Like John Oliver and baseball, unlimited data plans are back! To be fair, they never left for some people. But one of the weekend’s biggest bits of news is that Verizon just reinstated its unlimited monthly data plan.

For Verizon customers, an all-you-can-eat data plan hadn’t been available for new subscribers since 2011. Those legacy users who’d held onto their plans since then could still phone-surf like crazy until a month ago, when Verizon started booting people whose usage reached into the hundreds-of-gigs range.

With Verizon reentering the unlimited-data picture, all four major carriers—and some lower-priced virtual mobile networks—now have an unlimited data plan of some kind. But there are major differences in terms of pricing, qualifications, and data-throttling. Here’s how they all shake out, from most expensive to least expensive on a single device.

UPDATE 2/13/2017 5:00 p.m. ET: In response to Verizon’s new unlimited data plan, T-Mobile rejiggered its own plan to include HD video streaming and mobile hotspot. This story has been updated with the new details.


Price: $100 per month (plus fees and taxes)
The fine print: AT&T’s unlimited-data plan is only available for DirecTV subscribers. The minimum cost for DirecTV’s base package is $50 per month, so we’re really talking $150 per month total for a single phone and DirecTV service. AT&T also reserves the right to throttle your data speeds down after you reach 22GB every month. Mobile hotspot capability isn’t part of the plan.
Best for: DirecTV users and people with money to burn.


Price: $80 per month (plus fees and taxes)
The fine print: You’ll need to use auto-pay and cancel your paper statements to get the best price; otherwise, it’s $85 per month. Mobile hotspot capability is part of this plan, but Verizon may start throttling your hotspot speeds after you hit 10GB each month.
Best for: Mobile hotspot users and HD video streamers that don’t want to switch to T-Mobile.


Price: $70 per month
The fine print: The good news is that all taxes and fees are lumped into that $70 price, and you get a free hour of Gogo in-flight internet when you’re on a plane. You’ll need to sign up for auto-pay. If you use a ton of data every month (we’re talking the top three percent of data hogs), your speed may be throttled. In response to Verizon’s unlimited relaunch, T-Mobile added mobile-hotspot service and HD streaming to its own plan.
Best for: This is now the best all-around deal. It includes 10GB of high-speed mobile hotspot per month, HD video streaming, and a money-saver for frequent flyers. Plus, you’ll know exactly what you’ll be charged every month.

Cricket Wireless

Price: $65 per month (plus fees and taxes)
The fine print: You’ll need to activate auto-pay for that lowest price; otherwise it’s $70. Download speeds are capped at 8Mbps, which is slower than the US average. Doesn’t include mobile hotspot capability.
Best for: Getting unlimited AT&T data coverage at a much lower price.


Price: $50 per month (plus fees and taxes)
The fine print: You’ll need to activate auto-pay; otherwise it’s $55. Video resolution is capped at 480p. Doesn’t include mobile hotspot service.
Best for: Those who want the lowest-priced “Big Four” unlimited plan.

Boost Mobile

Price: $50 per month (plus fees and taxes)
The fine print: Video is capped at 480p unless you pay an extra $20 per month for HD streaming. Music streamed from Spotify, Pandora, and iHeart Radio doesn’t count toward your monthly data—although that’s really more of a perk for data-limited plans.
Best for: Those who are fine with Sprint’s coverage, but also want mobile hotspot for the same price.

US Cellular

Price: $50 per month (plus fees and taxes)
The fine print: Your data speeds start throttling back after just 500MB. Doesn’t include mobile hotspot capability.
Best for: Hard to say. Boost and Sprint are better options due to the low cap for throttling.

Google Project Fi

Price: No unlimited data plan; $20 for unlimited talk and text, plus $10 per GB of monthly data (plus fees and taxes). Only available on Nexus and Pixel phones.

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