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from Verizon to Visible and beyond

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from Verizon to Visible and beyond

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re looking for the best unlimited data plan, you might be tempted to just hop over to Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The big three are solid options with good unlimited plans, but they aren’t your only option. There are many prepaid options out there that come close to matching or even exceeding what you’ll get from a mainline carrier. Of course, for some, a postpaid carrier really is the best option.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the best unlimited plans for all types of users: those looking for budget options, those looking for prepaid, and those who want to stick to a postpaid plan from one of the big three carriers.

Best cheap unlimited plans

There are a lot of cheap phone plans out there, but we most recommend a plan from Boost, Visible, or Mint Mobile. Here’s a quick breakdown of what makes each plan stand out and who it’s best suited for:

Boost Unlimited Visible base plan Mint Mobile Unlimited

Cost

Boost Unlimited

$25/monthly

Visible base plan

$35/monthly

Mint Mobile Unlimited

$30/month ($360 yearly)

Talk & Text

Boost Unlimited

Unlimited

Visible base plan

Unlimited

Mint Mobile Unlimited

Unlimited

Data

Boost Unlimited

30GB of LTE/5G
Reduced speeds after, dependent on congestion

Visible base plan

Unlimited LTE
Nationwide 5G

Mint Mobile Unlimited

40GB LTE/5G access
600Kbps speeds after

Hotspot

Boost Unlimited

Unlimited

Visible base plan

Unlimited

Mint Mobile Unlimited

Unlimited

International Service

Boost Unlimited

None

Visible base plan

None

Mint Mobile Unlimited

None

Extra Perks

Boost Unlimited

None

Visible base plan

None

Mint Mobile Unlimited

None

Network

Boost Unlimited

T-Mobile

Visible base plan

Verizon

Mint Mobile Unlimited

T-Mobile

Boost Mobile Unlimited is the best value

It’s hard to believe you can get unlimited data for just $25 a month, but that’s exactly what you get from Boost. The network uses T-Mobile for its coverage and gives you 30GB of prioritized data. After that, you’ll still have unlimited data but will see deprioritization in times of congestion.

While there’s a lot to love about this service, it is worth noting that you don’t get hotspot access. Boost offers a plan that adds on 12GB of hotspot access, but it’s $15 more expensive ($40 total).

Pros:

  • Great value
  • 30GB of prioritized data
  • Runs on the reliable T-Mobile network

Visible is best for those that use a TON of data

The average unlimited customer probably only consumes around 10-40GB of usage each month, but what if you rely on your phone’s connection as your primary means to get online? If that sounds like you, Visible could be a good fit. Years ago, I wrote a feature about using Visible as my only means of getting online and how I was able to use 100GB+ without any issues in a month. Even better, you get unlimited (capped at 5Mbps) hotspot access! 

For those that use a lot of data, Visible is hard to ignore. The only downside is the deprioritization on the base plan can be pretty heavy. While it never becomes unusable for me, Visible often hovers around the 2-8Mbps mark in congested cities or during peak hours. Outside of the city or in less busy hours, I can often get true LTE speeds. If you care more about how many gigs you can use than your actual speeds, Visible will suit you perfectly.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Truly unlimited use of hotspot and phone data

Cons:

  • Deprioritization can be a bit brutal
  • Hotspot use is capped at 5Mbps (sometimes it will go faster outside of peaks, however) 
  • Customer service is online only

Mint Mobile is a good deal for those that don’t mind paying ahead

Mint’s pricing slots in somewhere between Visible and Boost at $30 a month. Of course, there’s a catch, you have to pay 12 months of service in advance to get that rate. That’s $360 upfront, but at least it means you don’t have to worry about a bill for a while. For those that get big tax refunds, this could pair wonderfully with that — get your refund, pay your phone, and forget about it for another year. 

As for the actual service quality? Mint has some of the best customer service in the prepaid world, almost rivaling the bigger postpaid networks. It also gives you 40GB of high-speed data, which is more than enough for most. That said, if you use over 40Mbps, you still get unlimited access, just at 600Kbps. That’s basically enough to check email and not much more than that. 

