The Cheapest Phone Plans with Unlimited Everything [December 2020]
Considering a holiday upgrade? Phone plans with unlimited everything are great for people who depend on cellular data to get through their days. Whether it’s for entertainment or your job depends on it, most people need unlimited data.
Cell phone users choose unlimited everything plans because there are no overage costs. Over time, this could save you a lot of money depending on your usage. For those who stream videos or spend their days outside of Wi-Fi, unlimited data plans are the way to go.
Fortunately, there are many affordable options! But which company provides the best deals? Read on to find out how to choose the best phone plan for you!
Consider This Before Choosing a Cell Phone Plan
Before we get to the cheapest cell phone plans, you should consider these things first:
- Do you want a prepaid or a postpaid plan? You will have to pay in advance for the prepaid service, but it comes with perks. One perk is that the carrier will not check your credit, which is helpful for people with poor or nonexistent credit scores. On the other hand, postpaid service is paid at the end of a billing cycle and allows you to finance your phones.
- How many lines do you need? The fewer lines you pay for, the more you’re going to pay per line. For example, a single line might be $50, while three lines may only be $30 per line. Multi-line options are a great way for families and friends to save money.
- What network suits you best? Examine as many providers as you can and inform yourself about their strong and weak points. Primarily, you want to look at their coverage map, especially if you live outside of a major city. Even the networks with the most amount of coverage might not have any coverage in your area, while a smaller network does. A low-cost unlimited plan will not benefit you if you can’t use it.
- Do you want to keep using your old phone or get a new one? Usually, cell phone carriers sell new phones to their users, but you can opt to keep your old device if it is unlocked. Make sure your phone is compatible with the plans you want to buy before closing the deal. Even though phones purchased through a carrier are usually locked to that carrier, most of them can be unlocked once the phone is paid for.
The Cheapest Phone Plans with Unlimited Data, Calls, and Texts
As cell phone carriers become more competitive, monthly plans and pricing do too! Aside from the cost of the plan, it’s important to examine the perks each company offers with its plans. Saving money on streaming services, offering free concert tickets, and bundling options are worth paying for a higher cell phone plan in some cases.
While shopping around you will find deals on cell phones as well. The newest phones can add up to over $1,000, when factoring in monthly costs, look for deals on phones, too!
The biggest and Top Four companies are AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. So, who has the best plan for you?
As you may know, T-Mobile recently merged with Sprint but the customers still have access to their rate plans for a bit longer. Sprint offers the overall cheapest unlimited phone plan. Their monthly fees are the lowest compared to the other three companies mentioned below. Even though they are working on improving their network, they do not have the best service or the highest Internet speeds.
AT&T offers bundle packages that can save you money while offering additional benefits. For cell phone users who are still paying for home internet and cable, there are cost-saving possibilities here.
Here are some of the perks:
- AT&T’s Unlimited Starter plan offers family plans starting at $30/mo. per line when you purchase the plan for five lines, at a total of $150/mo.
- This will give you unlimited talk, text, and data in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
- You will get unlimited texting to 120 countries.
- You’ll also receive free security such as fraud blocking and spam alerts.
This plan only allows for Standard Definition streaming of videos. AT&T will also throttle your data after you’ve used 22GB of internet per line during each billing cycle.
T-Mobile is a great all-around choice, with possibly the best price to quality ratio. They’re also one of the fastest-growing networks, with new towers being built all around the U.S. every day, coverage reliability is improving.
What you get:
- The Essentials Plan with T-Mobile is $26/mo. per line for a family plan or $104/mo. for four lines.
- You will get 3Gb of Mobile Hotspot with this plan.
- T-Mobile Tuesdays is a benefit that offers customers free stuff and discounts.
T-Mobile is an affordable option for data users. T-Mobile focuses its business model around customer satisfaction, but the reliability of service is still lacking in some geographical areas.
