US Cellular won’t be sitting out the new unlimited data plan trend that has taken over the US wireless industry. According to a reliable source, US Cellular will introduce its own unlimited data plan(s) option this Friday with a starting price of $60 for a single line.
To be precise, an entire new line-up of single line/non-shared plans will arrive in a couple of days under the title, Total Plans. There will be 2GB ($40) and 6GB ($50) options to go along with the Unlimited plan and its higher-definition friend, Unlimited Plus. You can see a pricing chart below, but the Unlimited Total Plan will start at $60 for a single line, with Auto Pay and paperless billing enabled. The Plus option starts at $80.
The new plans are being billed as “Total Plans with no hidden fees,” so you shouldn’t expect activation fees, upgrade fees, monthly connection charges, or data overage charges. Taxes, regulatory fees, and any other additional subscriber services (like protection plans) will still be charged. In other words, this isn’t the flat rate T-Mobile method.
US Cellular’s version of unlimited data is similar to that of other carriers, in that they offer “unlimited” to a certain extent, but their plan is filled with asterisks. According to training documents reviewed by us, US Cellular’s Unlimited plan “will have the ability to stream video on a small screen, stream music, check email, use GPS, and browse the internet with a quality data experience.” What does “quality data experience” mean? Well, the Unlimited Total Plan will show “standard definition” streams (480p), so in order to get “high definition,” they’ll have to upgrade to an Unlimited Plus plan. “High definition” to US Cellular means a cap at 720p. The 2GB and 6GB plans get to stream at “full network speed,” though.
Here is the pricing breakdown by line with Auto Pay:
To kick off these new plans, US Cellular is also tossing in an extra promotional discount depending on the number of lines. This is a discount to go along with the Auto Pay discount. Here are those numbers:
As far as other notes to be aware of with these new plans:
- US Cellular is suggesting that they’ll throttle the Unlimited plans at 22GB of data to 2G speeds. And I’m not talking about only when on a congested network; I’m seeing that it’s a hard throttle at 22GB. I’m not sure how that is unlimited, but OK.
- US Cellular will apparently not advertise the Plus option.
- Plans 6GB and up will include unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada.
- Stretch Data and Shared Connect plans will still be available.
Again, these new plans go live on Friday.
UPDATE: US Cellular made the plans official today. Press release is below.
U.S. CELLULAR INTRODUCES UNLIMITED DATA OFFERING AMONG ITS NEW TOTAL PLANS WITH NO HIDDEN FEES
CHICAGO (Feb. 24, 2017) – Straightforward wireless plans that eliminate the confusion of hidden fees are now available. U.S. Cellular® has introduced new Total Plans with No Hidden Fees – no activation fees, no monthly device connection charges, no phone upgrade fees and no data overage fees. And because you can’t get more straightforward than unlimited, consumers and small businesses can now get unlimited data with U.S. Cellular for as low as $40 per line for 4 lines or just $60 per month for a single line with autopay/paperless billing enrollment.
“We want to be forthright with customers by knocking out hidden fees once and for all and showing wireless users exactly what they are paying for. Our new plans allow families and small businesses to customize their plans for each individual’s needs, from 2GB of data to unlimited, all with simplified pricing and discounts,” said Grant Leech, vice president of brand management at U.S. Cellular. “We also know that in order to deliver a great wireless experience, we need to have a reliable network that keeps up with the data demands of our customers, so we provide a fast 4G LTE network that works when and where our customers need it.”
U.S. Cellular’s new Total Plans with No Hidden Fees include unlimited talk and text with buckets of 2GB, 6GB and unlimited data, and they include family discounts that reward customers when they add additional lines. The data is not shared, so customers can pick the right data amounts for each person on the account. There are no data overage fees, so customers can feel confident that their wireless usage charges will be the same every month.
U.S. Cellular’s unlimited offering includes video streaming, hot-spot capability and free calling to Mexico and Canada. These plans are available to new and current customers, and those purchasing new devices can take advantage of the monthly payment option that best meets their needs – from 20, 24 or 30 months.
U.S. Cellular’s New Total Plans with No Hidden Fees:
Taxes and charges such as USF and RCRF apply.
*Auto Pay/Paperless Billing required. Unlimited data plans will stream at standard definition speeds and will automatically shift to 2G when each line reaches 22GB. 2GB and 6GB data plans will stream at high definition
speeds and will automatically shift to 2G when each line reaches the plans high-speed allotment.
Things we want you to know: Total Plan and Retail Installment Contract for Smartphone and basic phone purchases or Customer Service Agreement with a 2-yr. initial term (subject to a pro-rated $150 early termination fee for modems and hotspot devices and a $350 early termination fee for Tablets) required. Credit approval also required. A Regulatory Cost Recovery Fee (currently $2.02) applies; this is not a tax or gvmt. required charge. Additional charges, taxes, terms, conditions and coverage areas may apply and vary by plan, service and phone. Offers valid at participating locations only and cannot be combined. Kansas Customers: In areas in which U.S. Cellular receives support from the Federal Universal Service Fund, all reasonable requests for service must be met. Unresolved questions concerning services availability can be directed to the Kansas Corporation Commission Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at 1-800-662-0027. Limited time offer. Trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective owners. 4G LTE service may be provided through King Street Wireless, a partner of U.S. Cellular. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. See uscellular.com or Associate for details. ©2017 U.S. Cellular