Pros:

  • Good network quality
  • Good customer service 

Cons:

  • Not truly unlimited, as after 40GB you get barely usable speeds
  • Have to pay $360 upfront for the best rates possible

Best prepaid unlimited plans

visible

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

The best three prepaid unlimited plans are well-rounded as they represent each of the big three networks. In fact, only Google Fi is independently owned. Visible is the property of Verizon, while AT&T owns Cricket Wireless. Here’s a quick breakdown of what makes each plan stand out and who it’s best suited for:

Visible Plus Google Fi Simply Unlimited Cricket Wireless Unlimited

Cost

Visible Plus

$45 a month

Google Fi Simply Unlimited

$50 for 1 line
$80 for 2-4 lines
$100 per month for 5 lines

Cricket Wireless Unlimited

$55 for 1
$80 for 2
$90 for 3
$100 for 4
$125 for 5

Talk & Text

Visible Plus

Unlimited

Google Fi Simply Unlimited

Unlimited

Cricket Wireless Unlimited

Unlimited

Data

Visible Plus

Unlimited (unlimited prioritized data over Visible base and other MVNOs)

Google Fi Simply Unlimited

35GB of priority data
Deprioritized speeds after

Cricket Wireless Unlimited

Unlimited access, deprioritized during congestion

Hotspot

Visible Plus

Unlimited

Google Fi Simply Unlimited

5GB per person

Cricket Wireless Unlimited

$5 addition per line

International Service

Visible Plus

International access in Canada, Mexico, and a few other select countries

Google Fi Simply Unlimited

Free calls from US to Canada and Mexico

Cricket Wireless Unlimited

Calls/text/data for Mexico and Canada
Unlimited texts from the U.S. to 37 countries included

Extra Perks

Visible Plus

SD streaming

Google Fi Simply Unlimited

None

Cricket Wireless Unlimited

None

Network

Visible Plus

Verizon

Google Fi Simply Unlimited

T-Mobile (US Cellular for roaming)

Cricket Wireless Unlimited

AT&T

Visible Plus is the best for individuals

While Visible’s base plan is great, Visible Plus is amazing. You get truly unlimited prioritized data and while there is still some deprioritization during major peaks, it’s no more than you’d get from many other Verizon plans. You’ll definitely still get fast LTE and 5G speeds nearly around the clock. You also get unlimited hotspot access.

If you are looking for a plan that can also replace a home internet connection in a pinch, this could be it. We don’t recommend pushing Verizon’s “unlimited” boundaries to the test, but this service could be perfect if you mostly stick to your phone but need to use Visible for some streaming or work from a laptop. 

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Runs Verizon’s network, so it’s widely available in most parts of the US
  • Truly unlimited use of hotspot and phone data

Cons:

  • Customer service is online only

Google Fi Simply Unlimited is best for families

Visible Plus is our best pick for individuals, but what if you have a big family or want to share a plan with some friends? Google Fi Unlimited gets extremely affordable the more people you bring along with you. For example, you’ll pay just $120 a month for 6 lines; that’s the equivalent of $20 a piece. Even our best affordable pick, Boost Mobile, costs more than this, and yet Fi gives you more for that buck.

With Simply Unlimited, you get up to 35GB of prioritized data, free calls from the US to Canada or Mexico, and 5GB of hotspot access. Need even more? Unlimited Plus adds Unlimited data and texts in over 200 countries, 100GB of Google One storage per member, and a year of YouTube Premium for $65 per line for one user or as little as $40 per line for 6 lines. 

Pros:

  • Great value for families
  • Quality service based on T-Mobile’s network 

Cricket Wireless is great for those that want AT&T coverage

We won’t mince words; if you live in an area with equally great service from all three big carriers, we’d pick Google Fi or Visible over Cricket. That said, Cricket is a close third and is perfect if you live in an area with strong AT&T coverage. It’s a bit more expensive for families and individual users than either of the two other plans, and that’s without factoring in the costs to add hotspot access — something the other two plans offer for free. 

On the plus side, Cricket has some of the best customer service around. In fact, it rivals conventional carriers as it has a brick-and-mortar presence across the country. That’s in addition to phone or online support options. 

Pros:

  • Decent value for families (though Fi is better) 
  • Quality service based on AT&T’s network 

Cons:

  • A bit more expensive than its rivals

Best postpaid unlimited plans

T Mobile logo

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The big three carriers offer a variety of plans. In the list below, we’re focusing on the base plans for all three. Why’s that? Honestly, that’s what we recommend for most users. Unless you know that deprioritization is going to be too much for you or you have special needs like unlimited hotspot access, it’s much easier to start at the bottom and see what works for you.

Doesn’t meet what you want? It’s easy enough to upgrade to a better package. This section is a bit different from the other two because, really, none of these plans are really much better than one another. It’s more down to the network. Now, putting that aside, T-Mobile’s pricing is the most affordable and so if you just want one of the big three and don’t want to spend as much, we’d start there.

