Best Unlimited Data Cell Phone Plans 2021
Best ValueRead Full ReviewTruly unlimited dataDeprioritization
Mint MobileRead Full ReviewAmazing priceCost goes up after 90 days
Best Family Plan
Cricket WirelessRead Full ReviewAffordableThrottled data
T-MobileRead Full ReviewBest data speedsPricey
Xfinity MobileRead Full ReviewBest-in-class customer serviceMust be a Comcast-Xfinity home internet customer
We compared unlimited cell phone plans from the Big Three networks and all the smaller carriers, too. We looked at plans, prices, data speeds, phone selection, and network performance to help you decide which one is right for you. Here’s what we found.
- Best overall value: Visible Wireless’s truly unlimited data plan gets you on Verizon’s network for just $40 a month. It’s a simple but powerful plan with nice perks like free hotspot data.
- Best price: Mint Mobile’s $30 unlimited data plan is the best deal in the market right now. Just be aware that your price will go up by $10 after the first three months.
- Best unlimited family plan: Cricket Wireless can hook your whole family up with a cheap unlimited data plan that comes with good coverage and hotspot data. But watch your data speeds—they’ll be throttled at 3 Mbps.
- Best performance: If you want the best, no expenses spared, then T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan is the way to go. You’ll get all the benefits of the country’s fastest network and plenty of perks, but it’s not cheap.
- Best bundle: Xfinity Mobile is available to only existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customers, but it offers free 5G and great customer service for those who combine internet and mobile through Xfinity.
Before we get into the details, let’s talk about how to choose an unlimited cell phone plan.
How to choose an unlimited data cell phone plan
We’ve been reviewing cell phone plans for a long time, so we have a list of criteria that we think every consumer should consider before they sign up for unlimited data plan. Here’s what we look for:
- Data: Know how much data you need each month. That will tell you a lot about whether an unlimited plan even makes sense for you. Don’t forget that not all data is created equal, so be sure you look closely at what “unlimited data” really means—often it’s unlimited but very, very slow.
- Price: Truly unlimited high-speed data is going to cost more than throttled, capped, or deprioritized data. Read the fine print concerning data speeds before buying.
- Coverage: If you’re in a big city, then the three major networks run by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all offer pretty great coverage. But outside of urban areas, one network may have better service than others. Use coverage maps (we include them in all our reviews) to see which networks are best for your location. If you want 5G service, check to make sure it’s available in your area.
- Features: Will you be using your phone as a mobile hotspot? Do you want free subscriptions to streaming services? Do you need international coverage for your business travel? Each unlimited plan might have a little something extra for you—don’t overlook these perks when you’re making your final decision.
Visible Wireless: Best overall value
The all-around plan that has it all
- Truly unlimited data
- Great coverage
- Mobile hotspots and other perks
- Data deprioritization
What we like about Visible Wireless’s unlimited data cell plan
Visible Wireless took the mobile industry by storm a few years ago by offering a simple, powerful, and affordable unlimited data plan. While plenty of other mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) have tried to play catch up, Visible remains the standard to beat.
At $40 a month, Visible’s unlimited data plan packs as much power as plans that cost twice as much. Let’s dive into the details.
Truly unlimited data
This article is about the best unlimited data plans. Not the best lots of data plans. Not the best almost unlimited data plans. This is one of the reasons we love Visible Wireless: you get truly unlimited data.
What about those other companies? Well, for instance, T-Mobile gives you 50 GB of full-speed data on its unlimited plan. After that, your data speeds can plummet. Cheaper plans from companies like Straight Talk and Mint Mobile have even lower full-speed data caps (25 GB and 35 GB, respectively).
It is true that with Visible you won’t always experience top 4G LTE data speeds due to deprioritization (more on that below). But you’ll never have to worry about going over some arbitrary data cap while you’re in the middle of an important Zoom meeting.
It’s not just the V that Visible and Verizon Wireless share. They’re actually on the same cellular network.
