Best Unlimited Data Cell Phone Plans 2020
Best PerformanceBest coverage and high speedsGood data allowance
Best Data SpeedsFastest data speedsDecent coverage
Best PerksDecent coverage and great speedTons of perks
Best Budget PlansCheapest plans50 GB of data before throttling
Best PrepaidCheap plansRuns on Verizon network
Unlimited plans are the future. Nearly everything we do on our phones these days—from posting on Instagram to streaming a podcast—requires data. Some companies, like Sprint, are phasing out all of their non-unlimited plans altogether!
So, if you haven’t already, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to data-overage charges and hello to all the cat videos you can handle.
To learn more about carriers’ responses to COVID-19 see our updated page on the issue.
In this review, we break down the top five companies’ unlimited data plans so you can find the best option for your family—or even just for yourself.
Best unlimited plans comparison
Unlimited data plan pricing
If you want unlimited data for the lowest cost, then Sprint or Visible will be your friends—as long as the service works for your needs.
In the competition for best overall performance, Verizon’s unlimited plans come out on top, but you’ll also pay top dollar for them. (See what we did there?)
If you’re looking for the lowest price per month, then Sprint’s Unlimited Kickstart Plan clearly takes the prize. It’s a full $25 a month cheaper than T-Mobile’s Essentials plan, and $35 less than Verizon’s Start Unlimited.
That said, Sprint’s cheapest plan comes with virtually no perks, and its network coverage is definitely not the best. The winner of the best network prize goes to Verizon.
Speaking of Verizon’s network, Visible Wireless runs on it.
Visible is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which means that it piggybacks on a bigger provider’s network, offering lower prices for downgraded service. At $40 a month, Visible’s prepaid plan is awesome if you don’t mind occasional slowdowns.
Verizon: Best performance
Verizon’s expensive, but it’s the fastest, most widely available wireless provider in the US.
- Best coverage
- High speeds
- Good data allowance (before throttling)
- More expensive
Other providers may have fancier perks and cheaper prices, but when it comes to getting the best performance—no ifs, ands, or buts—Verizon takes the cake.
Verizon’s coast-to-coast coverage will get you full bars at truck stops and national parks. Its speeds will keep you streaming and gaming without interruption. And you’ll have the high data allowances you need to enjoy all of it.
If you want to climb aboard the Good Ship Verizon, then we recommend you go with the Verizon Start Unlimited or the Verizon Get More Unlimited plan.
Verizon unlimited data plans
If you go with the lowest-priced unlimited plan (Verizon Start Unlimited), then Verizon can “deprioritize” your data whenever the network gets busy. You have no guaranteed amount of high-speed data.
If you skip the data finagling and choose the Verizon Do More Unlimited or Play More Unlimited plan, then you get 50 GB of high-speed data, respectively. With Get More Unlimited you’ll score 75 GB of unthrottled data.
That latter option gives you, to put it simply, a crap-ton of data. You can stream every single episode of Rick and Morty and still not reach that ceiling.
AT&T: Best data speeds
Pull up Instagram stories and refesh Twitter feeds as quickly as possible
- Fastest data download speeds
- Pricey individual data plans
Fastest data download speeds
After a modest third place finish in download data speeds last year, AT&T jumps to the head of the pack in 2020. AT&T users report an average download speed of 27.5 Mbps, a whopping 55% increase over last year’s results.1 Here’s the breakdown of the fastest data download speeds for 2020:
Source: Open Signal
Faster download speeds means basically everything will work better on your phone. You can pull up Instagram stories, refresh Twitter feeds, and play apps online more quickly with fast download speeds. Plus, cutting out latency can make all the difference on whether or not you win your next Clash Royale match.
Pricey individual data plans
Unfortunately, those super-fast data speeds don’t come cheap. AT&T’s individual plans fall on the pricier end of the mobile spectrum. To make matters worse, AT&T doesn’t offer many perks to sweeten the deal. Really, the main thing AT&T has going for it is the fast download speeds.
Take a look at how AT&T’s basic unlimited plan compares with other basic unlimited plans:
AT&T’s basic starter plan costs $65 a month, making it one of the most expensive unlimited plans out there. So, really it comes down to whether or not you want to pay a premium for the fast data speeds.
T-Mobile: Best perks
5G access, free international data and texting, a Netflix subscription, and more.