Care about the largest footprint for LTE and 5G access? Verizon might be your best bet. And finally, if you live in an area with strong AT&T coverage, you’ll want to go that route. It’s not that AT&T is worse than the other two; it’s more like a middle ground between the two. 

myPlan Unlimited Welcome AT&T Unlimited Starter T-Mobile Essentials

Cost

myPlan Unlimited Welcome

$65 for one line
$55 for two lines
$40 for three lines
$30 for four lines
$27 for five lines

AT&T Unlimited Starter

$65 for one line
$60 for two lines
$45 for three lines
$35 for four lines

T-Mobile Essentials

Prices per line:

$50 for one line
$40 for two lines
$30 for three lines
$25 for four lines

Talk & Text

myPlan Unlimited Welcome

Unlimited

AT&T Unlimited Starter

Unlimited

T-Mobile Essentials

Yes

Data

myPlan Unlimited Welcome

Unlimited 4G LTE
5G Nationwide

AT&T Unlimited Starter

Unlimited basic 4G LTE
5G access with compatible device

T-Mobile Essentials

Yes, but might slow down during congestion after 50GB per month

Hotspot

myPlan Unlimited Welcome

Not included

AT&T Unlimited Starter

Not included

T-Mobile Essentials

Unlimited 3G

International Service

myPlan Unlimited Welcome

Talk & Text in Mexico and Canada
Texting in over 200 countries

AT&T Unlimited Starter

Unlimited texting to 120 countries

T-Mobile Essentials

Unlimited texting and calling at $.25 in 215+ countries

Extra Perks

myPlan Unlimited Welcome

480p streaming
Can add perks for $10 each, including 100GB hotspot data, Apple Music, Apple One, Disney Plus bundle, and more

AT&T Unlimited Starter

Device security and spam risk alerts
Standard definition streaming

T-Mobile Essentials

None

T-Mobile Essentials is the best value from a postpaid carrier

The Essentials plan from T-Mobile is a cheap option that gives you a way to try T-Mobile’s postpaid service. You get great family line discounts, as the price for four lines is yours for as little $25 per line. There are also other postpaid perks like device installment plans, better customer service, and other small perks you wouldn’t get from a prepaid carrier.

Unfortunately, Essentials also isn’t prioritized as highly as other T-Mobile plans. If you’re in a congested area, the Essentials customer will see deprioritization first over other T-Mobile customers. If that sounds like a deal breaker to you, the next best choice is to upgrade to the T-Mobile Go5G plan. 

Pros:

  • Best value in postpaid cell service

Cons:

  • Deprioritization is worse than other T-mobile plans and other carriers 

Verizon myPlan Unlimited Welcome is the best Verizon plan.. and maybe the best period now?

Verizon is actually the simplest of the postpaid carriers anymore, as it just has two plans: Welcome and Plus. For most users, Welcome will do the job. It starts at $65 a line but scales down to as cheap as $27 a line for five lines.

That’s pretty affordable, but there are a few downsides, such as you aren’t given any premium data. This means you won’t always get the fastest speeds during times of congestion. That said, my wife personally uses this and has never had an issue. Another downer is you are limited to SD streaming unless you’re willing to pay $5 extra to upgrade to HD streaming.

You still get unlimited access to 4G LTE with 5G Nationwide access, but there is no wideband, which is the faster city-only version of Verizon’s 5G service. You also get unlimited talk and text, and that includes international locations like Mexico and Canada.

As with all Verizon plans in 2023, there are no included perks, but you can add on a perk for $10 a month. These can be easily switched through the app at any time and are cheaper than if you’d get the services directly. Some of the perks included a Disney Plus bundle, a Walmart Plus membership, Apple Music Family, premium hotspot access, and more. 

Pros:

  • It’s pretty affordable, especially for familes
  • Get only the perks you need
  • You get access to Verizon’s extensive 5g/LTE network 
  • International calling to locations such as Mexico and Canada

Cons:

  • It limits video streaming to standard definition (480p)
  • There’s no hotspot data or priority access
  • Adding perks can be more expensive than Verizon’s older plans that included perks

AT&T Starter is a good place to start with AT&T if your needs are more basic

AT&T Starter is a good introductory plan for those that aren’t sure what they need out of their postpaid plan. You get unlimited talk, text, and LTE/5G for just $65 for one line. A second line will save you $5; a third line drops the cost to $45 per month or $35 for four lines.

There aren’t any special perks or extras with Starter. You also don’t get any premium data, similar to T-Mobile Essentials. 

Pros:

  • It offers unlimited data (though there is deprioritization)
  • The service is affordably priced for families

Cons:

  • It limits video streaming to standard definition (480p)
  • You are deprioritized over other plans during times of congestion 

There are more options where that came from

There are a lot of good unlimited plans out there. This is especially true in the prepaid space. In fact, some of the best prepaid options are found directly from T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. There are also options like Telo, US Mobile, and the list goes on. We highly recommend checking out our guide to the best prepaid phone plans for more details, as well as our breakdown to the differences between postpaid vs prepaid coverage.

The cheapest plan is the Boost Mobile Unlimited plan for $25 a month. You can learn more in our best Boost Mobile plans guide.

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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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