The Best Unlimited Data Plans for 2022

In 2017, something miraculous happened: Almost every major carrier in the United States announced revamped, tweaked, or entirely new unlimited data plans. Since then, a number of things have changed. Sprint was bought by T-Mobile, and all the major carriers have rolled out their own versions of 5G, to name but a few.

But that doesn’t mean they’ve brought all their plans together, and having “unlimited” data doesn’t mean all the plans are equal. Beyond subtle (and not-so-subtle) variations in pricing, there’s fine print to consider. Some plans slow the download speeds of subscribers who exceed a data limit. Others impose caps on certain forms of traffic. Others omit basic benefits like tethering.

Thankfully, you don’t have to wade through all the offers. We’ve broken down each of the major four carriers’ best unlimited data plans to see which offers the most bang for your buck.

Is an unlimited data plan not for you? We’ve also got guides to the best individual plans and the best family plans. Hoping to save a buck? We’ve got a guide to finding the best cheap phone plan, too.

At a glance

Carrier Price Throttling cap Tethering Other extras
T-Mobile $85-$200 None 40GB T-Mobile Tuesdays, free Netflix subscription, international data and calling
Verizon $70-$200 50GB 15GB of 5G; unlimited 4G LTE 600GB cloud storage, 6 months of Apple Music, 6 months of Discovery+ subscription, Verizon Up rewards
AT&T $65-$225 100GB 30GB of high-speed; unlimited 3G HBO Max
U.S. Cellular $65-$180 50GB 30GB Free Redbox rentals, Robocall protection

The best

T-Mobile Magenta Max Plan

t mobile

It’s tough to choose a winner among four imperfect unlimited data plans, but one stands above the rest. We think T-Mobile offers the best value for your money.

Why we chose it

T-Mobile’s Magenta Max plan is more than just an unlimited plan. For $85, subscribers get 5G, unlimited data that won’t be throttled after a certain amount of use, 4K UHD streaming, and 40GB of tethering data. But that’s not all — they also get benefits other carriers don’t offer. T-Mobile Magenta Max customers also get the following benefits:

  • Netflix on Us — a Netflix subscription for single lines and family plans
  • Unlimited UHD streaming up to 4K UHD resolution
  • Discounts on fast food, Lyft rides, movie tickets, and more, every Tuesday
  • Unlimited Gogo texting and Wi-Fi on flights
  • Free texting and data in 210 countries
  • Unlimited texts, talk, and data in Canada and Mexico, with 5GB of 4G
  • Scam Shield Premium protection including Scam Block and Caller ID

If $85 is a little expensive, then T-Mobile’s Essential and Magenta plans still offer a lot of extra data. For $60, the Essential plan offers 5G, unlimited talk and text, 50GB of data, and unlimited 3G tethering. For $70, you get the Magenta plan with unlimited talk and text, 5G, 100GB of data, and 5GB of 4G tethering data.

For $85 a month, there’s no better unlimited plan out there, even if Verizon comes close. Its midrange unlimited plan’s pricing ($80 for a single line), terms, and geographic area reach the rank of best in class. But T-Mobile’s truly unlimited data, strong extras, and 40GB of tethering put it over the finish line ahead of Big Red for us. The top-of-the-line plan from Verizon offers some strong free additions like Disney+, but does limit you to 50GB of data before throttling, for $90. You could get that level of “unlimited” data from T-Mobile for just $60, which means Verizon falls a little flat in delivering truly unlimited data.

In the next few sections, we’ll go over all of the details of each carrier’s unlimited plan.

Each unlimited plan in detail

Verizon’s Unlimited Data Plans

verizon

Pricing

Verizon offers five unlimited data plans: Start Unlimited, Play More Unlimited, Do More Unlimited, Get More Unlimited, and Just Kids. All offer 5G and unlimited talk, texts, and data, but they’re slightly different, and the best for you will depend on what you’re after.

