How to Get an Unlimited Cellular Data Plan

Yes…. no really… YES!!  It is true you can get an unlimited cellular data plan and it isn’t that hard.

In this article we cover three ways to get your hands on an unlimited cellular data plan including ones from major carriers like Verizon, Sprint & AT&T. Update (February 15th, 2017): Quite a few changes in the unlimited data landscape have occurred since this article was posted in late 2015, one of the largest being Verizon’s announcement that they are bringing back unlimited data. Check out a number of different unlimited options and their costs and restrictions at the bottom of this article. Thanks for checking in and make sure to comment if you have any suggestions or additional input!

This video covers three options (update: We’ve added a 4th option!)

  1. Karma WirelessJANUARY 2016 UPDATE: Karma has just announced 15GB data caps on their Neverstop plans. This plan is no longer unlimited unfortunately. An up and coming carrier running on Sprint’s 4G/3G network offering unlimited data service in over 400 major cities in the United States. Check out their coverage map, it isn’t bad and this device might make a great primary with a smaller data plan from Verizon or AT&T as your backup for rural areas.. Our video goes into detail on what Karma can and can’t do for you…
  2. Unlimitedville: Unlimitedville is a small Tennessee based company that specializes in providing internet access to rural customers who do not have access to DSL or cable internet. They provide unlimited cellular services to businesses and end users through the Sprint network for only 42.99 per month! The data is not throttled but there is a 2 year Sprint contract required. Credit checks are done through Sprint and Sprint says they reserve the right to decline service to anyone however we’ve heard that most folks with good credit are approved without issue. For those with credit issues, Sprint usually offers  the ability to pre-pay for services which is another option. You can learn more about Unlimitedville on their website.
  3. Assumption of Liability – This option is a risky one these days (2015-2016) but still a possibility if you a Verizon or AT&T rep. who isn’t yet familiar with their updated policies and procedures.  This video goes into detail on the pros and cons of this option..
  4. Verizon/AT&T Plan Rental – A more popular option than you might think. Many owners of large business accounts are renting their data plans to those willing to pay between 125 and 200 per month for 4G unlimited, uncapped data speeds. Our video explains exactly how you can get your hands on one of these rental options.

Have another option for unlimited cellular data? Please post your comments and feedback below and we’ll respond quickly and make sure the conversation on this topic continues!

Update: A big thanks to David Good, one of our followers for pointing out that we forgot to mention the Karma device requires users to “sign in” via a login page when accessing the internet. This can mean that devices like Apple TV’s that currently do not support internet connections that require a sign in will not work unless additional hardware like a router is added to your setup. Also please see our January 2016 update above. 

Here is a brief summary list of the current offerings we’ve found by carrier as of February 15th, 2017.

(Below data reference from wired.com article that we’ve validated for accuracy. Original article located here)

AT&T
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.

Verizon
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.

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.

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.

Sprint
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.

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.

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.


Erik McCauley

Comments

  1. Available technology is not keeping up with modern needs. Quite obviously apparent in the fact that this blog exists. What we need is a national (or international) wifi system available. A unified system that would allow for connection to your ‘carrier’ wherever you may be. All to often, many are mobile or need to rely on mobile (cellular) to even get a signal. We are no longer living in the 1950’s. Internet connectivity is vital in many phases of business and personal life today. I’ve been advocating for FCC requirements to make such plans readily available. Perhaps even congressional (ug trying to get congress to act on anything) law.

  2. July 10, 2017. Please note that the Verizon UNLIMITED plan is supposed to give the buyer access to the same UNLIMITED services in Canada….NOT SO!

    We talked with 5 different Verizon “geniuses” and each gave us the line that UNLIMITED data worked in Canada. Once we go into Canada, where we are going to be staying for 3 months, we found out that the local Inet providers (Rogers, TELUS, etc.) bring your work to a screeching halt by throttling after .5 GB has been downloaded per day. I fart bigger than that!
    We went back and contact Verizon, and here is the party line we were given, that no one appears to have known about, and we could not find in the fine print:
    “…int’l data reduced to 2G speeds after 500 MB/day. If more than 50% of your talk, text or data usage in a 60-day period is in Canada or Mexico, use of those services in those countries may be removed or limited. Auto pay (checks or debit cards only) & paper free billing required. Discounts not available.”

  3. Elizabeth Says: July 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    With the Verizon unlimited data plan will a SIM card removed from a phone and put into a router still look like a phone so data will not be throttled back after 10G?

    • Hi Elizabeth, unfortunately Verizon sims are tied to the Mac address of the device. Swapping the sim without calling Verizon will not work and it will not connect to internet. You could use a wifi ranger which supports tethering and plug a phone via USB into the wifi ranger router which would work however I believe you would still be subject to the limitations which I believe is ~20gb at this point.

      • Elizabeth Says: July 12, 2017 at 3:31 pm

        Hi Erik, that was quick. Thank you. Actually, you have a WiFi Ranger already. Would you possibly be willing to test it? To use the Verizon hot spot you must turn it on. If you can plug in a phone, have it connect to the Internet, and not turn on the hot spot it seems to me that you would not be subject to being throttled back. That sounds too simple so I’m probably wrong. I, so far, can’t even get the TV to mirror the phone to watch videos.

  4. Unlimitedville no longer offers the Sprint plan. We have had it for almost a year and it’s great when Sprint works.

  5. BoxinTheCompass Says: March 15, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Wow that is really good pricing… significant pricing structure changes since you purchased. And that double your purchase deals makes it even sweeter.