Visible Wireless leases bandwidth on the Verizon network. Verizon takes the gold medal when it comes to nationwide coverage, so Visible customers should see bars of service from Los Angeles to New York and pretty much everywhere in between. Just take a look at this map.
Mobile hotspots and other perks
One of the biggest differences between traditional cell phone carriers and MVNOs, like Visible, is that the former tends to offer better perks. But, in this case, Visible will actually hook you up.
For one, you can get a $100–$200 prepaid Mastercard just for signing up (or buying a new phone when you’re already signed up). That’s money in your pocket for doing something you should probably do anyways. Nice.
But what really makes Visible special is that it lets you use your unlimited data as mobile hotspot data. Most MVNOs nix hotspots altogether and even pricier plans from bigger companies will limit your hotspot data to 10–15 GB.
If you often rely on hotspot data for work, streaming, or whatever else, then Visible is the way to go. Just beware: you will be subject to the same deprioritization and throttling that we’ll discuss below, and you can only have one device tethered at a time.
What we don’t like about Visible Wireless’s unlimited data cell plan
In case you haven’t noticed, we think Visible is awesome. But you don’t read our reviews because we just tell you the good stuff. So, what’s the bad stuff?
In short: your data speeds will be slower with Visible than with some other carriers. Here are the details.
Throttling and deprioritization
There can be a lot of confusion around the terms throttling and deprioritization, so we’ll try to clear that up real quick and tell you what it means for Visible customers.
- Throttling is when your cell phone company slows down your data consistently because you’re either on a lower-tier plan or you’ve used up your allotted amount of high-speed data.
- Deprioritization is when your cell phone company slows down your data occasionally because the network is congested.
As we stated above, Visible offers truly unlimited data, so throttling isn’t an issue. But what can be an issue is deprioritization. Verizon owns the network, so when things get busy, the company will often slow down the speeds of Visible customers to save bandwidth.
What does this mean? Well, Visible states that users can expect data download speeds of 5–12 Mbps and data upload speeds of 2–5 Mbps. That’s definitely slower than full-speed connections on the network, but it’s still plenty for streaming video, music, and for most casual gaming.
If Visible sounds close but still no cigar, then consider these alternatives.
Mint Mobile: Best price
This $30 plan is simply the best deal around
- Amazing price
- Good coverage
- Hotspot data
- Cost goes up after 90 days
- Data capped at 35 GB
What we like about Mint Mobile’s unlimited data cell plan
This $30 plan from Mint Mobile isn’t just another cheap unlimited data plan. It’s the cheapest unlimited plan on the market. And it ain’t half bad when it comes to performance, either. Here’s what we love most about the plan.
If you’re looking to save money without losing out on data, then this is the best plan on the market. Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Data Plan’s price tag is a full $20 less than the cheapest plan from T-Mobile, which is the network that Mint uses. Check it out.
With this $30 promotional deal, Mint is simply the cheapest unlimited plan on the market. There’s not much more to say about it.
As we mentioned, Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s wireless network. That means you’ll get awesome coverage and the fastest data speeds in the industry. Seriously, just look at this speed data we sampled from over 100,000 wireless customers.
We praised Visible Wireless for letting customers use their data with a mobile hotspot. Well, Mint Mobile deserves recognition as well. With a Mint SIM card you can turn your device into a mini hotspot and there’s no limit to how much data you use on it (although your speeds will be slowed down after 35 GB—more on that in a second).
What we don’t like about Mint Mobile’s unlimited data cell plan
Mint Mobile’s unlimited plan is cheap and relatively powerful. But there’s a reason we didn’t give the plan the Overall Value spot. Here’s why.
Price goes up after three months
Always read the fine print. Especially when a deal seems just a little bit too good to be true. The fine print of Mint Mobile unlimited plan reveals that the special, $30 price is only available for new customers and only lasts for 3 months. After that, your price will go up to $40 a month.
