Verizon family plan price: myPlan: Best Unlimited Data Cell Phone Plans for You

Verizon Family Cell Phone Plans

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Verizon’s network is top of the line — and that performance comes at a price. Sprint and T-Mobile often beat Verizon on price, including on the unlimited data front.

At a glance

  • Plans start at $140 per month for two lines.

  • Notables: When you sign up for an unlimited plan, you also get other perks including at least 6 months of Disney+, Apple Arcade, and Apple Music.

Verizon family cell phone plans

Unlimited plans

Verizon has four main unlimited plans, which you can mix-and-match to fit your family’s needs, plus a Just Kids plan, which can be added to any unlimited plan. You can activate up to five lines online, but if you need more you’ll need to go to a store or use the website’s chat function.

There is a $10 per month, per line discount on any unlimited plan if you opt for automatic payments, but you have to use a debit card or checking account to get the discount.

Start Unlimited: Video streaming limited to standard definition. Mobile hot spot is not included with this plan.

  • Two lines: $140.

  • Three lines: $165.

  • Four lines: $180.

  • Five lines: $200.

Play More Unlimited: Includes 15GB of high-speed mobile hot spot usage per line, per month. Disney+ is included; Apple music subscription is included for 6 months.

  • Two lines: $160.

  • Three lines: $195.

  • Four lines: $220.

  • Five lines: $250.

Do More Unlimited: Includes 15GB of high-speed mobile hot spot usage per line, per month and you can get 50% off an unlimited plan for your tablet or connected devices.

  • Two lines: $160.

  • Three lines: $195.

  • Four lines: $220.

  • Five lines: $250.

Get More Unlimited: Includes 30GB of high-speed mobile hot spot usage per line, per month. Also comes with Disney+, Apple Music, and 50% off select connected device plans.

  • Two lines: $180.

  • Three lines: $225.

  • Four lines: $260.

  • Five lines: $300.

Just Kids: Can be added to any unlimited plan for $60 per line. The kids plan includes 5GB of data and built-in parental controls, including content filters, location tracking and the ability to block certain apps.

Shared data plans

Verizon offers two shared data plans: 5GB and 10GB. Both plans include unlimited minutes and text messages, and unused data can be carried over to the next billing cycle.

Below are the prices for two lines on Verizon’s shared data plans. Additional lines are $35 per line and share from the same data package. You can save $10 per month, per line, if you sign up for automatic payments using a bank account or debit card.

  • 5GB: $100.

  • 10GB: $110.

Verizon unlimited plan: How it compares on price

Prices listed are for the least expensive plan when more than one unlimited plan is available. The pricing doesn’t include taxes, fees or autopay discounts.

Monthly price comparison

1 line

2 lines

3 lines

4 lines

T-Mobile

$105***

$125***

Verizon

U.S. Cellular

Boost**

Metro by T-Mobile

Cricket* **

*Restricted LTE data download speeds. **Prices include taxes and/or fees. *** Pricing includes a 3rd Line Free limited time deal.

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On a similar note…

best verizon phone plans | Tom’s Guide

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In many ways, finding the best Verizon phone plan has never been more simple, especially if you want unlimited data. Then again, figuring out just what your unlimited data plan gets you at Verizon can get pretty complicated pretty quickly.

Confused? Don’t worry — we’re here to help. And with Verizon revamping its unlimited plans, you might need some help sorting through the remaining choices, which do include some of the best unlimited data plans available.

Verizon once offered as many as six unlimited data plans, but in May 2023, it whittled down the options to just two. One plan — Unlimited Welcome — gets you basic coverage, including 5G service. The more expensive option, Unlimited Plus, features faster 5G speeds and hotspot data coverage. As for other perks, those are available as add-ons, which you can add and drop on a monthly basis.

Verizon’s prepaid phone plans are unchanged, and that’s a good thing, since they’re pretty attractive, if a little more expensive than some of the best prepaid phone plans out there. But whether you want to opt for one of those prepaid offerings or Verizon’s postpaid unlimited plans, we can help you find the best Verizon phone plan to fit your needs and budget.