    I think when we do make the plunge to the RV lifestyle we will resort to T-mobile and use their Binge On instead of satellite tv… we would mostly use the BingeOn for tv viewing with Netlix and Amazon Prime and either Sony Vue or Sling TV. We could probably use the 6-10gb plan for email and simple web page viewing and use Binge On for tv and video viewing and upscale the 480p picture. Good upscaler makes a pretty darn good picture.

    Karma may change their pricing structure again, but they can because they have no contracts. I am surprised they left you alone with your current plan.

    Thanks for the info…

    • BoxinTheCompass Says: March 15, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Sorry the above conversation was for Matt (and anybody else). I must have clicked the wrong REPLY button! LOL

  6. George Raney Says: February 20, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Guess what? Yesterday, 2/19/16, Karma changed their business plan once again–second time in a month. So, I compared the per gig cost for Verizon and for Karma. Karma’s plans now vary from $8/gig (5gb) to $7/gig (20gb). Verizon varies from $4.72/gig for the 18gb plan and $8.50/gb for the 6 gb plan. Yes, Verizon’s hidden charges are mystifying. Karma has a beautiful marketing front end. However, as the wizard of oz is obviously behind the scenes pulling levers and changing their logistics, I wonder about Karma’s ability to stay in business.

    • BoxinTheCompass Says: February 20, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Hi George,
      That’s a significant change from their earlier plan offerings

      $140 for 20 gig? Kinda pricey IMO

      I think if you look at what you need data for and for a lot of people its Netflix and Amazon prime… That makes T-Mobile very attractive now… They have added a few million new customers with no contracts, binge on streaming (480p DVD definition) and improved coverage

      We’ll see what happens with karma… But its hard to hit a moving target

    • George, all good points. I’ve never seen a mobile company change plans so fast and change them right from under existing clients. Have you checked out Unlimitedville? We posted new information in the post recently. Best of luck and let us know how you make out!

  7. BoxinTheCompass Says: January 25, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Have you guys looked at the T-mobile plans with binge on option for most streaming websites? I know the video quality is locked in at 480p, but it covers most streaming sites with unlimited srtreaming and the remaining 6 or 10 gig can be used for email and web surfing

    Seems for RVrs to be a potential alternative now

    • Its an interesting idea. My issue is really the tmobile network. We haven’t had much luck outside of ATT/Sprint/Verizon when you start to get rural. Besides that the feature needs to be enabled for “all” streaming content which means if you turn it on, all of your streaming will be non-hd. That does make sense as I don’t know how they would police it otherwise but i’d like to see more carriers offer truly unlimited data, even if it’s at a reduced speed (2-3mbps plans that were truly unlimited would be refreshing to see). For me, i’d say option 3 is really the best option for now. You have zero hassle and no contract on a major carrier for 125 a month. Who can beat that? I’d definitely be interested in the feedback though if you get your hands on a binge on plan! Thanks for checking in!

      • BoxinTheCompass Says: January 29, 2016 at 7:54 am

        Hi Erik,
        T-mobile has increased their coverage in the past couple of months… including 4GLTE

        http://www.t-mobile.com/coverage-map.html?icid=WMM_TM_CVRGMPEVRG_RQZ41N6NRP3896

        People who werent able to get signal are now getting signal

        480p is not that bad of a picture on tv (better on small mobile device) and it is standard definition but better than 480i and is dvd quality. You connect to an upscaling tv or use upscaling player and you dont get too shabby a picture.

        I dont have T-mobile but friends of mine who do report better coverage

        The Karma plan is no longer unlimited and throttles at 15Gbps down to 2G/3G… so its pretty drastic change in their unlimited plan from a month ago

        Preston

  8. Don Lockhart Says: December 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Interesting info Erik. Thanks for posting. The Karma one sounds interesting to us to help ensure we don’t go over on our ATT or Verizon devices even it it is a little more limited in speed and coverage. It would be fine as a supplement to keep the use on the other 2 down under the limits. Thanks!

    • Thanks Don, the other option is to get a Karma Refuel plan. Its like the unlimited but its higher speed and you only pay for what you use. You pay between 10-14 dollars per GB and the data never expires. You could get this plan and simply buy 50 per month worth of data (3-5gb per month). If you dont use it it would accumulate and when you have a heavy usage month on your ATT you would have a bunch of “banked” karma hours rather than continually paying the 50.00 per month whether you use it or not. Its a pretty cool company but i’d expect Sprint to buy them up in the next 12-36 months so don’t wait too long. The carriers seem to always buy these companies once they hit a certain size!

      • The Karma Refuel plan has another benefit that I use. Every few weeks Karma has a one day double your gb for the basic price. I normally buy 50gb and refuel when I need it but on the the double up day I’ll buy 50gb and get an extra 50gb free!. Thats a 100 Gb. A real deal!!

        • BoxinTheCompass Says: March 14, 2016 at 10:29 pm

          Matt,
          Are you stating the amount of data correctly via Karma?

          50gb at $14@gb would be $700 if purchased via Pulse

          50gb would be $590 if purchased via Refuel

          Did you mean 5gb at $59?

          Thanks!

          • I had made this purchase before Karma made the big changes in their rates. 50Gb was being sold at $50. On “pay as you go”. They had a 24 hr sale “Double your purchase” for the same price. I received 100Gb for $50. I also received a email a few weeks later announcing another Double your purchase sale.
            This was again before the big rate changes at Karma. I’d venture to say that there will be more Double your purchase sales in the future.

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