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Mobile Carriers Are Going All In With Unlimited Data

Unlimited data plans are all the rage, but are they really worth it?

Major mobile carriers are pushing unlimited data hard, harkening back to old-school cell plans. Verizon (the last to jump back on the bandwagon) finally caved, recently unveiling its new-and-improved unlimited plan.

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With auto-pay, you'll snag unlimited data on four lines for $180 per month -- plus HD video streaming and 10 GB of unlimited 4G LTE mobile hotspot usage. (After that, it downshifts to 3G.) But these prices don't include fees and taxes, which will inevitably raise your bill. The offer is also ambiguously labeled as "introductory." Will prices get jacked up? Probably, but we'll have to wait and see.

Other big mobile players are reacting in kind. Shortly after Verizon's announcement, T-Mobile tweaked its One Unlimited plan to match Verizon's HD video and hotspot offerings. Similarly, Sprint rolled out a limited-time promotion -- just $90 per month for five lines. The caveat is that Sprint's network isn't known to be the best when it comes to speed and reliability.

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Shout out to the folks at Phonearena.com for putting together this wonderfully comprehensive breakdown of each carrier's unlimited plans.

But all the hoopla has us asking one big question -- is unlimited data something we need? It all comes down to your individual data consumption. Light users who stay mostly connected to their home or work Wi-Fi, and only burn through one to two gigabytes per month, might be better off going with Google's Project Fi mobile service, which toggles between Wi-Fi and 4G LTE networks. The pricing model is super-transparent; $20 for unlimited calls and texts, and $10 for every gigabyte of data you use. Plus, you get a refund for unused data.

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On the flip side, data-guzzlers, like those who spend hours streaming movies during their commute every day, will get more bang for their buck by going with one of the major carrier's unlimited plans, especially if they have multiple lines. Of course, most of us fall somewhere in the middle, and while unlimited data provides a nice peace of mind, it's far from necessary for a lot of people.

There's also network quality to consider because, as Slickdeaer DRad points out, "Boost, MetroPCS, and Cricket have cheaper unlimited."

While true, those lower costs also bring below-average download speeds. With T-Mobile neck-and-neck with Verizon for speed and reliability, their current $100-for-two-lines promo (including taxes and fees) is worth exploring depending on where you live.

"I switched to T-Mobile from Verizon last year and don't mind it at all. Coverage in the sticks isn't the best but that's like five days a year for me so not a problem," says Slickdealer ThinKing.

Ultimately, while it's good news that Verizon is once again offering an unlimited plan, jumping ship from your current plan might not be the smartest (or cheapest) move. What do you make of all the unlimited data fuss? Worth it or overrated?

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Image courtesy of Sprint.



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About the Author
Marianne Hayes Contributor

Marianne Hayes is a freelance writer, wife and mother in Tampa Bay. After earning a degree in journalism and creative writing from the University of Central Florida, she spent nearly a decade getting lost in New York City and Los Angeles before making her way back home again in 2014. Marianne's writing has appeared in a variety of publications including The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, LearnVest, The Daily Beast and more. When she's not writing, Marianne is usually cruising her local bookstore with her two daughters.

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This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
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#2
Worth it!!!
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#3
Unless something changed in the last few days, you should note that you can only get AT&T unlimited if it is packaged with direct tv. That kills the deal for me.
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#4
If mass transportation, Uber, and carpooling offered more consistent and widely available hotspot Wi-Fi, then I think Republic Wireless, Ting, etc. makes more sense. For rural areas, the unlimited plans are a good trend. Google phones are expensive upfront and I change my phones too often. A little progress but if prices went down further and the quality was at least a little better, then that would be something.
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#5
Quote from EricF6624
:
Unless something changed in the last few days, you should note that you can only get AT&T unlimited if it is packaged with direct tv. That kills the deal for me.
Not anymore.They have an Unlimited Data plan that came out yesterday.100.00 per month.Direct Tv not required
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#6
Quote from Ricks-World
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Not anymore.They have an Unlimited Data plan that came out yesterday.100.00 per month.Direct Tv not required
AT&T plan is still more expensive compared to version $30/line for 10 lines. No mobile hotspot with AT&T as well.
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#7
Any Sprint users? What do you think?
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#8
Quote from EricF6624
:
Unless something changed in the last few days, you should note that you can only get AT&T unlimited if it is packaged with direct tv. That kills the deal for me.
At&T changed today...I called them and they noted they are offing unlimited to everyone...no tie to direct tv anymore. Only problem...no hotspot...on the other side, 4th line is free. $100 access fee and $40 per line
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#9
My Tmobile plan is $80+tax for 2 lines with 6GB and unlimited talk and text.
So it comes roughly to $100/month. Yes I upgraded to "unlimited" data (10GB) for same monthly payment.
Makes you wonder... Why all the providers are being so nice to give us unlimited data ?
Well, my guess is that Youtube will soon step away from "Skip the add" and you"ll have to watch the full advertisement before watching your desired video 😕
Nothing comes for free from this greedy companies.
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#10
Quote from EricF6624
:
Unless something changed in the last few days, you should note that you can only get AT&T unlimited if it is packaged with direct tv. That kills the deal for me.
Not true anymore I just switched to unlimited and I have Comcast!

Quote from EricF6624
:
Unless something changed in the last few days, you should note that you can only get AT&T unlimited if it is packaged with direct tv. That kills the deal for me.
Dup
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Last edited by Christopher07 February 20, 2017 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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#11
I switched to the Unlimited plan as it was cheaper for my family. I was on the shared plan with 5 lines and 20GB. Through my work I had a 19% discount. I lost the discount but saved $15/mo on my bill by switching. And I have the benefit of unlimited data. I am thinking about dropping my TWC home internet for a Verizon Jetpack which would only cost another $20/mo (and $50 for the device).
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#12
Would be worth if their plans came without the *s. Throttled after a certain amount? Your traffic becomes less than equal after a cap? Unlimited is a lie.
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#13
I use Sprint LTE for my home internet
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#14
Quote from jinmc
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I use Sprint LTE for my home internet
Where is your home abouts?
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#15
Quote from EricF6624
:
Unless something changed in the last few days, you should note that you can only get AT&T unlimited if it is packaged with direct tv. That kills the deal for mEricF6624
Quote from EricF6624
:
Unless something changed in the last few days, you should note that you can only get AT&T unlimited if it is packaged with direct tv. That kills the deal for me.
Think I saw had DTV for 25 a mo for 2 yrs if you had the unlimited plan. Either way, I'm not doing it. It's a constant bait and switch. They took away unlimited a ways back, come back with higher plans, then act like they are doing me a favor.They did just hit my neighborhood with 1000 fiber though. Bad experiences in the past with them though, so I'll wait for Google, if they ever cross to my side of the street
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