Hey, Unlimited Data Isn’t Dead!

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Kacper Pempel / Reuters

While the biggest wireless carriers seem hellbent on taking data away, T-Mobile is reversing course and bringing unlimited data back.

Starting September 5, T-Mobile will offer truly unlimited data plans. That means no more throttling to slower speeds if you use too much data in a month.

(MORE: Running the Numbers on AT&T’s New Shared Data Plans)

The new plans won’t cost a lot, either. Subscribers to T-Mobile’s Classic plans will pay $30 on top of voice and text coverage for unlimited data. That’s a minimum $70 per month for a plan with 500 minutes and no text messages, and a maximum of $90 per month with unlimited voice, text and data.

Users can save even more by bringing their own phone and getting a Value plan, where unlimited data rates are reduced to $20 per month. A basic T-Mobile Value plan with 500 minutes will cost $55 per month, and a plan with unlimited voice, text and data will cost $70 per month.

The Value plan should prove interesting later this year, when T-Mobile will allow Apple’s iPhone to run at full data speeds, as All Things Digital reports. Unless T-Mobile starts selling the iPhone directly, users will still have to pay full price ($650 and up) for an unlocked version, but they can save money in the long run on a cheaper data plan. (T-Mobile already has more than one million unlocked iPhones running on its network, but they’re held back to 2G data speeds due to the nature of the network.)

There’s just one catch: With unlimited data, no mobile hotspot use is allowed. For that, you’ll need a 5 GB data plan, which costs $25 per month on the Value service and $35 per month on the Classic service.

A Comeback for Unlimited Data

As the Associated Press points out, unlimited data is enjoying a bit of a renaissance at smaller wireless carriers, who need a way to compete with AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Sprint has always offered unlimited data, and says it will continue to do so as it rolls out its 4G LTE network. MetroPCS has dropped the price of its unlimited data plan from $70 to $55 per month for a limited time.

AT&T and Verizon, meanwhile, are attempting to charge more for fewer gigabytes with their new shared data plans. Unlimited voice and text are mandatory with these new plans, so they’re a worse value than basic individual and family plans if you’d prefer to have more data instead.

Users who are grandfathered in to unlimited data plans are getting pushed aside by the major carriers as well. AT&T throttles these customers when they use more than a few gigabytes per month, and Verizon no longer allows them to purchase new phones at subsidized rates.

Fortunately, the advantages for the two major wireless carriers are eroding. Their coverage is still better overall — though even that depends on where you live — but their phone selection is no longer markedly superior. Apple now sells unlocked iPhones for GSM carriers such as T-Mobile, and offers the iPhone directly through Sprint. If Android’s more your thing, the unlocked Galaxy Nexus is only $350, and works fine on T-Mobile’s network with the cheaper value plan. Samsung’s Galaxy S III is available on all four major carriers, and is coming to MetroPCS later this year.

I doubt that AT&T and Verizon will ever return to unlimited data, at least not without charging a hefty sum. But with three of the five largest wireless carriers now committed to unlimited data, at least you’ve got alternatives.

MORE: Verizon’s New ‘Share Everything’ Plans: Good Deal or Total Ripoff?

17 comments
EMTservice2
EMTservice2

if the unlimited data is only on or only for a smart phone or iphone then it is really not unlimited data

Think about what you do day to day with your current phone.   I know all that I do day to day checking email reply to emails attach pictures to emails plus surf the web maybe look up some videos on you tube or music videos . Well every month it has never exceeded 5 gig . Even if I tried to go more then that I never went over the 5 gig , it came close but never went over the 5 gig cap.   Maybe its due to the mobile web sites are a bit different then regular web sites , so the true question to ask will this unlimited be truly unlimited and for all devices so I could get a data only usb card device for my laptop and be able to surf the internet truly unlimited like if it was on a wifi home connection or is it only for devices like smart phones or iphones.   I certainly want to know that.            Can any one clarify that ?                I will have to ask T Mobile to get the true facts or who ever else (other cellular carriers)offers the unlimited data.  Anyone know or can anser that question for me please reply.  I do know EVDO is truly really unlimited and can be used for a home wifi connection that is high speed like dsl.

I need to get the answer to that question before I go out and try to get there unlimited if its only on devices like smartphones and iphones its really not a workable thing for me as I want to be able to use it on my laptop and be unlimited. Someone please answer that question. Thanks

Netmusketeer.com
Netmusketeer.com

I

Unlimited plans are a great way to  save money on your mobile phones. And its prices are even getting cheaper.

I'm guessing that with these developments in the telecommunication industry mobile will be the next hot spot for advertisements. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) will be unavoidable and its growth is only a question of when.

I just got the chance to know about these new trends when I came upon the http://netmusketeer.com/ website. 

Baton Rouge Architect
Baton Rouge Architect

Glad I kept my ATamp;T plan since I've had unlimited data for around 8 years, amazing how much they charge for data plans now...

Whenever I speak with customer service, they are jealous of my plan.

