We’re always discovering new ways to spend more time online, but of course, the more browsing and downloading we do via our smartphones, the more data we’ll need to pay for.
Heavy internet users don’t take chances with their connections, so we’re not going to recommend you find the cheapest plan in town. Rather, we’re on the hunt for big data — wireless plans with some big chunky data allowances of 10GB or more per month, or even Unlimited data plans.
Here's a quick snapshot:
Single line plans with 10GB of 4G LTE data
10GB is plenty of data per month, so here's some plans under $70/mth to get get you 10GB or more.
With 10GB of LTE data on the T-Mobile network, plus unlimited calls and text, the $55 plan from Simple Mobile is a killer wireless plan. There are no overage charges for data use either, as customers are simply switched to unlimited data at slower 2G speeds once they reach their 10GB LTE limit.
Simple Mobile also offer the AutoReUp automatic refill service, so you don’t have to worry about recharging your account each month. And if you opt for Auto ReUp, you'll receive a $5 per month discount on your plan - taking it to just $50 per month.
You'll also get unlimited international texting in addition to messaging within the US.
The two key benefits with this plan are:
- Simple Mobile's plan is a standard price rather than a promotional price or allowance which may be subject to change (with the exception of the $5 Auto Recharge discount).
- Simple Mobile runs on a GSM network, meaning that if you already have a phone from T-Mobile or AT&T, you can bring it to Simple Mobile (or buy a hot new phone if that's your preference).
Things to Consider: The Simple Mobile plan does not offer mobile hotspot use. New phones are available to purchase either outright, or financed through monthly payments over 24 months.
Operating on the the AT&T network, Cricket Wireless' best data offer gives you 10GB of LTE data each month for $60. And as with Simple Mobile's plans, Cricket will discount the monthly price to $55 if you sign up for the Auto Pay billing system.
You'll also get unlimited talk and text within the US, and unlimited calls and texts to both Mexico and Canada - plus use of your plan's high-speed data in both countries. Additional LTE data is available for $10 per GB, although overages aren't an issue as you'll get unlimited 2G data once your 10GB is used up each month. You can also add-on international packages for calls and texts to countries other than Mexico and Canada.
This is a GSM network plan, which means that you can bring unlocked phones from T-Mobile or AT&T. If you need to get a new phone, Cricket offer a range of low-cost GSM phones to choose from.
Things to Consider Cricket Wireless offers nationwide coverage on the AT&T network, but there's a speed cap of 8Mbps. You'll still get a great connection at this speed, but be aware that it's not quite what you'd experience with AT&T. Also, there's no tethering option available, so you won't be using your phone as a mobile hotspot to access the internet on your laptop or tablet.
The Unlimited Single Line Plans
There's nothing as worry free as an unlimited data plan. However, not all unlimited data plans are the same and although the word 'unlimited' is used a lot, there's really only a few true unlimited data options. Here's what you need to know.
- Advertised as 'Unlimited' where there is a portion of data at a high speed and the rest of the data at a very slow speed, but no extra charges for that slow data. For example this might be a plan advertised as unlimited, but actually includes 1GB at high speed and the rest at slow speed.This really means that there is no extra cost (overages) when you go past the 1GB allocation.
- True Unlimited Data where there is unlimited, unthrottled data use on your phone at high speed. There are, however, usually restrictions in terms of using your data as a mobile hotspot, and 'fair use' policies apply to prevent excessive usage.
Sprint Unlimited Freedom Plan
Sprint's new, updated Unlimited Freedom Plan gives customers unlimited talk, text and high-speed data for just $60 per month. Although you get unlimited music and video streaming, and unlimited gaming, speeds and resolutions are restricted on the $60 Freedom option - streaming video is limited to 480p+, music to 500Kbps, and gaming at 2Mbps.
International features include unlimited international texting, Global Roaming data (unlimited, at 2G speeds), and Sprint's Open World data, talk and text when traveling through Mexico, Canada and Latin America.
Things to Consider Customers can upgrade to the $80 Unlimited Freedom Premium plan for HD streaming and fast online gaming, with speeds for music and gaming increasing to 1.5Mbps and 8Mbps respectively, and video resolution of up to 1080p+.