Now, that $40 price tag is still remarkably low for an unlimited data plan. It’s still a good deal. But it’s not the best deal, necessarily.
High speed data capped at 35 GB a month
The last thing you need is high latency when you’re pwning your friends in a game of PUBG Mobile. If that sentence made no sense to you, let’s put it another way: no one wants slow data speeds.
But if you use more than 35 GB of data in a given billing cycle on your Mint Mobile plan, you could see your data speeds plummet to a measly 128 KB. That’s like going to dial-up from fiber. Yikes.
Luckily, most people will not need more than 35 GB of data. But if you do, you’d be better off going with other plans on this list, like those from Visible or Verizon.
That’s all we’ve got for Mint Mobile. If you’re not impressed then check out the competition. Maybe one of these other cheap plans will float your boat.
Cricket Wireless: Best unlimited family plan
Get the whole family connected without breaking the bank
- Decent coverage
- 10 GB of hotspot and other perks
- Data throttling
What we like about Cricket Wireless’s unlimited data cell plan
Here’s a look at the best unlimited family plan. It’s from one of the oldest MVNOs in the industry: Cricket Wireless.
You can grab three unlimited data lines from Cricket for just $90 a month. Want to go up to four lines? That’s just $100. You probably spend that much on dinner and a movie with the kids.
If you compare that $90 three-line plan to AT&T (which runs Cricket’s network), you can see some significant savings. Here’s a look at a similar offering from that company.
As you can see, you’ll save at least $40 when you go with Cricket.
AT&T doesn’t have the very best coverage (that award goes to Verizon). Nor does it have the best data speeds (T-Mobile takes that one). But AT&T’s network still offers decent all-around service, meaning most Cricket customers won’t have anything to complain about.
If you live in a super rural area or you really need the very fastest data speeds, then maybe look elsewhere.
10 GB of hotspot data and other perks
We’ve gone over this: hotspots are awesome and we love when companies let you use them for free. Cricket’s unlimited data family plan comes with 10 GB of hotspot data for free. It’s not as much as Visible or Mint, but it’s plenty for those streaming a few episodes of The Good Place during your layover.
Plus, Mint will hook you up with a free, 30-day trial of HBO Max, which is pretty sweet.
What we don’t like about Cricket Wireless’s unlimited data cell plan
So, what’s the catch? There’s always a catch. In this case it’s Cricket’s throttled data speeds.
Data speeds are throttled
We’ve talked about throttling a bunch in this article. But we need to mention it again here because Cricket will throttle your data speeds at a measly 3 Mbps. That’s a lot less than the 4G LTE standard of 5–30 Mbps.
This throttled data will still be enough for casual music and video streaming. But you may notice slowdowns when browsing, gaming, and doing other data-intensive activities on your device.
If this Cricket Wireless plan isn’t cutting it for you and your family, we suggest checking out the family plan version of Visible Wireless (see above), or one of these other affordable family plans.
T-Mobile: Best performance
Experience the full power of the nation’s fastest mobile network
- Best data speeds
- Good coverage
- Tons of perks
What we like about T-Mobile’s unlimited data cell plan
So good enough isn’t going to cut it for you? You want the best of the best? Well, look no further than T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX unlimited data plan. It’s like the Rolls-Royce of mobile plans (but it costs just a wee bit less).
Best data speeds in the industry
We mentioned before that T-Mobile has the fastest data in the industry, but let’s take another look at the statistics we gathered from over 100,000 mobile users.
As you can see, T-Mobile takes the gold medal for fastest download speeds by just a slim margin. That means you’ll see slightly faster speeds when it comes to streaming, loading web pages, and scrolling through social media.
But T-Mobile wins the upload speed battle in a blowout. Anyone who uses their phone for gaming or business should take note of this. Upload speed is what allows you to send data from your device back to the network, which is essential when you’re uploading files, conducting Zoom meetings, and playing an intense game of Call of Duty: Mobile.
