mens uggs Unlimited wireless data is here to stay
Almost a year ago, the sudden pivot by AT and Verizon to sell unlimited data deals such as those offered by Sprint and T Mobile might have looked like a soon to be regretted bout of marketing excess.
But none of these carriers have walked back these unmetered data deals. And although one third party study found that AT and Verizon networks had slowed under the stress of new unlimited data subscribers, OpenSignal latest results show America two largest carriers have rebounded.
These more generous offerings remain on the expensive side and most also feature fine print restrictions on streaming video resolution and the speed of a phone mobile hot spot function. You should still consider cheaper options that will probably leave you with data to spare.
(You can easily check your monthly data use in Android in the Settings app, but Apple data gauge tracks your usage from when you first got an iPhone, making it useless in practice. Check your bill instead.)
Unlimited and limited choices
An AT store in New York Times Square. AT is being sued by the government over allegations it misled millions of smartphone customers who were promised unlimited data but had their Internet speeds cut by the company, slowing their ability to open Web pages or watch streaming video.
AT limited data deals have gotten less attractive than they were six months ago, thanks to the carrier closing a 3 gigabyte option that cost $60 for one smartphone. Now, if you need more than 1GB you have to pay at least $70 for 5GB on one smartphone, after a $10 autopay credit. But that still beats AT Unlimited LTE, $90 after a half as generous $5 autopay discount.
Sprint continues to offer only one limited data subscription, a $40 for 2GB deal. But its $60 unlimited rate is still the cheapest among the big four and, unlike at its competitors, includes HD video streaming and a generous 10GB mobile hot spot allowance.
T Mobile is the least flexible of the four carriers: If you don want unlimited data and you not on an older plan, you have to switch to one of its prepaid plans or take your business elsewhere. Note that while the $70 (taxes and fees included!
) T Mobile One rate compares well with AT and Verizon, that plan limits mobile hot spot use to 3G speeds and caps video streaming at a DVD grade resolution; removing those limits adds $10 to your bill.
Verizon Go Unlimited plan, $75 after a $5 autopay credit, imposes the tightest restrictions: Video streams at DVD resolution and mobile hot spot speeds top out at a punitive 600 kbps. (VzW Beyond Unlimited, $10 more, lifts those limits.) The $55 5GB single line deal (after a $5 autopay credit) that you see at its site after selecting a phone can be a much better value.
In all of these cases, you may also want to look at the carriers prepaid brands and at the cheaper offerings of such third party resellers as Consumer Cellular, Google Project Fi, Republic Wireless and Ting the four highest ranked services in Consumer Reports latest reader survey.
Consumer Cellular, Fi and Ting have become better deals in the last six months thanks to their own price shifts. For example, 5GB of data and unlimited calling and texting now run $50 at Consumer (which will put you on either AT or T Mobile network) and $40 at Republic (which uses Sprint and T Mobile). At Fi, a reseller of Sprint, T Mobile and US Cellular that requires a subset of Android phones,
a new bill protection feature means unlimited data costs $80 for one smartphone.