Verizon’s Unlimited plans begin with Start Unlimited. For $70 a month, users get Verizon’s 5G Nationwide, unlimited data, 480p video streaming, 6 months of Apple Music, Disney+, and Discovery+. You can add the faster 5G Ultra Wideband for an extra $10 a month. There is one major caveat to Start Unlimited — while there is no specific cap before throttling, Start Unlimited is always deprioritized during congestion. That may not be a big deal if you live in the country, but if you live in a major city, you could experience frequent slowdowns.

Play More and Do More Unlimited are both $80 and have 5G Ultra Wideband, but otherwise come with different features. Play More has 6 months of Apple Music, 12 months of Discovery+, and a subscription to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN included and allows 720p video streaming, while Do More only offers 6 free months of Disney+, Apple Music, and Discovery+, 480p streaming, 600GB of cloud storage, and 50% off Unlimited connected device plans. Both have a 50GB data cap before throttling. Unless you have a desperate need for 600GB of cloud storage or the half-off other Unlimited plans, the benefits included in the Play More package are likely to appeal to more people.

Get More Unlimited is the top plan and includes a 50GB cap, 720p video streaming, and Apple Music, Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ included for $90, as well as 12 months of Discovery+, 600GB of cloud storage, and 50% off Unlimited connected device plans.

Just Kids is a basic plan. For $50, children get 5GB of 4G data, 480p video streaming, and special security options for parents. Just Kids requires at least one standard unlimited plan before qualifying.

To compete with T-Mobile Tuesdays, Verizon has also introduced Verizon Up, a monthly rewards program that includes discounts and gift cards for tech, restaurants, and other services.

People Start Unlimited Play More Unlimited Do More Unlimited Get More Unlimited
1 $70 $80 $80 $90
2 $120 $140 $140 $160
3 $135 $165 $165 $195
4 $140 $180 $180 $220
5 $150 $200 $200 $250

Benefits

  • Coverage on one of the country’s most reliable networks
  • Massive 5G network
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot data
  • Calls and texts to and from Canada and Mexico
  • Excellent benefits package included a number of free subscriptions

It’s worth noting that Verizon’s network is one of the country’s most reliable. Independent surveys by RootMetrics and others are largely in agreement: As far as coverage in rural areas is concerned, Big Red is tough to beat.

Drawbacks

  • Plans are less universal with offerings
  • Video streams capped at 480p at 720p depending on your device and plan, no 1080p option

T-Mobile Unlimited Plans

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Pricing

T-Mobile’s unlimited plan pricing is extremely competitive, across a number of plans. The Essentials plan gives you everything you might need for $60 for a single line, including unlimited data at full speed up 50GB, tethering at 3G speeds, and unlimited streaming at 480p. So while you’ll be throttled for over 50GB of data in a month, and 3G tethering really not being all that great, if you need a solid, if basic, unlimited contract, the Essential plan comes at a great price.

Otherwise, the Magenta plan is hard to pass up. It’s not as strong as the Magenta Max we detailed above, but it’s still excellent. Costing $70/month for a single line, it only throttles after 100GB of data, comes with a basic Netflix subscription, and includes 5GB of 4G tethering (dropping down to 3G after the first 5GB).

Aside from those, T-Mobile’s other two plans also include similar bonuses to Magenta Max, including free international texting, 5G access, scam protection, T-Mobile Tuesdays, and other solid perks. So while you’re missing out on HD streaming and will get throttled if you use above the monthly limit, both are strong options if you’re looking to save a little money.

T-Mobile offers discounted pricing for seniors. One Unlimited 55+ starts at $40, $50, or $65 for the first line and includes all of the benefits of T-Mobile’s other unlimited plans. The only caveat? Essential plan subscribers are limited to a maximum of two voice lines per plan. But if your primary billpayer is over 55, then everyone on their plan can benefit from their discount on the Magenta and Magenta Max plans.

Finally, T-Mobile also offers special Magenta packages for military personnel and first responders, with prices for the Magenta starting at $55 or $70 for Magenta Max, for a single line.

T-Mobile’s plan, like Verizon’s, includes a $5-per-month discount for subscribers who enable bill autopay.