The best part of paying for T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan is that you’ll experience the full power of these data speeds. You won’t be at risk of deprioritization like you would be with any of the MVNOs that use the same network. You won’t even be eligible for, let alone experience, reduced speeds until after 100 GB. That’s just a ton of data for even the heaviest user.
T-Mobile can’t quite match Verizon when it comes to coverage. But the carrier does just fine. In fact, it does better than fine in most of North America. Check out this coverage map to see how T-Mobile’s signal is in your area.
Tons of perks
When you’re paying $85 for a phone plan ($75 if you sign up for auto pay, which we recommend), you want some extra goodies. With T-Mobile, you’ll get your money’s worth in perks and extra features. Some of these include:
- 40 GB of full-speed mobile hotspot data (after you use 20 GB, you will have unlimited hotspot data at 3G speeds)
- Access to T-Mobile’s 5G network with eligible devices
- Unlimited 4K UHD video streaming
- Worldwide data coverage
What we don’t like about T-Mobile’s unlimited data cell plan
There’s really only one problem with T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan, but for many it will be a dealbreaker. The problem is that its list price is $85 a month.
$85 is a lot of dough. You could take someone out to a relatively fancy dinner for that much. You could subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max with all that cash. You could almost get three unlimited data lines on Cricket or Visible with 85 bucks.
But sometimes that’s just what it costs to get premium service. In fact, all three major carriers have plans in the $80–$85 range. Take a look.
So, yes, it’s pricey. But for some users the unbeatable data speeds, great coverage, and special perks will be worth the cost. And as we mentioned, if you go with this plan, sign up for auto pay to collect that $10 discount.
There’s really only one plan on the market that can compete with Magenta MAX, and that’s Verizon’s Get More Unlimited plan.
Xfinity Mobile: Best bundle
Switching to Xfinity Mobile can cut cell bills for existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customers
- Best-in-class customer service
- Free 5G on all data options
- Runs on Verizon's powerful network
- Extends network with 18 millions Wi-Fi hotspots
- Limited to only existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customers
- Low default video streaming resolution
What we like about Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited cell phone plan
Xfinity Mobile is a cell phone service that’s available only to existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customers. If that’s you, read on! Otherwise, we won’t blame you if you gotta bounce.
But that’s why we’re calling this a bundle—you simply can’t get Xfinity Mobile as a standalone service. Even with that limitation, we’re fans of Xfinity Mobile, and here’s why.
Uses Verizon’s network
Xfinity Mobile is an MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, which means it uses one of the Big Three networks—in this case, Verizon—to power its cell service. Verizon offers the best coverage in the country, and Xfinity Mobile gets you on the Verizon network at a lower cost.
Xfinity Mobile’s prices are right in the middle. There are a few MNVOs with lower prices, but Xfinity Mobile is not overpriced at all. Plus, all the Big Three carriers—Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T—charge more for their comparable unlimited cell phone plans.
Xfinity Mobile offers 5G on all its cell plans at no extra cost. But to take advantage of that, you need a 5G device, and you need to live in an area with 5G coverage. If you do meet both those qualifications, then data speeds really open up. 5G gives you the best experience of this unlimited plan from Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile.
For 5G data (if it’s available where you are and you have a 5G device), Xfinity Mobile says you can expect download speeds around 450 Mbps and upload speeds around 50 Mbps. Um, that is really, really fast.
If you’re watching a lot of YouTube videos, or better yet, making a lot videos and uploading them to your YouTube channel with your 5G device in a 5G town, then this is a great plan for you.
Extended network via 18 millions Wi-Fi hotspots
When you sign up for Xfinity Mobile, you gain access to millions of Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. That will dramatically expand your coverage, but just remember hotspotting data speeds are capped at 3G levels (600 Kbps).
Top-rated customer service and mobile app
Xfinity Mobile debuted at the top of the American Customer Service Index’s list for full-service MVNOs. ACSI also ranks Xfinity Mobile’s app number one. Read more in the Customer Service section of our full Xfinity Mobile review.