T-Mobile ONE Single Line Plan
T-Mobile's new-ish One unlimited plan gives customers unlimited talk, text and fast data, for $70 monthly. The plan also comes with unlimited calls from the US to Mexico and Canada, plus unlimited talk, text and data use in both countries.
You'll also get unlimited 2G data and global texting worldwide, plus 3G mobile hotspot use, WiFi calling and some in-flight WiFi use.
Things to Consider: Video streaming is limited on the ONE plan - you'll get DVD quality standard video of around 480p+. For HD video, customers can upgrade to the One Plus premium plan for an additional $25 per month (so $95 total for a single line).
Metro PCS Unlimited
Also for $5 each month is the Mexico Unlimited and Canada Unlimited add-ons, which give you unlimited calls and texts to Mexico and Canada from the US, and unlimited calls and texts back home when you're south and north of the border. You'll also be able to use your unlimited data in Mexico and Canada with no extra roaming fees.
Things to Consider: If you're buying a phone, there's a slightly limited range to choose from - although the latest iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy S7 are available. Still, you can bring your own T-Mobile device if you choose to take the deal.
Shared / Family data plans with 20GB or more
Cricket Group Save
If there are five people or less in your family, Cricket offers some great monthly discounts on multiple lines of service.
Group Save gives customers a $10 discount for their second line, $20 for their third line, $30 off for the fourth line, and a $40 discount for your fifth line. So for the above plan, a family of five pay would $200 per month for unlimited calls and SMS, plus 10GB of LTE data per line; in the above four-line example, you'd pay $180 per month.
You also get unlimited talk and text, unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada, and unlimited use of your plan's 4G LTE data across North America.
Things to consider: While the per-line data limit is generous, the maximum download speed is 8Mbps, as opposed to the 20 - 40Mbps download speeds you might expect on other networks.
MetroPCS Unlimited Plan
For $140 per month, families can take home unlimited talk and text, 8GB of full speed data per line, and unlimited 3G data, across four lines.
Even without unlimited fast data, families can still enjoy unlimited music streaming from selected providers, including Pandora, Spotify, iTunes radio, Slacker, Rhapsody, and Milk Music, plus Data Maximizer for streaming video (allowing you to watch more media for less gigabytes).
Global add-on options include unlimited calls, text and data in either Mexico or Canada, for $5 per month er month, per line, and a $10 unlimited international calls package.
Things to consider: Unfortunately, tethering isn't automatically included in MetroPC plans; you'll need to pay $5 per month, per line for mobile hotspot use.
Shared/Family data plans with Unlimited Data
Sprint Unlimited Freedom Family Plan
Currently, Sprint users can sign up for four lines of unlimited talk, text and data, for $160 per month - or $40 per line. Prices break down as $60 for your first line, $50 for the second, and $30 for each subsequent line, with up to ten lines available per account.
As with Sprint's single line unlimited plans, this option includes international features, such as Sprint Open World (great for those traveling through North and Latin America) and unlimited international texting and 2G data. Plans also include 5GB of mobile hotspot use for each line per month.
Things to consider: Keep in mind that there is a flat $30 activation fee per line, although you'll only pay this once-off in your first month. If you're on the standard Unlimited Freedom plan, any streaming music, video or gaming with be 'optimized' - so streams and resolution will be restricted to 480p+ for video, 500Kbps for music, and 2Mbps for games. You can upgrade to faster, higher quality streaming for an extra $20 per month, per line.
T-Mobile One Family Plan
T-Mobile's newest family plan deal gives you all the benefits of the carrier's popular Simple Choice plans, including Music Freedom, Data Stash, WiFi calling, and Mobile Without Borders - wrapped up in a new unlimited package.
The new, amped-up T-Mobile family plans include unlimited high-speed data on all lines, in addition to unlimited talk and text, unlimited hotspot, and 4G LTE coverage in Mexico and Canada, with two lines a flat $120 per month. Additional unlimited lines are available for an extra $20 per line, per month, but for a limited time customers can grab four lines for the price of three ($140 per month).
Things to consider: Price-wise, the offer is a little cheaper than Sprint, but again, customers on the standard One plan will see video resolution restricted to standard definition. Upgrades to HD video are available for an extra $25 per month, per line. Mobile hotspot use, while unlimited, capped to 3G data speeds.