Verizon is the best option if you need a premium unlimited data plan. Out of every carrier, they have the best coverage map, followed closely by AT&T. This means you can get a Verizon plan just about anywhere in the U.S. and still stay connected. This makes them a great option for people who travel a lot or who live in areas where no other carrier has coverage yet.
- Verizon’s Start Unlimited plan is $35/mo. per line on the family plan.
- This offers talk, text, and data in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.
- It includes free Apple Music and Disney+ for 6 months
Verizon will throttle data when a line has reached a certain amount each billing cycle. The coverage of Verizon cell phone service may outweigh the additional costs depending on where you live.
Reading the “Fine Print”
Understanding which unlimited everything plan is best for you also depends on the fine print and details. If you are purchasing a cell phone through a carrier, remember that you are “locked” into that carrier until the phone is paid for.
Beware of throttling. Most carriers will only allow each cell phone to use a certain amount of data before slowing the speeds to 2G. If you are using your cell phone for mobile hotspot and tethering, you may want to go up to a plan with more hotspot capabilities.
While shopping for cell phone plans understand that each carrier is offering “perks” that get you to sign-up! Beware that some of those perks may not last the lifetime of your leasing agreements. Some offer discounts on phones, these are usually applied as a monthly credit to your bill.
If your bill is too high and you’d like to switch carriers, you’ll probably have to pay off your phone before you can take it with you. Cell phone carriers will unlock your device once it’s paid in full. If you don’t pay it off and plan to get a new phone with a new carrier, you’ll receive a bill for the full amount of all phones you haven’t paid for. Understand the fine print before signing a lease or installment on a new phone.
Why is My Cell Phone Bill So High?
Let’s say you’ve chosen one of the low-cost unlimited plans but your bill seems incredibly high. There are a few things to consider before calling your carrier. Let’s review the reasons your bill isn’t just $35/mo. per line or whatever the plan pricing calls for:
- AutoPay – Most carriers offer discounts for those who set up and continue to use Autopay. The discounted prices would be lower because of these discounts.
- Installments or phone leases – The days of 2-year contracts are gone, you now pay monthly for a brand new phone or purchase one outright. Some newer phones can be upwards of $40/mo. per line. Review your bill for device installments or financing fees. In most cases, you can pay your phone off early to lower your bill.
- Insurance & add-ons – Device insurance, roadside assistance, family locators, these all add additional money to your monthly bill. These concessions may not cost much but if you’re carrying them on every phone line, the charges add up!
- Third-party app charges – You can bill mobile subscriptions to your cell phone bill in many cases. Buying more lives on Candy Crush can certainly add up quickly but these charges are often something you didn’t initiate. If this is happening to your bill contact your carrier to have them removed. You can also have a purchase blocker added to ensure they don’t reappear.
- Taxes and Fees – Depending on your state, county, and city, your taxes and fees will vary. You’ll likely see a section for fees charged by the cell phone carrier and a section for taxes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do about these and all four top carriers have some sort of minute charges they add to each line on your bill.
Should You Remove Insurance to Lower Your Bill?
It’s a common question regarding saving money on your cell phone bill. Insurance runs anywhere from $10-$20 (or more) per line and is provided by a third-party insurance company. If your phone is damaged, lost, or stolen you’ll need to file an insurance claim with the third-party company for a repair or replacement.
Unless you have a warranty issue, you’ll need to pay a deductible to get a replacement or a repair. The question of whether or not you should remove insurance is tricky but there are a few things to consider before taking the leap:
- Is your phone new or under an installment plan? Filing an insurance claim will cost a deductible, but you may not have upgrade options or you’ll have to pay off the entire device plus any down payments to have it replaced. In this scenario, it’s best to keep the insurance.
- Can you lower your insurance? Some companies offer tiers of insurance and they all cost more or less depending on the concessions (like discounted repairs).
- Can you add insurance back? This is an easy “NO” in most cases. Once your phone is damaged you can’t add insurance back without risking insurance fraud (yes, it’s serious even for cell phones). Most companies only let you add the feature during the first 30 days of getting a new phone or during open-enrollment periods.