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.
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.
Verizon Wireless — BeyondUnlimited
The largest wireless carrier in the US continues to be Verizon, and earlier in 2017 it decided to finally offer new customers an unlimited plan, which is something Big Red didn’t offer for the past few years. The company offers two different types of unlimited plans. GoUnlimited, which begins at $75 a month for one line, technically gives you 4G LTE data all the time, but in times of high congestion, you may find that some of your speeds could be throttled.
That’s why, in the best cell phone plans from Verizon, we would recommend getting the BeyondUnlimited plan for that carrier. It begins at $85 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 22 GB for each monthly cycle. After that, you may be hit with throttled speeds, but most customers won’t reach that limit anyway.
The BeyondUnlimited plan offers video streaming up to 720p resolution, but you can go up to 1080p if you pay an additional $10 a month. It also offers 15 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. Finally, the BeyondUnlimited 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.
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AT&T — Unlimited Plus
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 AT&T Unlimited Plus Enhanced 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 Plus, 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. If you are a subscriber to the DirecTV Now streaming service, you can cut off $15 a month from your bill, plus $15 off your DirecTV monthly bill if you are signed up to use the satellite-based TV service. Finally, you can get free access to HBO when you sign up for AT&T Unlimited Plus or Choice, which means you can get your Game of Thrones binge-watching phase out of the way.
T-Mobile — One Plus Unlimited
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.
Sprint — Unlimited Freedom
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.