Sprint 5G downloadSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

The big three networks in the United States (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) all carry an unlimited data plan (or several). That's important for power users as well as anyone who uses their mobile broadband internet as their sole way to stay in touch or for entertainment. These days, many of us just don't have time to wait around with slower data.

But just because everyone offers unlimited data, doesn't mean that all plans are equal. Pricing is important, as are "extras" like tethering and the hidden data cap that pushes you back to slower speeds when you reach it. And of course, zero-rating means we have to pay attention to what unlimited means when it comes to the quality of streaming media as well as the source. It is also worth keeping in mind that many of the best MVNOs offer unlimited data for a lower price.

We took a look at what each carrier has to offer so we can decide who delivers the very best unlimited data package. Let's start with a look at the details for each carrier.

AT&T

Unlimited Started

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data (May be deprioritized during congestion)
  • Videos stream at standard definition
  • 5G access
  • Unlimited usage in Mexico and Canada
  • Unlimited texting from U.S. to 120+ countries
  • $65 per month for one line
  • $120 per month for two lines
  • $135 per month for three lines
  • $140 per month for four lines

Unlimited Extra

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data
  • 50GB of Premium Data (usage before any deprioritization)
  • Videos stream at standard definition
  • 5G access
  • 15GB hotspot data
  • Unlimited usage in Mexico and Canada
  • Unlimited texting from U.S. to 120+ countries
  • $75 per month for one line
  • $130 per month for two lines
  • $150 per month for three lines
  • $160 per month for four lines

Unlimited Elite

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data
  • 100GB of Premium Data (usage before any deprioritization)
  • Videos stream at standard definition
  • 5G access
  • 30GB hotspot data
  • Unlimited usage in Mexico and Canada
  • Unlimited texting from U.S. to 120+ countries
  • $85 per month for one line
  • $150 per month for two lines
  • $180 per month for three lines
  • $200 per month for four lines

AT&T Unlimited

Unlimited Starter

Plenty of speed for most people with 5G access

AT&T's entry unlimited plan offers the features most people are looking for with plenty of data and 5G access and nothing more.

T-Mobile

With a current promotion, your third line is free via bill credits.

Essentials

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data (May be deprioritized during congestion)
  • 5G access
  • SD video streaming
  • Unlimited 3G hotspot
  • Texting abroad
  • $60 per month for one line
  • $90 per month for two lines
  • $90 per month for three lines
  • $105 per month for four lines

Magenta

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data (May be deprioritized during congestion after 50GB)
  • 5G access
  • SD video streaming
  • Unlimited 3G hotspot
  • 3GB 4G LTE hotspot
  • Data and texting abroad
  • 5GB of LTE data in Canada and Mexico
  • Netflix SD or Quibi (Two or more lines)
  • 1 hour in-flight Wi-Fi
  • Taxes and fees are included
  • $70 per month for one line
  • $120 per month for two lines
  • $120 per month for three lines
  • $140 per month for four lines

Magenta Plus

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data (May be deprioritized during congestion after 50GB)
  • 5G access
  • HD video streaming
  • Unlimited 3G hotspot
  • 20GB 4G LTE hotspot
  • Double speed data and texting abroad
  • 5GB of LTE data in Canada and Mexico
  • Netflix HD or Quibi (Two or more lines)
  • In-flight Wi-Fi
  • Name ID
  • Voicemail to text
  • Taxes and fees are included
  • $85 per month for one line
  • $140 per month for two lines
  • $140 per month for three lines
  • $170 per month for four lines

T-Mobile Unlimited

Magenta

Unlimited data with multi-line benefits

T-Mobile has some of the best values in postpaid and with 5G access and hotspot data on every plan, you can use a ton of data.

