Skip to main content

What carriers don't tell you about unlimited plans

Galaxy S8 with SIM cards
Galaxy S8 with SIM cards (Image credit: Android Central)

Unlimited. It seems like a great deal on paper. No need to worry about overages. No need to worry about bandwidth limitations or unexpected fees. Total freedom to use your smartphone wherever, whenever, and however you see fit. There's a catch, of course. There's always a catch. That's the thing carriers love to leave out when they're talking about offering unlimited anything, especially data.

Nothing is truly unlimited. Even a quick browse through the fine print of any carrier agreement is evidence enough of that. There are always restrictions on how you use your data, on how you leverage the carrier's service. Most commonly, this takes the form of a data cap, a hard limit on how much data you're allowed to use. After you hit that cap, your carrier begins throttling your connection. The rate at which throttling is applied varies, but virtually every major carrier does this.

And they aren't shy about showing it, either. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have for over a year now offered tiered unlimited data plans, with each tier having its own usage cap. They're all still technically unlimited in that you'll never lose connectivity altogether.

But at the same time, "unlimited" is a huge misnomer. Because once you've gone over your cap, you'll likely be dealing with speeds so slow you might wish you'd lost connectivity altogether. After all, as anyone who's experienced it will tell you, a lagging connection is quite possibly one of the most frustrating things in the world. Granted, there have to be some restrictions. Carriers have limited network infrastructure. Sometimes, they may need to throttle connectivity to preserve resources, particularly in times of high demand.

US Mobile plans banner

That doesn't mean should have to navigate a confusing, labyrinthine mass of terms, conditions, and restrictions just for the sake of an unlimited plan. That's a system that only benefits the carriers - not the customer. There's a better way. With US Mobile, you can build your own custom plan starting at just $4/month. It's just $10 for unlimited talk and text, and $40 for unlimited talk, text and high-speed data up to 50 GB. Also, while they are not allowed to say it, US Mobile's Super LTE network runs on Verizon which is pretty great. Their unlimited plans come with stackable and customizable perks like Disney+, Spotify and more, and up to 10GB of free international roaming. If unlimited isn't quite your speed, there are also multiple options for customizing your minutes and bandwidth, with the option to top-up at any time.

More importantly, you'll have access to a dashboard that allows you to manage every single line on your account, with a complete, easily-digestible breakdown of your usage. It's a great alternative to the current state of affairs with mobile carriers, one built on transparency and trust rather than the bottom line.