Did you know that over 60% of video worldwide is viewed on mobile devices? If you're an avid HD video buff or you constantly stream music then you're probably always on the hunt for the cheapest unlimited data plan.
The good news is that it's easier than ever to find an affordable phone plan that doesn't cramp your style when it comes to high data usage. Get ready to save money - in this guide I'm going to show you how you can cut your cell phone bill by up to 50%.
In This Guide
Key Considerations When Choosing a Cheap Unlimited Data Plan
There are a couple of things to think about before you choose a plan.
Do You Actually Need Unlimited Data?
Have you monitored your phone data usage to see how much you actually need? You can typically see this information in your device settings or in your account through your wireless carrier.
The truth is that most people don't need unlimited high speed data. For truly high data users unlimited may be a good choice. This is likely only the case if you spend a lot of time doing HD video streaming or gaming away from your home Wi-Fi.
We make it easy to find the right monthly plan for your needs:
Is Unlimited Data Really Unlimited?
The term is misleading in a way. Yes, you get a much larger allowance at 4G LTE speeds- but (sorry, there's always a but!) - most carriers reserve the right to throttle service to 2G or 3G speeds after a certain amount of use. T-Mobile has the highest deprioritization threshold at 50 GB while others may be as low as 22 GB.
That doesn't mean you definitely will be throttled. If you've reached your high-speed limit most carriers will throttle in times of cellular traffic congestion (peak times). Of course, the reality is that only a very small fraction of smartphone users even reach this threshold in the first place.
It's always a good idea to read the terms and conditions in the fine print.
Want Big Coverage for a Small Price? Consider an MVNO
The big four carriers have more network capacity than they need for their own customers. Enter MVNOs - Mobile Virtual Network Operators. These alternative carriers lease the extra space and sell to you at discounted rates.
Besides being cheaper, MVNOs:
- Give you reliable service on America's four major cellular networks
- Allow you to keep your phone and your number
- Provide highly rated - often more personalized - customer service
- Offer a wide range of custom plans so you only pay for what you need
- Make it easy to sign up online
- Don't require contracts or credit checks
Additionally, most MVNOs offer prepaid plans which means no overage charges or early termination fees.
Who Has the Best Unlimited Plan?
All four major carriers offer networks with similar reliability and coverage. You may have reasons for preferring one over the others, however, such as a stronger local signal. Here are our picks for best unlimited data plans.
Big Red charges a pretty penny for their single line Verizon unlimited plan - $75 per month, $85 if you want HD video streaming.
As I told you earlier, though, you can switch to the Verizon network without paying premium rates. If this is your preferred network we recommend you go with a Verizon MVNO such as:
Unlimited data plans with US Mobile start at $39 a month. Other benefits of US Mobile include:
- Three speed choices (download speeds up to 150 Mbps on highest plan)
- Three unlimited plan choices
- Mobile hotspot data options for eligible phones
- 24/7 customer service
- 14-day risk-free trial
T-Mobile now offers one option for its postpaid cell service, the unlimited T-Mobile ONE plan. A single line runs $70 a month.
Of course you can save by switching to a T-Mobile MVNO. We recommend:
- $40/month for unlimited talk and text plus 23GB of data before throttling
- Runs on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks
- Free talk and text to Canada
Even better, TextNow is one of the few alternative carriers offering true family plans. Buy additional lines and get a $10 per month discount applied to each line.
Sprint unlimited data (the Sprint Unlimited Freedom plan) costs $60 a month. This is less expensive than the other four carriers but you can still do better by switching to a Sprint MVNO.
The AT&T unlimited individual plans cost $65 and $80 (with HD video). Switch to AT&T without paying AT&T prices.
Great Ways To Save on Your Next Smartphone
After so many years of the two-year contract we all got used to upgrading at least every 24 months. But is it really cost effective to buy a new phone? We don't think so. You wouldn't upgrade your television or your car every two years just because a new model comes out.
Changes to the newest, shiniest smartphones are typically minor. You can save a lot of money by going with one of these options instead of costly device payments:
- BYOP: Do you actually need that iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9? Bring your own phone instead and prolong its usefulness while saving about $1000.
- Buy a used smartphone: Get a great deal on a recent model and save 50% over retail.
- Sell your old phone: Earn cash toward a new device by selling your old one. Compare offers for the best deal.
If you do keep your device when switching carriers make sure you know how to unlock it for use on your new service.
The surge of the MVNO industry means more competition and better unlimited plan prices for you. You can see this trend clearly in our unlimited data plans comparison. Don't be afraid to break away from the old (expensive) way of buying phone service. Your wallet will thank you!