- Decent coverage and fast speeds
- Great perks
- Lacks rural coverage
T-Mobile offers some serious bang for your monthly buck. Its network is large and very, very fast. And its Magenta and Magenta Plus plans will get you a litany of perks, such as:
- Unlimited calling with Mexico and Canada, and unlimited international texts to 210+ countries
- Unlimited texting and data (at 128 Kbps) when you travel abroad in many locations
- Access to 5G networks where available (if you have a 5G capable device)
- Free Netflix Basic 1-screen subscription when you have two or more lines
- Discounts for military and veterans
- Free in-flight texting
Unlike Verizon, even T-Mobile’s cheapest plan gives you 50 GB of unthrottled data. So go ahead and watch those 10-minute-long Vine compilation videos on YouTube.
T-Mobile unlimited data plans
Both of T-Mobile’s higher-cost plans offer the same amount of unthrottled data. So, you might wonder, what’s the real difference between the two? Don’t worry, we’ve got a chart for that. Check it out.
|4G LTE speeds||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited international data and texting||Texting only||Yes||Yes|
|HD video streaming||No||No||Yes|
|Mobile hotspot data||Yes*||Yes*||Yes|
|4G LTE international data speeds||No||No†||Yes|
|Details||View Plan||View Plan||View Plan|
* Limited to 3G speeds. Data effective 9/4/19.
† 5 GB of 4G LTE data available in Mexico and Canada and then speeds will be reduced.
Especially if you’re a traveler who spends hours on end sitting on cross-country or overseas flights, then we think Magenta Plus is definitely worth it.
Sprint: Best budget pick
You can’t beat Sprint prices, which may make up for its fourth-place service for some people.
- Cheapest plans
- 50 GB of data before throttling
- Ranked 4th in coverage and speeds
Sprint Unlimited Plan pricing
Sprint has the cheapest monthly plan pricing of any provider on our list. But it also has the third most reliable service and lowest speeds.2
That said, Sprint’s network has gotten a lot better over the last few years—if you live in a city or suburb, then you probably won’t notice any problems with your service. And maybe getting unlimited data for $35 a month is worth losing a few bars when you drive through Idaho.
Sprint unlimited data plans
Like Verizon and T-Mobile, Sprint has several unlimited data plans to choose from—four, to be exact.
The Kickstarter plan is the cheapest, and unsurprisingly, the most basic. The higher-tiered plans will get you higher streaming quality, service subscriptions, and other perks.
Sprint is by far the cheapest unlimited provider of the big four. But its prices aren’t the only reason to choose the company.
You also get at least 50 GB of data before speeds are reduced. With the Unlimited Premium plan, that cap will double, giving you an unheard-of 100 GB of unthrottled data. That’s even more than Verizon’s Get More Unlimited plan, which costs about $20 more!
Other perks that come with some of Sprint’s unlimited plans include free service in Canada and Mexico, mobile hotspot data, and free subscriptions to Hulu, Tidal, Lookout (mobile security service), and Amazon Prime.
One last thing to keep in mind: as we’ve mentioned, Sprint’s service can be spotty, so just make sure Sprint has reliable coverage in your area before you sign on. If you live in a city, or a city-esque suburb, you’ll probably be fine. Cabin in the woods? Not so much.
Visible Wireless: Best prepaid provider
You can pay less for unlimited data, if you’re okay with slowdowns.
- Cheap plans
- Verizon-run network
- Great family plan
- Data can be deprioritized
Visible Wireless unlimited plan pricing
Sure, the four big providers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon—dominate the wireless market. But there are plenty of smaller, prepaid companies worth checking out, especially if you’re willing to trade a few perks for a cheaper bill.
In fact, we decided to knock AT&T off this list and add a company called Visible instead because it offers better prices and service.
Visible is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which means it offers prepaid plans using another company’s cell phone network. In this case, that network is Verizon.
So, with Visible, you can get the benefits of Verizon premium network without paying a premium price.
Pop quiz! Which is less, $70 or $40? That’s right, Visible’s $40 plan is much cheaper than Verizon’s $70 plan. But, of course, there’s a catch.
The biggest drawback to using MVNOs, like Visible Wireless, is that your speeds can be deprioritized by the network when it’s congested.
That means you might have a hard time looking up player stats when you’re watching your favorite team in a packed stadium. And you may not be able to stream your favorite show while you sit on the bus during rush hour.
While this is definitely a negative for Visible, it’s worth noting that the company won’t throttle your data when you use too much. Most companies will slow down your data—even on an unlimited plan—after you use a certain amount (usually around 50 GB).
Save even more money with Party Pay
Visible Wireless lets you have up to four lines on your Unlimited Plan. But don’t call it a “family” plan. This is Party Pay, my friend, and what a party it is.
