What’s the best unlimited data plan in the U.S. right now?

All three major carriers in the U.S. offer unlimited cell phone data plans. But which is the best?

The big three networks in the United States, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, all offer at least one unlimited cell phone data plan. That’s important for power data users as well as anyone who uses their mobile broadband internet as their sole way for staying in touch with friends and family or for entertainment. These days, many of us just don’t have time to wait around for slower data.

But just because all carriers offer unlimited data, it doesn’t mean that all plans are created equal. Pricing is important, as are "extras" like tethering and the hidden data cap that pushes you back to slower speeds once 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. It is also worth keeping in mind that many of the best MVNO carriers offer unlimited data for a lower price. Let’s take a look at what each carrier has to offer to determine which delivers the best unlimited cell phone data package.

Jump to:

AT&T
T-Mobile
Verizon
Which plan should you get?

AT&T

Unlimited Starter

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data (may be deprioritized during congestion)
5G access
Unlimited usage (talk, text, and data) in Mexico and Canada
Unlimited texting from the U.S. to 120+ countries
SD video streaming
$65 per month for one line
$120 per month for two lines
$135 per month for three lines
$140 per month for four lines

Unlimited Extra

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data
50GB of Premium Data (usage before any deprioritization)
5G access
15GB hotspot data
Unlimited usage in Mexico and Canada
Unlimited texting from U.S. to 120+ countries
SD video streaming
$75 per month for one line
$130 per month for two lines
$150 per month for three lines
$160 per month for four lines

Unlimited Elite

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data
100GB of Premium Data (usage before any deprioritization)
5G access
30GB hotspot data
Unlimited usage in Mexico and Canada
Unlimited texting from U.S. to 120+ countries
HD video streaming
HBO Max included
$85 per month for one line
$150 per month for two lines
$180 per month for three lines
$200 per month for four lines

AT&T Unlimited
Unlimited Starter

See the plans at AT&T

Just enough speed and data for most people along with 5G access

AT&T’s entry unlimited plan offers the standard features most people are looking for along with plenty of data and 5G access.

T-Mobile

Essentials

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data
50GB of Premium Data (usage before any deprioritization)
5G access
Unlimited 3G hotspot data
Unlimited international texting
Unlimited usage in Mexico and Canada (2G speeds)
SD video streaming
Gogo in-flight texting and Wi-F
$60 per month for one line
$90 per month for two lines
$90 per month for three lines
$105 per month for four lines

Magenta

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data
100GB of Premium Data (usage before any deprioritization)
5G access
5GB high-speed hotspot data then unlimited 3G hotspot
Unlimited international data (128 Kbps) and texting
5GB of LTE data in Canada and Mexico and then unlimited (2G speeds)
SD video streaming
One Netflix SD screen (two or more lines)
Unlimited texting and one hour Wi-Fi in-flight (Gogo)
Taxes and fees are included
$70 per month for one line
$120 per month for two lines
$120 per month for three lines
$140 per month for four lines

Magenta MAX

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited Premium Data
5G access
40GB high-speed hotspot data then unlimited 3G hotspot
Double speed unlimited international data (256Kbps) and texting
5GB of LTE data in Canada and Mexico and then unlimited (2G speeds)
Up to 4K UHD video streaming
Two Netflix HD screens (two or more lines) or one Netflix SD screen (one line)
Unlimited texting and Wi-Fi in-flight (Gogo)
Taxes and fees are included
$85 per month for one line
$140 per month for two lines
$141 per month for three lines
$172 per month for four lines

T-Mobile Unlimited
Magenta

See the plans at T-Mobile

Unlimited data with multi-line benefits

T-Mobile’s plans have some of the best value. Each plan comes with 5G access, unlimited hotspot data, and at least 50GB of premium data so you’re likely to never see slower speeds.

