In the current mobile phone industry, finding the right phone and provider is just step one — then you need to the best phone plan to suit your needs. That can be a challenge. In this article, we take a look at the best cell phone plans currently available.
- Find the best US carrier for you (customized search)
- Which of the ‘Big Four’ wireless carriers is right for you? (guide)
Keep in mind that wireless carriers offer new cell phone plans, and get rid of older ones, on a regular basis. This article will be updated when carriers make those changes, and offer what we think are the newest and best cell phone plans.
Plan: Above Unlimited
Price: $95 a month for a single line | Features: no speed congestion penalty up to 75GB
In the best cell phone plans from Verizon, we would recommend getting the Above Unlimited plan for that carrier. It begins at $95 a month for a single line, with discounts when you add up to three additional lines. There’s no speed congestion penalty when you use this plan until you exceed 75 GB for each monthly cycle. After that, you may be hit with throttled speeds, but most customers won’t reach that limit anyway.
The Above Unlimited plan offers video streaming up to 720p resolution. It also offers 20 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot speed use on each line, but those speeds will go down to 600kbps if you exceed the cap before the end of the month. The Above Unlimited plan offers customers unlimited calls and texts from the US to numbers in Mexico and Canada. If you are vacationing in Mexico and Canada and are under Verizon’s plan, you also get access to 512 MB of free 4G LTE data roaming in those countries per day. Once you exceed that cap, your data goes down to 2G speeds.
Finally, Verizon’s Above Unlimited offers five Travel Passes per month. Each daily Travel Pass allows travelers going to 130 countries to take their domestic talk, text, and data allowances with them.
- Best Verizon Wireless plans
- Best Verizon Wireless pre-paid plans
- Best Verizon Wireless phones
- Best Version Wireless pre-paid phones
Plan: Unlimited & More Premium
Price: $80 per month for one line | Features: Free live TV service
The nation’s second largest wireless carrier, much like Verizon, didn’t offer a stand-alone unlimited data phone plan for a couple of years, but after Big Red caved and launched its plan earlier this year, Big Blue quickly followed with its own unlimited plans. Like Verizon, AT&T has two unlimited plans to choose from.
In our selection of the best cell phone plans from AT&T, we would recommend getting the Unlimited & More Premium plan. It charges $80 a month under that plan for one line, $150 a month for two lines, and $30 a month for each additional line up to 10 lines. Again, there are no download speed limits on the AT&T Unlimited Plus Enhanced plan, but you still might get hit with slower speeds if you exceed 22 GB of data before the monthly bill cycle ends.
Video streams go up to HD quality on AT&T Unlimited & More Premium, and you also get 15 GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data per month. You still get unlimited texts from the US to 120 countries, and unlimited calls and texts from US to Canada and Mexico, plus unlimited roaming in Canada and Mexico. It also offers customers free access to AT&T WatchTV, a internet-based live TV service that currently shows 31 cable television channels with more to be added in the future.
Subscribing to this plan will also give you a $15 monthly credit that can be used for either DirecTV Now, the DirecTV satellite service or AT&T’s U-Verse internet service. Finally, the Premium plan lets users pick one premium cable or streaming service they can watch for free. The choices include HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, VRV, Amazon Music, or Pandora.
Plan: One Plus Unlimited
Price: $80 a month for a single line | Features: Unlimited talk, texting and data while you are in US, Canada and Mexico
Of all the carriers on this list, T-Mobile perhaps generates the most hype and promotion for its sometimes disruptive attempts to beat out the Big Two (Verzion and AT&T) with better plans. Indeed, T-Mobile (Big Magenta?), along with Sprint, continued to offer unlimited data plans to their new customers, while AT&T and Verizon pulled their plans until earlier this year.
Technically, all of the best cell phone plans from T-Mobile are “unlimited” plans; it does not offer any plans with data caps. However, among its unlimited plans, there’s one that we think is the best you can get. The T-Mobile One Plus unlimited plan costs $80 a month for a single line, $60 a month each for two lines, $47 a month each for three lines, $50 a month each for four lines and $35 a month for each additional line.
It offers unlimited talk and text in the US, and unlimited talk, texting and data while you are in Canada and Mexico, and unlimited 4G LTE data, with throttling only engaged if you exceed 50 GB of data per month. You also get video streaming up to HD resolutions, and you can get free unlimited Wi-Fi access on any Gogo-based flight. It offers mobile hotspot data at 4G LTE speeds for the first 10 GB on your billing cycle, before going back to 3G speeds.
Finally, T-Mobile is offering free Netflix access for all unlimited plan customers. New and current subscribers to the popular movie and TV streaming service can get free access to its standard plan, which normally offers up to two current streams of video at HD resolution. It normally costs $10.99 a month.
Plan: Unlimited Freedom
Price: $60 each month for one line | Features: unlimited data, talk and support for streaming video at up to 1080p resolution
Sprint may not be merging with T-Mobile anytime soon, but the nation’s fourth largest carrier is trying its best to keep up with its competition. Among its best cell phone plans, the Unlimited Freedom plan is the one we would recommend. Currently, the carrier is running a promotion where the plan costs $60 each month for one line, with a maximum of five lines going for $100 each month until January 31, 2019. After that date, the plan charges $60 for one line, $40 for the second, and $30 each month for lines three through five.
In addition to unlimited data and talk and texting in the US, the Sprint Unlimited Freedom Plan offers support for streaming video at up to 1080p resolution, along with streaming music at up to 1.5 Mbps and streaming data for games at up to 8 Mbps. Each line on the plan can also offer 10 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot downloads. If you reach that limit before the billing month closes, mobile hotspot streaming goes back down to 2G speeds. Finally, Sprint is giving people who sign up for Unlimited Freedom free access to the Hulu video streaming service for a limited time. New and current Hulu subscribers can get the standard Hulu Limited Commercials tier for free, which normally costs $7.99 a month.