People T-Mobile Essentials T-Mobile Magenta T-Mobile Magenta Max
1 $60 $70 $85
2 $90 $120 $140
3 $90 $120 $140
4 $105 $140 $170
5 $120 $160 $200

Benefits

  • Coverage on one of the country’s fastest networks
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot data (at 3G for Essential customers and after limits on other plans)
  • Speeds for Essential customers won’t throttle until 50GB
  • T-Mobile Tuesday gifts and discounts
  • Texting and data in 200 countries
  • Free Netflix subscription for Magenta and Magenta max customers

Drawbacks

  • Video capped at 480p on everything but Magenta Max
  • Speeds throttled after 50GB 4G LTE on Essential

AT&T

att logo building 1

Pricing

AT&T made headlines when it announced it would widen the availability of its unlimited data plan, previously exclusive to customers of its DirecTV and U-Verse television packages, to new and existing customers. The carrier originally had two unlimited data plan options: Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Choice. They changed, following its merger with Time Warner, to AT&T Unlimited Starter, AT&T Unlimited Extra, and AT&T Unlimited Elite.

Unlimited Starter begins at $65 dollars for one line, $120 for two, $135 for three, and just $140 for four lines. The Starter plan includes unlimited data, talk and text, and standard definition video streaming. Like Verizon’s basic plan, there is no data cap, but the plan will be deprioritized during congestion, and you don’t get any tethering options.

Unlimited Extra will cost you $75 for one line and $130 for two, and includes 50GB of premium data. The Elite package costs $85 for one line and $150 for two, but you will receive free access to HBO Max, and get an impressive 100GB of premium data. Elite also bumps video streaming from standard to high definition.

All three plans include access to 5G, unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada, unlimited texting to over 120 countries, and at least a basic mobile security app.

For those who enable bill autopay, AT&T offers a discount of $5 per month for a single line and a $10 per month discount for subscribers who have multiple lines.

People Unlimited Starter Unlimited Extra Unlimited Elite 
1 $65 $75 $85
2 $120 $130 $150
3 $135 $150 $180
4 $140 $160 $200
5 $150 $175 $225

Benefits

  • Unlimited texts to over 120 countries
  • Unlimited calls in Mexico and Canada, along with free roaming
  • HBO Max adds value for the Unlimited Elite plan

AT&T’s unlimited data plans are relatively basic. After you use your allowance of tethering data, your tethering speeds will be reduced to 128kbps, which is mostly unusable.

Drawbacks

  • Plans are getting pricier, while competition is getting cheaper
  • Fewer benefits than the competition

U.S. Cellular

u s cellular store
Corey Coyle via Wikimedia Commons

Pricing

The loss of Sprint has left a pretty big hole in our list, but thankfully, U.S. Cellular has stepped into the breach. U.S. Cellular has some decent unlimited options for you if you’re not a fan of the Big Three’s plans.

The Everyday package is the basic unlimited option offered up first, and it starts at $65 a month for a single line, with a second line coming in at $62.50 each. That price gets you unlimited talk, text, and data, Robocall protection, and the option for HD streaming up to 720p. There is a 25GB data cap though, and your data could start to be slow during congestion even when you’re under the limit. You also get access to a free Redbox movie rental a month, 15GB of tethering, and roaming in Mexico and Canada of 500MB of data, 100 minutes, and text messages.

The Even Better tier is exactly that. You get everything you got on the Everyday tier, plus twice the amount of roaming in Mexico and Canada, 30GB of tethering data, a 50GB data cap, two Redbox movie rentals a month, and Full HD streaming. It’s basically the Everyday tier, but twice over. That only costs $5 more for a single line at $70/month. 5G is also included in both plans, but don’t expect to see U.S. Cellular’s 5G network sweep the country in the same way as other carriers. Not yet, anyway.

People Everyday Even Better
1 $65 $70
2 $125 $135
3 $145 $160
4 $160 $180

Benefits

  • HD streaming at basic level, Full HD on advanced level
  • Even Better is good value
  • Good amount of tethering data

Drawbacks

  • 5G network not as large as other carriers
  • Benefits are a little lacking compared to others
  • Possibility of throttling, even when within limits

Editors’ Recommendations






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