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As one of the oldest sellers of these new types of “unlimited” data plans, it makes sense that T-Mobile’s plans would be the easiest to describe in detail. In 2019, T-Mobile rebranded its One program as “Magenta,” completely changing the cost and benefits of its plans. T-Mobile now offers three unlimited plans with three distinct values, and they do come in a bit cheaper than the competition.
Their cheapest unlimited option is Essentials, which costs $60 for a single line and delivers unlimited text, talk, and data, 480p video streaming, support for 2G data usage in Mexico and Canada, and 3G mobile hotspot data. As always, your unlimited data is throttled in times of network c mongestion, and if you useore than 50GB of data in a month, you’ll find your speeds restricted. Generally speaking, this is similar to the $70 plans offered by AT&T and Verizon, which makes this a decent choice for consumers looking to save a bit of cash if they live in strong T-Mobile areas.
Still, if you’re focused on hotspot usage, you’ll want to at least upgrade to the Magenta plan, which runs you $70 per month. You still get unlimited text, talk, and data, but your data won’t be throttled in congested areas until you pass 100GB of premium data consumption per month. Aside from the premium data, you get unlimited 3G mobile hotspot data and 5GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data. The plan also offers unlimited standard 5G and 4G LTE high-speed data. Your streaming is still capped at 480p, however, so if you’re looking to watch HD content on the go, this isn’t the plan for you.
Finally, T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan is their top-tier option, advertised as a premium offering and going toe-to-toe with Verizon and AT&T’s most expensive plans. At $85 for a single line, it doesn’t come cheap. You get everything from the Magenta plan, plus an upgrade to unlimited premium data, 4K UHD video streaming, 40GB of high-speed hotspot data, a basic Netflix subscription, an Apple TV+ subscription, a one-year Paramount+ subscription, and unlimited in-flight WiFi. You also get Scam Shield Premium and Voicemail to Text with this plan, though those are fairly expected features for such an expensive option.
Overall, T-Mobile is a decent unlimited carrier, especially if you can manage to bring your own device or already have a device compatible with T-Mobile. Though their lease payments can make the service more expensive, the features provided by T-Mobile on their plan are actually fairly intriguing. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that T-Mobile’s plans are easy to calculate. Every other carrier on this list has some form of hidden charge, tax, or fee that’s near impossible to calculate. T-Mobile keeps things simple, and even if their unlimited plans aren’t quite as cheap as some users may want them to be, it’s still a great option. Just make sure T-Mobile covers your area. They’ve been working hard at expanding their signal, but it still works best in urban and metro environments.
AT&T carries the privilege of being one of the biggest carriers in the United States, providing service to more than 100 million subscribers. After a failed attempt to buy T-Mobile in 2011, AT&T has continued to push its own partnership with other AT&T-owned properties, including HBO. Like Verizon, which we’ll cover further down in this guide, AT&T offers some pretty solid service, and thanks to their older 3G GSM network, almost every mobile device works on their network without issue, meaning you can bring your device to the network and gain service with a SIM card without any sort of issue.
Of course, AT&T also remains fairly expensive to buy into, though its price has dropped in the past several years. AT&T has three options to choose from, just like T-Mobile. The first is their most basic unlimited plan, which features plenty of limitations and drawbacks. AT&T’s Unlimited Starter plan includes throttled 5G data at an unlimited rate per month, standard definition video streaming at 480p, roaming in Canada and Mexico, along with international texting. However, this plan only includes 3Gb of hotspot data per month, which means, for our purposes, it’s practically useless. Instead, you’ll have to jump to one of AT&T’s two other plans: Unlimited Extra or Unlimited Premium. These plans cost, respectively, $40 and $50 per month, and both will likely work depending on your hotspot needs. Unlimited Extra provides users with 50GB of premium data, along with 15GB of fast hotspot data that should keep most people covered throughout the month. If you require more data for your hotspot, however, you’ll have to jump to the Unlimited Premium plan. It might be expensive, but it gets you unlimited high-speed data with no data cap and a full 50GB of hotspot before your data is slowed down. If you take a lot of meetings on the go, it’s a price you might have to pay. The plan also allows users to stream content in 4K UHD, which isn’t possible in the Extra and Starter plans.
Ultimately, AT&T’s data plans are pretty cheap compared to what we’ve seen from T-Mobile, though it’s quite disappointing that their entry-level unlimited plan only has 3GB of hotspot data. AT&T also has a stronger network quality around the US, which makes it a better option for those in rural markets than T-Mobile.
