Best Cell Phone Plans – May 2017

The four carriers in the US are always competing to get your business, and are always changing up their plans. Surprisingly enough, all four carriers now offer unlimited data once again, but all of them have a few caveats that make them different. So which unlimited plan is the best for your money? Let's find out.

AT&T

Arguably, AT&T has the most uncompetitive plans right now, even though they are pretty well priced. There's Unlimited Choice at $60/month and then Unlimited Plus at $90/month. With Unlimited Choice, you are capped at 8Mbps all the time, and if you hit AT&T's 22GB cap, you may see speeds reduced to 128Kbps (the throttling is the same on their Unlimited Plus plan). Also you don't get any mobile hotspot on this plan. Meanwhile, Unlimited Plus gives you 10GB of high-speed mobile hotspot, throttled afterwards. You also get $25 in credit each month towards AT&T's video Services - that includes DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and U-verse - additionally you get HBO for free.

Now it's important to remember here that these prices are only for service, not for your smartphone. So you'll need to take that into account, which can cost up to $30, depending on the smartphone you pick up. On Unlimited Choice, two lines will cost you $115, $135 for three and $155 for four. Meanwhile, Unlimited Plus is available for $145 for two lines, $165 for three lines and $185 for four lines. This is also before taxes and fees.

Sprint

Sprint is actually one of the few carriers that still offers unlimited and data buckets for new users. Unlimited can be as low as $60/month, again that's before the cost of your device and before taxes and fees. That cost will bring you unlimited data, along with 10GB of mobile hotspot at 4G LTE speeds. After you hit that limit, you'll be throttled to 128Kbps. Now if you don't need unlimited, Sprint has a new plan that offers up 2GB of data (you'll be throttled afterwards, so no overages here) for just $40/month.

As of this writing, Sprint has ended their 3rd, 4th and 5th lines free promo. So you're looking at two lines for $100/month and then $30/month for each additional line. So three lines is $130 and four lines is $160/month. Pretty comparable to the other carriers right now.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has moved all of their plans over to unlimited data, under the "ONE" moniker. There are a few different versions available here, some with faster international roaming data, some with more hotspot etc. But we're going to focus on their regular T-Mobile ONE plan, since that is what the majority of people will use. T-Mobile ONE offers unlimited data for $70/month. This also comes with 10GB of mobile hotspot at high-speed, which is then throttled afterwards. Video is no longer throttled (you just need to turn it off in your account settings). And something that the other carriers aren't doing is offering a $10 credit if you use less than 2GB of data in a month. That's T-Mobile Kickback, which can bring the price down to just $60/month and that does include taxes and fees. Which does make it cheaper than the others on this list.

Now while a single line is priced at $70, you can get two lines for $120, three for $140 and four for $160. Typically T-Mobile does have a few deals going on where you can get two lines for $100 and getting four lines pretty cheap as well. So you'll want to check out their website for the latest.

Verizon

Verizon Unlimited, which is what they are calling their unlimited data plan now, is actually the easiest to explain. You get unlimited data, nothing is throttled until you hit their soft-cap of 22GB or 10GB of mobile hotspot. Additionally, they allow customers to use their smartphones in Mexico and Canada like they would at home. So there's no roaming fees and you get unlimited 4G LTE speeds, definitely a nice perk for those that cross the border often.

Verizon starts pricing at $80/month on Verizon Unlimited. You can get two lines for $140, three for $160 or four for $180. Each additional line is another $20/month. Remember that this does not include the price for your smartphone, if you pick it up on Verizon Edge, or the taxes and fees. This also the $5 autopay credit.

Wrap Up

Things haven't changed a whole lot in the last month for the carriers, but Sprint did end their promo, which brings their prices pretty similar to T-Mobile and other carriers right now. T-Mobile still offers the most data before being throttled for network optimization, but as we always state, it's important to check out the coverage of these carriers in your area before making the jump. Somewhere that Verizon has the best coverage, may not be the same somewhere else. So it's always a good idea to check out an unbiased site like Sensorly or OpenSignal who crowdsources their coverage data from users.

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