: Prepaid

Monthly cost: $50
Plan: MetroPCS Unlimited

Best: Prepaid

Monthly cost: $50
Plan: Boost Mobile Unlimited

Best for: Families

Monthly cost: $120
Plan: Sprint Unlimited Basic

Best for: Families

Monthly cost: $160; $140 with autopay discount

Restrictions on unlimited data plans

Even though these are “unlimited” data plans, they aren’t exactly limitless. Many unlimited plans cap high-speed data usage at around 23GB per month. If you hit that threshold, your connection might be “deprioritized,” that is, slowed considerably. Even if you buy an unlimited plan, you should still connect to Wi-Fi when you can to conserve your data.

Methodology

We evaluated unlimited data plans offered by more than a dozen carriers. To determine the best plans, we looked at the monthly plan price before taxes and fees, mobile hot spot allowance and high-speed data caps.

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