The price of each individual line goes down with every line you add. That means you can get an unlimited data plan for four people for just $25 each.
Visible Wireless Unlimited Plan with 4 lines
This is your party, and you can invite whomever you’d like, not just family. Split your phone bill your roommate, invite the folks in your book club, add a line for that cute person you just met on Tinder. Whatever floats your boat.
Conveniently, everyone manages their own bill on Party Pay. That way you won’t lose service if your flaky best friend forgets to make a payment.
Coverage and speeds
Verizon’s network is hard to beat, but T-Mobile gets close. And Visible just piggybacks.
Verizon sweeps the board when it comes to coverage and data speeds across the country (although there is one study that disagrees and puts T-Mobile first for speed).1 Basically, if you want to wander off into the wilderness and still have full bars, Verizon is your best bet.
That said, AT&T has similar coverage, and T-Mobile just keeps getting faster. So depending on your needs, Verizon isn’t your only good option on the market.
Verizon coverage and speed
Verizon excels at both coverage1 and speed,2 with coverage being its big selling point. Those red-covered maps on Verizon commercials aren’t just clever marketing—Verizon really does cover most of the country, and definitely covers more than Sprint or T-Mobile.
AT&T coverage and speed
AT&T used to late behind the top-dogs when it came to data speeds, but recently it has pulled ahead of the pack.1 And AT&T doesn’t just offer the the fastest data speeds in the country, it also gives customers great coverage. This is the ideal network for streamers, gamers, influencers, and others who need reliable, fast mobile internet.
T-Mobile coverage and speed
T-Mobile generally comes in second or third place for coverage, depending on the study.1, 2 And its speeds are definitely among the fastest in the industry.1 Most people won’t notice much, if any, difference between T-Mobile and Verizon coverage in cities and suburbs.
Sprint coverage and speed
Sprint might have the cheapest unlimited plans, but that low price tag comes at a cost. Studies basically always rank Sprint fourth for coverage and speed (and everything else).1, 2
You should still be fine with Sprint in most metropolitan areas, but you could lose bars when you hit the road or go on a hike.
Visible coverage and speed
Rather than create its own network of satellites and cell towers, Visible decided to piggyback off an existing network. (Why work harder when you can work smarter?) And Visible chose the best network there is: Verizon.
So you can basically just read what we wrote about Verizon’s coverage and speed above. Just keep in mind that Visible customers may experience occasional deprioritization on the network when they’re in high-use areas at high-use times.
What’s the deal with the T-Mobile/Sprint merger?
You know T-Mobile. You know Sprint. Get ready to meet . . . T-Sprint? Well, we don’t know how exactly these two companies will rebrand, but we do know that they’re trying to complete the paperwork on a $26.5 billion merger.3
The deal is not finalized yet, but we have some educated guesses about how it might affect the industry. While we don’t love that it will create a new mega-corporation, the merger is not necessarily bad news for individual customers.
Yes, prices could go up (especially on those dirt-cheap Sprint plans), but that’s not likely to happen right away. And in exchange for possible price increases, experts predict that customers will see better coverage, increased speeds, and faster 5G rollout.
If you like what T-Mobile or Sprint are doing right now, we don’t think the merger should hold you back. But if the uncertainty is too much to bear, then you might want to consider going with Verizon, Visible, or another top carrier.
Phones and devices
Get the latest devices for less when you’re signing up.
The best time to score a new phone for a decent price is when you’re switching service. Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Visible all sell the latest devices from Apple, Samsung, and Google.
So if you’ve had your heart set on the iPhone 11’s Ultra Wide camera or on the Galaxy 10S’s Fast Wireless Charging technology, then now’s the time to take the plunge. You can learn more about the best deals going on this week on our current deals page.
Which unlimited plan should I choose?
- Choose Verizon for tons of fast, unthrottled data, and for the top coverage and reliability across the US.
- Choose T-Mobile for a high data allotment, transparent pricing, and benefits like free international coverage and in-flight Wi-Fi.
- Choose Sprint if you want a budget unlimited plan that still offers HD streaming and mobile hotspot data.
- Choose Visible Wireless if you want unlimited data and great coverage for cheap, and you don’t mind occasional data slowdowns.
Do you already have an unlimited wireless plan? Which provider did you choose and why? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
- Opensignal, “Mobile Network Experience Report January 2020”
- RootMetrics, “Review of the mobile landscape 1H 2019”
- Reuters, “Testimony ends in T-Mobile-Sprint merger trial in New York”
Trevor Wheelwright and Tyler Abbot