As the largest carrier in the United States, Verizon serves more than 140 million consumers every day. Though it offers some of the best carrier services in the United States, covering about 98 percent of the US population with 5G/LTE service, Verizon also happens to be one of the more costly networks in the United States, lining up about even with AT&T when it comes to the price of buying a plan on the network. For some, Verizon is worth the price of entry. As a carrier, it is one of the most dependable networks you can find today, offering service in rural areas that out-competes T-Mobile, Sprint, and in some areas, even AT&T. For those living in more populated areas, Verizon is closer in competition to both AT&T and T-Mobile. Still, you can’t discount that the service works in more areas than almost any other network today.
If you’re looking for a single line, Verizon will start by trying to sell you their unlimited plan first. Though we update this guide every few months or so, Verizon has a habit of constantly changing its plan lineup, and it’s no different for early 2023. Though their unlimited plans have never made much sense, Verizon’s current slate of plans might be their most confusing yet.
While their 5G Start plan is by far the cheapest, it only comes with 5GB of premium mobile hotspot data. If you’re just looking for a better unlimited phone plan, Verizon’s 5G Do More plan is the way to go. At $45 per month prior to taxes and fees, you gain access to unlimited 5G talk, text, and data, 50GB of premium network access, 25GB of premium mobile hotspot data, and data usage in Mexico and Canada. You will also get a six-month free trial of Apple Music and Disney+.
If you’re looking for more perks, you can opt for their 5G Play More or 5G Get More plan. The Play More plan gets you 50GB of premium network access and 25GB of premium mobile hotspot data, while the Get More plan offers unlimited premium access and 50GB of premium mobile hotspot data. The Get More plan comes with a free Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Apple Arcade, or Google Play Pass, and Apple Music subscription, but Play More plan holders only get six months of Apple Music for free. The Get More plan is the best option out of everything since it also comes with 1 TravelPass day monthly and 600GB on Verizon Cloud.
Ultimately, while Verizon just isn’t a great option for those looking for the best value in a cellular plan, they do go a long way in allowing you to customize your plan to best suit your own individual needs. Their service is great, but it’s ultimately pricey for what you’re receiving. Although, you can get cheaper rates the more lines you get.
If you have a tight budget and want a more affordable phone plan, you can opt for Mint Mobile’s Unlimited plan. New customers get a monthly rate of $30 for their first three months. If you extend the plan for another three months, your rate will go up to $40 or $35 for those who extend it for another six months. Your best option would be to get a year-long plan since you’ll get a monthly rate of $30. The only catch is that you’ll have to pay for the full 12 months upfront. ‘
The Unlimited plan features unlimited 5G data, but once you reach 35GB, you will begin getting reduced speeds. You will also only get 5GB of hotspot data, so it might not be the best option for those who use their hotspot for crucial tasks. Like most plans from other companies, it comes with unlimited nationwide talk and text, free calls to Canada and Mexico, and Wi-Fi calling and text. One important thing to remember is that Mint Mobile makes use of the 5G coverage of T-Mobile.
Customers will get the option to get a physical sim card or an eSIM. Having the eSIM option is excellent, especially if you own an eSIM-only device like Apple’s iPhone 14. You have the option to keep your current number when transferring to Mint Mobile, and you can also bring your own phone as long as it’s not locked to a particular carrier. Users are advised to download the Mint App because it allows them to make payments, manage lines, track usage, and contact customer care.
If Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile for its 5G coverage, Visible, on the other hand, accesses Verizon’s coverage. Their Visible+ plan is such a fantastic deal because you get a lot of perks for only $45 per month. The plan offers a premium network experience, and you can expect to have unlimited talk, text, and data in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, and the US Virgin Islands.
The Visible+ plan features 5G Ultra Wideband access, which is the faster 5G network access they have. Although, you have to ensure that your mobile device is 5G Ultra Wideband-capable. Users will get up to 50GB of premium data per month on either 5G or 4G LTE speeds, but your speed can get temporarily slower once you surpass the 50GB cap already.
Other companies on this list offer limited mobile hotspot data, but with Visible+, you get an unlimited amount of mobile hotspot data. The only catch is that its speed is limited to 5Mbps. The extra freebies you get in the plan are Spam Protection, a Verizon Home Internet discount, and international texting and calling to certain countries outside the United States. We believe the Visible+ plan would be a better option compared to the most basic plans of T-Mobile and AT&T.
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