Verizon’s new unlimited data plans that were introduced last week have replaced the unlimited offering from February that brought Big Red back into the unlimited game and that we thought was a pretty solid deal in this ultra-sneaky US wireless industry. The new plans are OK, but certainly not as good as that original option since they include throttled video and slightly increased prices that all but confirm Verizon’s network might not be ready for a world filled with 4K video on-demand. So because Verizon brought us new plans, it’s now time to update our US wireless unlimited data plan comparison.
The last time we did this was in February just after Verizon brought back unlimited data. Since that day, AT&T has adjusted things, as has T-Mobile and a number of you have requested some clarity on when things are throttled, how much they are throttled, and what other kinds of perks might be involved.
Unlimited Data Plans Comparison
|Price||Go Unlimited: $75 for 1 line, $65/line for 2 lines, $40/line for 4 lines|
Beyond Unlimited: $85 for 1 line, $80/line for 2 lines, $50/line for 4 lines
Taxes and fees not included
|Unlimited Choice: $60 for 1 line, $115 for 2 lines, plus $20 for lines 3-10|
Unlimited Plus: $90 for 1 line, $145 for 2 lines, plus $20 for lines 3-10
Taxes and fees not included
|T-Mobile One: $70 for 1 line, $100 for 2 lines, $160 for 4 lines|
T-Mobile One Plus: Same price + $10/line/mo
Taxes and fees included
|Unlimited Freedom Promo: $50 for 1 line, $90 for 2 lines, $0 for line 3-5|
Unlimited Freedom (in 12 months): $60 for line 1, $100 for 2 lines, $30 per line 3 and 4
|Data||Go Unlimited: Unlimited data with throttling in congested areas per line any time|
Beyond Unlimited: Premium Unlimited data with throttling in congested areas per line after 22GB
|Unlimited Choice: Unlimited data at 3Mbps max speed|
Unlimited Plus: Unlimited data with throttling in congested areas per line after 22GB
|Unlimited data with network management per line after 50GB||Unlimited data with throttling in congested areas per line after 23GB|
-Music streaming throttled to 1.5Mbps
-Gaming throttled to 8Mbps
|Hotspot||Go Unlimited: Unlimited at 600kbps|
Beyond Unlimited: 15GB 4G LTE speeds per line, 600kbps after
|Unlimited Choice: No tethering|
Unlimited Plus: 10GB per line
128Kbps speeds after
|T-Mobile One: Unlimited at 3G speeds (512kbps)|
T-Mobile One Plus: 10GB per line, 3G speeds after
|10GB per line, 2G speeds after|
|Video Quality||Go Unlimited: DVD-quality (480p)|
Beyond Unlimited: HD-quality (720p)
|Unlimited Choice: Up to 480p|
Unlimited Plus: Stream video in HD quality, when available; customer can throttle with Stream Saver
|T-Mobile One: Up to 480p|
T-Mobile One Plus: Unlimited HD video streaming; customer needs to turn option on
|Up to 1080p video|
|Canada and Mexico Roaming||Go Unlimited: Not included|
Beyond Unlimited: Unlimited calling and texting to and from, plus 512MB/day 4G LTE data in either country (2G after)
|Unlimited Choice and Plus: Unlimited calling, texting, and data to and from; need to turn on free Roam North America feature.||T-Mobile One and One Plus: Unlimited calling, texting, and data to and from||Free text and data up to 2G speeds|
|Other Bonuses||Verizon Up rewards program||Unlimited Choice: Save $25/mo on DirecTV Now|
Unlimited Plus: Free HBO; Save $25/mo on DirecTV Now
|T-Mobile One: Unlimited texting and 1 hour free data on GoGo flights|
T-Mobile One Plus: Unlimited in-flight WiFi on GoGo flights
|Sign-up||Verizon Unlimited||AT&T Unlimited||T-Mobile Unlimited||Sprint Unlimited|
Whose Unlimited Data Plans Changed?
So what has changed since then? It’s pretty straight-forward really. Verizon ditched their Verizon Unlimited plan that only lived for about six months and created two new plans: Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited. Go is $5 cheaper than the original, while Beyond is $5 more expensive, at least in terms of a single line charge. The multi-line prices mostly match for Go and the old plan, but the Beyond plan is certainly more expensive on almost all levels. Go subscribers could see throttling at any time when in a congested area, plus they only get 480p video (DVD-quality), and hotspot at 600kbps. With Beyond, it’s close to the original unlimited plan, but streams are capped at 720p while hotspot has actually jumped to 15GB from 10GB.
For AT&T, their Choice and Plus plans haven’t changed much at all, but they are doing bundles now with DirecTV NOW, where you can add-on TV service for next to nothing. If anything, should you want DirecTV NOW and AT&T unlimited, you can walk away with a pretty solid deal.
T-Mobile hasn’t changed much either, but their Plus pricing has gone down and back up again, now sitting at $10 per month as an add-on. They also upped the per line data limit before they throttle to 32GB (was previously 30GB). They still remain the highest in that department.
Sprint hasn’t changed a thing from what I can tell, but does still offer up to 1080p video, something Verizon doesn’t do on either plan anymore.
Which of the Unlimited Data Plans Should You Choose?
Isn’t that the question we all want the answer to? That’s a tough call. I think our readers have now mostly split between Verizon and T-Mobile, which says something because Verizon used to dominate this space. That shift is in large part because T-Mobile’s network continues to grow, stabilize, and increase its performance output. Verizon may still have the bigger blanket and offer that stability in rural areas, but T-Mobile is trying to get there in a hurry. Meanwhile, Sprint and AT&T don’t seem to be making the same kinds of investments in expansion like those two and have fallen behind around here.
I bring all of that up because as the US wireless carrier competition battles over price, it all really comes down to network and whether or not your daily life will be covered adequately. In the end, it’s up to you to do that bit of testing from each to see if T-Mobile or Sprint or Verizon or AT&T’s networks will get the job done.