Unlimited-wireless data plans seemingly disappeared in the not-so-distant past. AT&T and Verizon simply killed the option for new customers, and T-Mobile’s unlimited data plan had a significant gotcha: Download too much data and you were throttled down to dial-up-like speeds. T-Mobile got so much grief for its transparent subterfuge that it eventually backed off, and now it does offer unlimited service. Sprint also recently stepped up its game with a new unlimited data plan at a very competitive price.
I’m somewhat hesitant to recommend Sprint because its 4G LTE coverage is relatively skimpy, and its non-LTE speeds are mighty pokey, according to a survey in March from RootMetrics. But the carrier is steadily building out its network and now offers 4G in 110 markets with more coming later this year.
Sprint's new “Unlimited Guarantee” guarantees unlimited voice, text and data for as long as you remain a customer. Existing customers are also eligible and can switch to a new plan without having to sign another two-year contract. A few variations are available on the plan; some for individuals with single lines and others for families.
The MyWay plan lets a person with one phone line pay $50 a month (plus taxes and fees) for unlimited talk and text, and $30 for unlimited smartphone data, for a total of $80 per month. It replaces an unlimited data plan that cost well over $100 a month.
As mentioned above, Verizon and AT&T stopped offering unlimited plans. Existing AT&T and T-Mo customers with unlimited plans were eventually grandfathered in and then throttled back if they were deemed data hogs.
T-Mobile's unlimited plan (voice, text and data) costs $70 a month. If you want a new phone from T-Mobile, you can pay an additional $20 a month until the device is paid off. Or you can use a phone you already own.
Verizon charges $90 a month for unlimited voice and texts, and 2GB of data. AT&T charges $90 for 450 voice minutes, unlimited text and 3GB of data.
Finally, it's worth noting that Sprint has been purchased by Softbank, a Japanese technology company. The merger has been approved, and it's unclear what kinds of changes the new owners will make. But I suspect a parent company with very deep pockets will invest in network improvements and more service options.