Avoid Cellphone Slowdowns: Get the Best High-Speed Data Plan

Woman looking skeptical on cellphone
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This post comes from partner site Whistleout.com:

Here’s what you need to understand when cellphone providers promise “unlimited data”: It doesn’t mean unlimited high-speed data.

Most carriers now offer unlimited data plans, but often they don’t make it easy to see how much high-speed 4G LTE data you’ll get. So something that happens with most cellphone plans is that during times of network congestion (i.e., when everyone is trying to access the internet at the same time), mobile data speeds will slow down. Think of it like rush hour traffic. The more cars there are on the roads, the slower the traffic moves. It’s essentially the same thing when it comes to mobile data — the more people using data, the slower your speeds will be.

That inevitable slowdown has often been buried in the fine print of cellphone deals offering unlimited data.

Here’s the good news: Some carriers are now offering a guaranteed amount of high-speed data to customers before they suffer data speed slow downs (or deprioritization), even during rush hour in the mobile data world. In other words, on these plans it is only after you’ve used up your allotment of high-speed data that you will be subject to network congestion speeds.

So which carriers offer the most guaranteed high-speed data? Read on to find out!

50GB or more

Verizon wins the prize for offering the most guaranteed high-speed data. Their Above Unlimited Plan includes a generous 75GB of high-speed data before you’ll be subjected to reduced speeds during network congestion. You’ll have to weigh whether that’s worth the price: $95/month plus taxes and fees.

Other carriers and unlimited plans that offer more than 50GB of guaranteed high-speed data per month include:

  • Sprint:
    • Unlimited Freedom Plan: 50GB (currently $0/month on current deal)
    • Unlimited Basic Plan: 50GB for $60/month
    • Unlimited Plus Plan: 50GB for $70/month
  • T-Mobile:
    • Essentials: 50GB for $60/month
    • ONE: 50GB for $70/month
    • ONE Plus: 50GB for $85/month
  • Ultra Mobile:
    • Monthly Plan: 50GB for $50/month

25GB or more

If you don’t need as much as 50GB — which is a lot of mobile data for most people — then you can save some money by opting for a lower cost plan that offers 35GB per month at 4G LTE speeds. Here are some of the options:

  • Metro by T-Mobile:
    • $50 Unlimited Plan: 35GB for $50/month
    • $60 Unlimited Plan: 35GB for $50/month
  • Boost Mobile:
    • Ultimate Unlimited: 35GB for $80/month
  • Virgin Mobile
    • $60 Unlimited Plan: 35GB for $60/month

Less than 25GB

How much data you need depends on your habits. If you utilize Wi-Fi wherever and whenever possible — including at home and at work — you can avoid burning through lots of data and maybe get by with less than 25GB of data each month. If that’s you, consider one of these plans:

  • Boost Mobile Unlimited Gigs: 23GB for $50/month
  • TextNow Unlimited LTE Plan: 23GB for $29.99/month
  • Xfinity Mobile Unlimited Data Option: 20GB for $45/month
  • AT&T Unlimited & More: 22GB for $80/month
  • Verizon Wireless Beyond Unlimited: 22GB for $85/month
  • CREDO Mobile Unlimited Data Plan: 20GB for $85/month

Beware these unlimited plans

All plans are subject to slower speeds during times of congestion at some point. But be aware that there are some plans advertised as unlimited that offer no 4G LTE data at all.

It’s easy to be deceived by these offers — though technically the carriers aren’t lying — and wind up frustrated with your cellphone’s performance.

Cricket Wireless, for example, offers two different unlimited plans: Unlimited ($55/month) and Unlimited Extra ($60/month). Their cheaper unlimited plan only offers data speeds up to 3Mbps, while their Unlimited Extra plan offers 4G LTE speeds. (Cricket Wireless is one carrier that does a good job of clearly stating the data speeds for each plan, although the same cannot be said of all carriers.)

US Mobile is another prepaid carrier that offers slower data speeds (1Mbps) although they do give you the option to upgrade to faster speeds for an additional fee.

If an unlimited plan seems too good (or cheap) to be true, check the fine print. Make sure the amount of data promised, as well as the speed of that data, is going to meet your needs.

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