Matteo Rodrigo
Matteo Rodrigo

whats the price for 500 min texts and unlimited data? vs 2gb data?  Ihate VZ, I was planning to get an iphone and they went ahead and increased their 2gb plan by $30.  It sucks.  I wanted to move to iphone and the carriers are going to prevent me.  Sprints network is too crappy amp; ATT is so hated and now their Facetime shenanigans just makes me unable to sign a contract with them.  So I may have to get rid of my MacbookPro and just go Android.  Tmobile is going to offer the best plans but after seeing their specific data coverage, I am a little worried -they seemed to have a lot more gaps than I thought and their service has been poor - and who knows if unlimited will tax their network.  I also dont want to overpay and most people dont need unlimited data except for a sense of security.  RIght now, I only pay $30 for a smartphone because Im on wifi most of the time.  So what do people think is the best plan for asingle persons iphone plan

Jack Xiao
Jack Xiao

It is sad that my country do not have such kind of service. Unlimited data plan in my country seems to be a dream and this dream can only comes true with the help of Kechara Wish Fulfilling Chakras. The data provider in my country is just concern about the money, they will not ever do this kind of promotion.

Jim Adams
Jim Adams

The T-Mobile plan still requires an additional voice/text purchase that puts the total cost at $69.99 a month or higher. Solavei offers unlimited 4G text,talk and data using T-Mobile towers for $49 a month. They also pay you for sharing the plan with others http://49dollarcell.com

EMTservice2
EMTservice2

What everyone should know ....Unlimited data has been offered for a long time by Sprint but not directly threw them when they sold out there high speed data network to a private company called Cyberonic , they offer it as EVDO high speed using 3G and 4G networks of Sprint .  They offer it but at a cost... You have to buy the equipment a wifi router with a Sprint access card for around 350 or so for the equipment and one month of service unlimited data.   There rates keep changing the monthly fee was 89 then went down to 69 now up to 110 a month not to mention if you need to buy signal improving external antennas and amplifiers the cost really over exceeds its worth .   They were monopolizing the unlimited as no one else offered it not even satellite which has a cap on it as well now and has for a while now.

I am glad that T Mobile is offering this as I plan to change over to them as soon s they have it available.  I am sure that once one has it the other carriers will all have it offered as well.

The price is right too not too much and no fancy expensive equipment is needed like with the EVDO , router access card external antennas and more. 

T Mobile you won me back again as a customer , and both my business and my personal use we will be returning for the unlimited data rates and service

pjchooch
pjchooch

VirginMobile (Sprint) has unlimited data + 300min voice for $35/mo. And no contract. And the iPhone...

clynx
clynx

It's a start. Once there is an audit on what data is truly costing these companies and it gets out that we are being charged too much for data's true value, we may start to see more unlimited data plans.  Now that broadband is pretty much a metropolitan service and the wired ISP's refuse to expand to rural areas, we need to see more of this in undeserved areas.

Jared Newman
Jared Newman

Nah. You may recall a few years ago when some lawmakers made a big stink over text messaging, which in terms of cost per byte is a huge ripoff. Nothing ever came of it. I'd love a lower bill, but the reality is that companies can charge what they want if people are willing to pay.

Edit: The point is, if we start to see more unlimited plans, it'll be because of people voting with their wallets, not because of external pressure.

Matteo Rodrigo
Matteo Rodrigo

 But now most plans on Sprint, Tmobile, Verizon and prepaids include texting.  Its the ATT old plans that still can charge you for ind. texts if you dont get a texting plan --- but their share plans include texting, and the old plans I predict will be gone sooner than later.  So Jared, as an individual customer, what is one to do if they want an iphone at an affordable rate and a decent network.  I feel VZ is way too expensive now (2gb at 100); Sprints data is just awful and I havent heard many good things about LTE yet; and ATT seems to be the devil - everyone complains about them amp; hates them and their recent move about Facetime Cellular really rubs me the wrong way --- customers pay for data so let them use it.  Id think it'd be better for ATT as users might go over and then get charged overages.

drjimmybrungus
drjimmybrungus

This is good news, the trend of paying more for less with Verizon and ATamp;T needs to stop.

Matteo Rodrigo
Matteo Rodrigo

 Yeah I now see these 2 as evil and greedy.  One thing I worry about is the government thankfully prevented the ATT /Tmobile merger.  But if we get a Romney administration, that may not be the case and we'll have a duopoly in 4 years.  Profit! Profit! Profit!

Barry Wilson
Barry Wilson

IMPORTANT fact: unlimited data is ONLY for the phone!

 

You can NOT tether or use your phone as a hotspot or connect YOUR other devices through your phone. Even though your T-Mobile phone has that option, if you try to use it, you will be told that you cannot. That your "unlimited data plan" does not support this.

 

More BullSh*%

Matteo Rodrigo
Matteo Rodrigo

 I guess youd like it better if the cell carrier paid you to use their data network

drjimmybrungus
drjimmybrungus

  Um, the article DOES tell you that:

"There’s just one catch: With unlimited data, no mobile hotspot use is allowed. For that, you’ll need a 5 GB data plan, which costs $25 per month on the Value service and $35 per month on the Classic service."

Chris Legg
Chris Legg

Just root it and use the hotspot anyway!!!