It seems every cell phone provider on the planet is trying to convince you to upgrade to a 5G plan, phone, or both. If you’re planning on picking up a shiny new 5G phone, you’ll also want to look into upgrading or ensuring that your current plan is compatible with your carrier’s 5G network.
Today, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the best 5G unlimited data plans across a variety of budgets and use cases. Hopefully, you can find one that’s perfect for you or your family.
Let’s face it: Most carriers want to convince you that they are the best carrier on planet Earth, but that doesn’t make choosing a plan any easier for you. So, here’s what to look for when shopping for a 5G unlimited plan:
- High-Speed Data Bucket: Most “unlimited” plans are unlimited in the sense that they give you a certain amount of high-speed data, but they slow your speeds after you’ve reached that threshold, typically to 2G or 3G speeds. If you don’t typically use a ton of data, this is fine, but if you’re a data hog, you might want to look for plans that don’t slow you down based on the amount of data you use.
- Hotspot Data: Do you like using your phone as a hotspot for your laptop or tablet? If the answer is yes, looking at hotspot data will be super important to you. Also, just like your high-speed data bucket, most plans will have a bucket of high-speed hotspot data.
- Video Streaming Quality: While it’s super crappy they do this, most carriers limit your video streaming quality to a mere 480p. To add insult to injury, some plans have no way of disabling this whatsoever. Some carriers might also limit video streaming quality based on whether you’re using 4G or 5G, so keep that in mind.
- Coverage: It doesn’t matter how good your plan is if you can’t use it wherever you go. Make sure the carrier you want to use has coverage in your area before deciding on a plan.
If price isn’t a concern, head straight to AT&T and sign up for Unlimited Elite. Not only do you gain access to the company’s 5G (low- and mid-band) and 5G+ (mmWave) network, you’ll also get “true” unlimited data, meaning AT&T will never throttle you based on how much data use. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you’ll never experience slow speeds, though; if you’re in a congested area, you won’t get fast speeds no matter what plan you’re on.
Other features of the plan include 4K video streaming; 40GB of hotspot data; unlimited calling, texting, and uncapped data in Canada and Mexico; and an included (ad-free) HBO Max subscription. At $85 a month for a single line or $50 per line a month for a family of four, it’s definitely not the cheapest plan out there. But if you’re willing to spend the money, it’s by far the best 5G unlimited plan around right now.
AT&T Unlimited Elite
AT&T’s Unlimited Elite offers the best combination of coverage and perks. If you’re willing to splurge a little, it’ll be worth every penny.
At a close second, T-Mobile’s Magenta Max plan is a great value if Canada and Mexico roaming are less of a priority for you. Similar to AT&T Unlimited Elite, you’re looking at full access to T-Mobile’s 5G network—including its speedy mid-band network—with no slowdowns based on your usage. You’ll get the same 4K video streaming and 40GB of hotspot data as you would with AT&T Unlimited Elite.
The main difference here is that taxes and fees are included, which will save you some cash—even if it’s only five or ten bucks a month. Aside from that, the biggest difference is that you’re looking at 5GB of high-speed data in Canada and Mexico versus unthrottled data on AT&T. You’ll also get a free Netflix Basic plan (which can be upgraded at an additional cost).
At $85 a month for a single plan or $43 per line a month for a family of four, T-Mobile’s Magenta Max is a solid second option here. And the great thing about T-Mobile is that you can try out its network (if you have an iPhone that is eSIM capable) for a full 30 days before officially switching over (or not).
T-Mobile Magenta Max
While you lose out some perks with T-Mobile, you get a better price, taxes and fees included, and the best 5G coverage in town.
So Verizon’s Get More Unlimited gives you the most perks, but it is significantly more expensive than all the other plans we’ve listed. This plan includes lots of free goodies, like Apple Music, the Disney bundle (Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+), as well as Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass for 12 months and Discovery+ for 12 months. But that’s not all; if you’re also planning on activating a tablet or smartwatch, Verizon will give you 50% off either.
At $90 a month for a single line or $55 per line per month for a family of four, Verizon’s Get More plan ain’t cheap. But if you run the math, the extra perks would run you over $30 extra a month on their own.
There are a few noteworthy downsides to this plan, though. For example, you’re limited to 720p video streaming unless you pay an additional $10 a month per line. Also, if you’re looking to travel to Canada or Mexico, Verizon has a hard 0.5GB high-speed data limit per day before getting throttled all the way down to 2G speeds. And lastly, you’ll only get 50GB of high-speed data when using 4G LTE or Verizon’s 5G Nationwide network. However, you can get 4K video streaming and truly unlimited data if you’re connected to the carrier’s 5G ultra-wideband network.
Verizon Get More Unlimited
It’ll cost you an arm and a leg, but Verizon’s Get More Unlimited plan offers the best selection of perks on a superb network.
Moving over to prepaid, Google Fi runs on T-Mobile’s network. And as with T-Mobile’s Magenta Max plan, you’ll also have access to T-Mobile’s 5G network.
You won’t get any fancy perks here like you would if you went with a big carrier like T-Mobile or AT&T, but you are able to travel internationally at no additional cost in over 200 countries. Yep, you read that right—no additional cost and access to the same high-speed data bucket as if you were traveling domestically within the United States.
Note that you do have a soft 22GB throttle based on network capacity; the same thing will apply when roaming internationally. Essentially, if you’re at a congested tower, you’ll be sent to the bottom of the priority list if you’ve used up your 22GB. At $45 a month per line for a family of four or $70 a month for a single line, Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus is a solid option for travel. Heck, it’s a great plan if you have solid T-Mobile coverage at home.
Google Fi Unlimited Plus
Traveling soon? Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan lets you use your high-speed data bucket in over 200 countries.
This one is a bit weird because Visible needs to “certify” your phone to work with its service. And because Visible piggybacks off of Verizon, you’re more likely to have a compatible phone if you’re coming from Verizon. If you don’t, unfortunately, Visible might not be an option for you.
If it works for you, Visible is an incredible value, even if you’re only planning to bring over a single line. Visible also has something called “party pay,” where you can join a party via an invitation link. In theory, you could have hundreds of people in the same “party,” and everyone will be paying $25 per line regardless of who joins or leaves. As long you maintain four or more people in your party, you’re solid.
The only downside of going with Visible is that your hotspot, while unlimited, is permanently throttled to 5Mbps, and you only get calling and texting to Canada and Mexico, no data.
Visible’s Party Pay feature makes your phone plan incredibly cheap at just $25 a month. The carrier piggy backs off of Verizon’s excellent nationwide network.
If you’re not coming from Verizon, Cricket’s offering is the better alternative. At $33 per line for a family of four or $60 for a single line, you’re looking at unlimited up-capped data, 15GB of hotspot data, and unlimited usage in Mexico and Canada.
Cricket piggybacks off AT&T’s network, and, likewise, the plan is similar to the giant’s Unlimited Elite plan. And as we recently reported, Cricket users will even have access to the ad-supported version of HBO Max.
There are a few downsides to going with Cricket, though. For example, you’ll be limited to 480p video streaming, and Cricket seems to be selective on which devices can actually get 5G, even if your phone would technically get 5G if you signed up for AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan.
Cricket Unlimited Family Plan
Need a family plan and want to save some money? Cricket offers by far the most cost-effective family plan around right now.