The big four networks in the United States (AT&T, Sprint, 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.

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.

Top speed

Samsung Galaxy S10+

The best unlocked performance

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the top of the Galaxy lineup with a huge and beautiful display on the front and great cameras on the back. With quick software updates and a polished design, this is one of the best phones you can buy.

AT&T

Unlimited &More Premium

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Subject to data throttling after 22GB
  • 15 GB mobile hotspot (tethering)
  • Full 1080p video streaming when Stream Saver is turned off
  • Unlimited calls to and free roaming in Mexico and Canada
  • Send unlimited texts to 120 countries
  • Live TV included for free ($15/month value)
  • Your choice of HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, VRV, or Pandora Premium
  • One line of service on an AT&T Unlimited &More Premium plan is $80
  • Two lines of service for $150
  • Three lines cost $170 while four will set you back $190

Unlimited &More

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Subject to data throttling
  • Standard definition video streaming (480p)
  • Streaming speeds are capped at 1.5Mbps
  • Unlimited calls to and free roaming in Mexico and Canada
  • Send unlimited texts to 120 countries
  • Live TV included for free ($15/month value)
  • One line of service on an AT&T Unlimited Choice plan is $70
  • Two lines of service for $125
  • Three lines cost $145 while four will set you back $160

AT&T Unlimited

Unlimited &More Premium

HD Streaming and a hotspot

Get the most out of an unlimited plan with HD streaming and no throttling until 22GB. Stream as much of the included TV as you want without getting cut off.

Sprint

Unlimited Premium

  • Required for 5G
  • Unlimited talk, text, and unrestricted LTE data
  • 100GB LTE mobile hotspot
  • Unlimited talk, text, and LTE data when in Mexico and Canada
  • Global text and data in over 200 countries
  • Hulu included for free ($7.99/month value)
  • Tidal Premium included for free ($9.99/month value)
  • Amazon Prime included for free ($12.99/month value)
  • Lookout Premium Plus included for free ($9.99/month value)
  • Two $10 Uber credits each month included for free
  • One line of service is $80/month
  • $60/month for second line, $40/month for lines 3 through 5
  • Lines 3 through 5 for $20/month until 9/30/2020

Unlimited Plus

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Unlimited data for streaming video up to 1080p
  • Unlimited data for gaming up to 8Mbps
  • Unlimited data for streaming music up to 1.5Mbps
  • 50GB LTE mobile hotspot
  • Unlimited talk, text, and 10GB of LTE data when in Mexico and Canada
  • Global text and data in over 200 countries
  • Hulu included for free ($7.99/month value)
  • Tidal Premium included for free ($9.99/month value)
  • One line of service is $70/month
  • $50/month for second line, $30/month for lines 3 through 5
  • Lines 3 through 5 for $10/month until 9/30/2020

Unlimited Basic

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Unlimited data for streaming video up to 480p
  • Unlimited data for gaming up to 2Mbps
  • Unlimited data for streaming music up to 500Kbps
  • 500MB LTE mobile hotspot
  • Unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of LTE data when in Mexico and Canada
  • Global text and data in over 200 countries
  • Hulu included for free ($7.99/month value)
  • One line of service is $60/month
  • $40/month for second line, $20/month each for lines 3 through 5
  • 2 to 5 lines for $100/month until 9/30/2020

Sprint Unlimited

Unlimited Plus

HD streaming and a bunch of extras

Plenty of speed for streaming and a 50 GB hotspot make this a great choice for the heavy user with good Sprint signal. Included video and music streaming let you make the most of your data.

T-Mobile

Essentials

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data (May be deprioritized at 50GB)
  • SD video streaming
  • Unlimited 3G hotspot
  • Texting abroad
  • $30/month per line

Magenta

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data (May be deprioritized at 50GB)
  • SD video streaming
  • Unlimited 3G hotspot
  • 3GB 4G LTE hotspot
  • Data and texting abroad
  • 5GB of LTE data in Canada and Mexico
  • Netflix (1 screen SD)
  • 1 hour in flight Wi-Fi
  • $40/month per line

Magenta Plus

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data (May be deprioritized at 50GB)
  • 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 (2 screens HD)
  • In flight Wi-Fi
  • Name ID
  • Voicemail to text
  • $50/month per line

T-Mobile Unlimited

Magenta

Unlimited data and Netflix included

With Netflix in the bundle and unlimited 3G hotspot and unlimited 4G data on the phone, this is a great package for a Netflix addict with on the go. Don't worry about video buffering on hotel Wi-Fi any longer.

Verizon

Above Unlimited

  • Compatible with 5G
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • 75GB of Premium Unlimited 4G LTE data
  • Video streaming at 720p
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot (first 20GB at LTE speeds)
  • Unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada
  • 5 free TravelPasses per month that offer 512MB of LTE data per day (usable in 130 countries, usage cannot exceed 50% outside of the U.S.)
  • Verizon Up Rewards
  • Apple Music included
  • 500GB of Verizon Cloud
  • $95/month for one line
  • $180/month for two lines
  • $210/month for three lines and $240/month for four lines

Beyond Unlimited

  • Compatible with 5G
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • 22GB of Premium Unlimited 4G LTE data
  • Video streaming at 720p
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot (first 15GB at LTE speeds)
  • Unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada
  • 512MB of LTE per day in Mexico and Canada (usage cannot exceed 50% outside of the U.S.)
  • Verizon Up Rewards
  • Apple Music included
  • $85/month for one line
  • $160/month for two lines
  • $180/month for three lines and $200/month for four lines

Go Unlimited

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited 4G LTE data (your speeds will be throttled more often compared to Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited customers)
  • Video streaming at 480p
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot (max speed of 600Kbps)
  • Unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada
  • 512MB of LTE per day in Mexico and Canada (usage cannot exceed 50% outside of the U.S.)
  • Verizon Up Rewards
  • Six months of Apple Music included for free ($9.99/month value)
  • $75/month for one line
  • $130/month for two lines
  • $150/month for three lines and $160/month for four lines

Verizon Unlimited

Beyond Unlimited

HD streaming on unlimited data and hotspot

With HD streaming and unlimited data on the phone and hotspot with slow down at 22GB and 15GB respectively, you can use this massive network to its fullest with this plan.

The best unlimited data plan

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 with the aggressive way T-Mobile has been expanding its network, it's not too surprising. The new 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.

Sprint's pricing offers a good value, but there are some very valid concerns about their network footprint. These can't be ignored when talking about "the best," though. Sprint has taken great strides to improve their coverage, and if Sprint works everywhere you need it to work, you should definitely take a look at what they have to offer.

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 the 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!

Top speed

Samsung Galaxy S10+

The best unlocked performance

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the top of the Galaxy lineup with a huge and beautiful display on the front and great cameras on the back. With quick software updates and a polished design, this is one of the best phones you can buy.

Your turn

What carrier do you subscribe to? Are you happy or are you looking for something new? Add your experience to the comments and help sort this mess out!

Update, July 2019: This article has been updated to reflect changes to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon's unlimited plans — mainly, 5G requirements and T-Mobile's new Magenta plans.

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