Verizon

Start Unlimited

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data (may be deprioritized during congestion)
Usage in Canada and Mexico (2G speeds after 0.5 GB per day)
5G Nationwide access ($10 per month for 5G Ultra Wideband)
Unlimited texting from U.S. to 200+ countries
SD video streaming
Disney+ for 6 months
Apple Music for 6 months
Discovery+ for 6 months
$70 per month for one line
$120 per month for two lines
$135 per month for three lines
$140 per month for four lines
$150 per month for five or more lines

Play More Unlimited

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data
50GB of Premium Data
5G total access (Nationwide and Ultra Wideband)
15GB of high-speed hotspot data
Usage in Canada and Mexico (2G speeds after 0.5 GB per day)
Unlimited texting from U.S. to 200+ countries
HD video streaming
Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu included
Apple Music for 6 months
Discovery+ for a year
$80 per month for one line
$140 per month for two lines
$165 per month for three lines
$180 per month for four lines
$200 per month for five or more lines

Do More Unlimited

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data
50GB of Premium Data
5G total access (Nationwide and Ultra Wideband)
15GB of high-speed hotspot data
Usage in Canada and Mexico (2G speeds after 0.5 GB per day)
Unlimited texting from U.S. to 200+ countries
HD video streaming
50 percent off unlimited connected device plans
600GB cloud storage
$80 per month for one line
$140 per month for two lines
$165 per month for three lines
$180 per month for four lines
$200 per month for five or more lines

Get More Unlimited

Unlimited talk and text
Unlimited data
50GB of Premium Data
5G total access (Nationwide and Ultra Wideband)
30GB of high-speed hotspot data
Usage in Canada and Mexico (2G speeds after 0.5 GB per day)
Unlimited texting from U.S. to 200+ countries
HD video streaming
Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, and Apple Music included
Discovery+ for 6 months
50 percent off Unlimited connected device plans
600GB cloud storage
$90 per month for one line
$160 per month for two lines
$195 per month for three lines
$220 per month for four lines
$250 per month for five or more lines

Just Kids
If you have at least one Verizon unlimited plan, you can add another line that’s focused on delivering exactly what a kid needs to stay connected. Coming in at $50, $40, $35, or $25 if you have two through five lines, you get 5G Nationwide access, unlimited talk and text to 20 contacts, and unlimited data at 5Mbps. This should be enough for most SD video streaming and messaging. It also comes with parental controls and location tracking.

Verizon Unlimited
Play More Unlimited

See plans at Verizon

HD streaming with unlimited data and 5G access

Verizon’s Play More Unlimited plan makes sense for a lot of smartphone users who want premium network access and enjoy streaming in HD. You’ll even get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ included.

The best unlimited data plan

The best unlimited cell phone data plan for you is the one that works where you need it to work, not the one that’s the cheapest. Though we can’t tell you which plan that is because it’s different for each of us, we can all agree that paying more than you need to for phone service is a bad idea, as 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 that 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 percent of Americans with LTE and most of the country with a huge 5G coverage map. With the aggressive way T-Mobile has been expanding its network, it’s not too surprising. The Magenta plans offer one of the best bargains when it comes to unlimited plans so if you have good coverage in your area, T-Mobile is a better choice than it has ever been.

T-Mobile also combined with Sprint, which added millions of new customers to its network but also ensured that its 5G coverage is going to be better than Verizon or AT&T thanks to its robust 2.5Ghz spectrum, though AT&T is hard at work building a 5G network to make up ground on T-Mobile.

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 of this makes it very difficult to share a one-size-fits-all recommendation about which unlimited cell phone data plan is the best. But if you need nationwide coverage in places that might be a little out of the way, it’s safe to say that Verizon offers better value than AT&T and generally has a better network according to independent studies from sources like Root Metrics. And if you stay on the beaten path, T-Mobile offers a better deal.

Though we can’t tell you which carrier will be the best for you, we can tell you what to look for and where to start. Talk to your friends and see what services they’re 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. There are also fantastic prepaid phone plans out there that offer unlimited data but at a much lower cost if purse strings are tight.

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