What we don’t like about Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited cell phone plan
There are a couple drawbacks to Xfinity Mobile, but they all have to do with data limitations for non-5G devices. Here are the deets.
4G LTE data speeds are throttled, capped, and deprioritized
When it comes to 4G LTE data, Xfinity says you can expect download speeds of 5–12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2–5 Mbps. But once you hit the soft data cap of 20 GB, you will be deprioritized, and your speeds will drop to 1.5 Mbps (download) and 750 Kbps (upload). That’s partly why we say the real value of this plan is in the 5G side.
Low-resolution video streaming for non-5G devices
Video streaming is also affected by the data limitations discussed above. If you’re on Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plan, the default video streaming quality depends on the network you’re on (4G LTE vs. 5G) and whether your device is 5G.
|Network||Non-5G devices||5G devices|
As this table shows, the default streaming resolution is 480p for non-5G devices on either network on Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited data plan, which is just standard definition (SD). There’s an old zen koan that asks “Are the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park even real dinosaurs if you see them in just SD?” We say no, but you may be a more forgiving tourist of Islas Nublar and Sorna than we are.
Using new words to say something we’ve said many times already, to get the most out of this Xfinity Mobile plan, we think it’s best to have a 5G device on a 5G network—you’ll enjoy 4K streaming at that level.
But if you are still living in a 4G LTE world, don’t worry—you can still buy HD streaming for any line, which gets you 720p resolution for smartphones and 1080p for tablets.
Limited to existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customers
We know it’s kind of unfair to designate Xfinity Mobile as the best bundle only to turn around and knock them for the exclusivity of the service, but that’s just how being exclusive works. The main barrier to recommending Xfinity Mobile is simply that only existing Xfinity home internet customers can sign up.
But if you are already a Comcast-Xfinity home internet customer, look into Xfinity Mobile.
If you’re an existing Xfinity home internet customer, but don’t want or need an unlimited data plan, then you might still want to check out Xfinity Mobile’s By the Gig plans. Our bottom line there is simple:
If you think you’ll use more than 3 GB per month, then the unlimited plan is probably a better deal.
Here are all of Xfinity Mobile’s plans so you can compare for yourself.
Recap: What’s the best unlimited plan for you?
Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? Let’s do a quick recap of the highlights before we send you off to buy your next unlimited data phone plan.
- Best overall value: Visible Wireless offers up a truly unlimited data plan on the awesome Verizon network for just $40 a month. It’s a simple but powerful plan that comes with perks, like free hotspot data.
- Best price: Mint Mobile‘s $30 unlimited data plan is, to put it bluntly, the best deal in the industry right now. Just be aware that your price will go up by $10 after the first three months.
- Best unlimited family plan: Cricket Wireless will hook your whole family up with a cheap unlimited data plan that comes with good coverage and hotspot data. The catch is your data speeds, which will be throttled at 3 Mbps.
- Best performance: If you want the best, no expenses spared, then T-Mobile‘s Magenta MAX plan is the way to go. You’ll get the full benefits of the country’s most powerful network, plus a host of perks. But we’re not saying it’s cheap.
- Best bundle: Xfinity Mobile is available to only existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customers, but it offers free 5G and great customer service for those who combine internet and mobile via Xfinity.
We hope this review of the best unlimited cell phone plans has helped you find peace, clarity, and understanding–or at least a good deal on your mobile service!
To determine our list of best unlimited data cell phone plans, we looked at unlimited plans from the Big Three networks and MVNOs. We used the WhistleOut online comparison tool to whittle down the list.
We compared the candidates through the lens of our own independent research and years of experience reviewing cell phone plans and carriers.
We use WhistleOut coverage maps for network coverage information. These are powered by information from the carriers and other third-party sources.
We depend upon our own proprietary research about data speeds, which is based on hundreds of thousands of unique wireless internet speed tests submitted to Reviews.org and related sites.
If you want to know more about how we work, check out our complete methodology.