Verizon

Start Unlimited

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data
  • Talk and text in Canada and Mexico, 512MB of data at 4G speeds, then 2G
  • SD video streaming
  • Add 5G for $10 per month
  • $70 per month for one line
  • $60 per month per line for two lines
  • $45 per month per line for three lines
  • $35 per month per line for four lines
  • $30 per month per line for five or more lines

Play More Unlimited

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data
  • 5G access
  • Premium Network Access (50GB of premium data and optional 720p video streams)
  • 15GB of high-speed hotspot data
  • Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu included
  • Talk and text in Canada and Mexico, 512MB of data at 4G speeds then 2G
  • $80 per month for one line
  • $70 per month per line for two lines
  • $55 per month per line for three lines
  • $45 per month per line for four lines
  • $40 per month per line for five or more lines

Do More Unlimited

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data
  • 5G access
  • Premium Network Access (50GB of premium data and optional 720p video streams)
  • 15GB of high-speed hotspot data
  • Talk and text in Canada and Mexico, 512MB of data at 4G speeds then 2G
  • 50% off Unlimited connected device plans
  • 600GB cloud storage
  • $80 per month for one line
  • $70 per month per line for two lines
  • $55 per month per line for three lines
  • $45 per month per line for four lines
  • $40 per month per line for five or more lines

Get More Unlimited

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data
  • 5G access
  • Premium Network Access (50GB of premium data and optional 720p video streams)
  • 30GB of high-speed hotspot data
  • Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, and Apple Music included
  • Talk and text in Canada and Mexico, 512MB of data at 4G speeds then 2G
  • 50% off Unlimited connected device plans
  • 600GB cloud storage
  • $90 per month for one line
  • $80 per month per line for two lines
  • $65 per month per line for three lines
  • $55 per month per line for four lines
  • $50 per month per line for five or more lines

Just Kids

If you have at least one Verizon unlimited plan, you can add a line focused on delivering exactly what a kid needs to stay connected. Coming in at $50, $40, $30, or $25 if you have two through five lines, you get unlimited talk and text to 20 contacts and unlimited data at 5Mbps. This should be enough for most video streaming and messaging. It also comes with parental controls and location tracking.

Verizon Unlimited

Play More Unlimited

HD streaming with unlimited data and 5G access

Verizon's Play More Unlimited plan makes sense for a lot of smartphone users with Premium Network Access and Disney+ included.

The best unlimited data plan

OnePlus dual SIMSource: Android Central

The best plan is the one that works where you need it to work, not the one that's the cheapest. And we can't tell you which that one is because it's different for each of us. Paying more than you need to for phone service is a bad idea, but so is paying for service that doesn't work.

Generally, if you live outside of a metropolitan area that means Verizon. A look at live, user-generated coverage maps from Open Signal shows there are significant gaps in T-Mobile's coverage outside of metro areas. You will pay more for Verizon service when compared to T-Mobile (especially once taxes and fees are applied) but chances are Verizon will have the best coverage if you're in a rural area. There are exceptions, so be sure to investigate before you give any company your money.

T-Mobile now claims to cover 99% of Americans with LTE and most of the country with a huge 5G coverage map and with the aggressive way T-Mobile has been expanding its network, it's not too surprising. The Magenta plans offer one of the best bargains in unlimited. If you have good coverage in your area, T-Mobile is a better choice than it has ever been.

T-Mobile has also combined with Sprint, which has added millions of new customers to its network but also ensures that its 5G coverage is going to be better than Verizon or AT&T thanks to its robust 2.5Ghz spectrum. AT&T is hard at work building a 5G network and is making up ground on T-Mobile.

Of course, none of this includes any customer-loyalty offerings or legacy plans you might be using. In those cases, you might want to stick with the carrier you have now instead of switching because of new pricing or new promotions. Some 55+ and military discounts are also available with carriers that may be able to lower your bill.

All this makes it very difficult to make a one-size-fits-all recommendation about which plan is the best. If you need nationwide coverage in places that might be a little out of the way, Verizon is a better value than AT&T and generally has a better network according to independent studies from sources like Root Metrics. If you stay on the beaten path, T-Mobile offers a better deal.

We can't tell you which carrier will be the best for you. But we can tell you what to look for and where to start. Talk to your friends and see what services they are using and how well it's working, and call each company to see exactly what they have to offer. Most carriers have plans they don't advertise and one may fit your needs better than the default unlimited plans.

We just want you to enjoy the service you're paying for!

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