If you’re looking for more ways to save at Verizon, we routinely check for the best Verizon phone deals. You also can find some decent discounts with our Verizon promo codes, so it’s worth taking a look at them before you proceed through the checkout.

The three best Verizon plans

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Verizon | Unlimited Plus | $80/month — Best unlimited plan
Verizon’s Unlimited Plus is the best choice if you want unlimited data, thanks to its faster 5G coverage. The cheaper Unlimited Welcome plan can access Verizon’s nationwide 5G network, but Unlimited Plus can tap into the faster Ultra Wideband service. Plus, the plan comes with 30GB of hotspot data. Other perks, like Disney’s streaming service and international Travel Passes, are available as $10 add-ons.

Verizon | 15GB prepaid | $35 – Best prepaid option at Verizon
Verizon’s prepaid plans cram a lot of data in for the price, making it one of the best prepaid phone plans out there. The best option gets you 15GB of data for $45 a month but if you set up AutoPay, that price drops to $35 after the first month of payments. Signing up for autopay means you no longer get Verizon’s loyalty discounts for keeping your prepaid account open at Verizon, but the autopay discount is steeper than it was before.

Verizon | Unlimited Welcome | $65/month — Best for families
Unlimited Welcome starts at $65/month for one line of data and offers just the basics (though, as with Unlimited Plus, you can tack on extras through $10 add-ons). For households on a budget, though, this might be the best way to get unlimited data as four lines will cost just $120/month. Discounts from trading in your current phone can lower that monthly rate further when you switch.

The best Verizon phone plans available now

(Image credit: Verizon)

1. Verizon Unlimited Plus plan

The best Verizon phone plan for unlimited data

Specifications

Amount of data: Unlimited

Cost: $80/month (includes $10 autopay discount)

Family cost (4 lines): $180/month

Perks: Ultrawideband 5G coverage; 30GB of hotspot data

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Verizon’s fastest 5G coverage

+

Three-year price guarantee

+

30GB hotspot data

Reasons to avoid

$10 add-ons can add up

Verizon’s most expensive plan

If you need just one line of unlimited data for your phone, we’d recommend Verizon’s Unlimited Plus plan. It gives you access to Verizon’s growing Ulta Wideband 5G coverage, which is Verizon’s fastest service. You can consume as much data as you like, and you even get 30GB of hotspot data.

Even with discounts as you add lines, Unlimited Plus can be pricey for families, with four lines of data costing $180 before you add any perks. (More on those in a moment.) Keep in mind that Verizon lets you mix-and-match lines so some members of the family can opt for Unlimited Plus while others get the less expensive Unlimited Welcome service.

We mentioned add-ons. Verizon now offers things like Disney’s streaming bundle, a family subscription to Apple Music, Travel Passes for international travel and cloud storage as $10/month add-ons. The good news is you can mix and match the add-ons you like and even drop them in months you don’t need them. The bad news is that a lot of add-ons can supersize your monthly phone bill before you know it.

2. Verizon 15GB prepaid plan

Best prepaid phone plan at Verizon

Specifications

Amount of data: 15GB

Cost: $35/month (after $10 autopay discount)

Family cost (4 lines): $140/month

Perks: Mobile hotspot; International texting; Talk, text and data in Canada and Mexico

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Lots of data

+

Discounts for autopay

+

Includes some 5G access

Reasons to avoid

No discounts for additional lines

Can’t combine loyalty discounts with autopay discount

Verizon’s prepaid plans don’t feature a lot in the way of perks, as is often the case when comparing prepaid vs. postpaid phone service. But Verizon’s prepaid options do pack in data, especially the carrier’s 15GB plan. Even better, it’s easy to lower the cost of your plan right away, making this 15GB one of the best cheap cell phone plans we’ve found.

Verizon’s 15GB plan costs $40 a month, but enrolling in autopay now takes $10 off the monthly rate. (It used to be a $5 discount.) A month after starting your service, your autopay discount kicks in, immediately dropping the cost of your Verizon prepaid plan.

Verizon continues to offer loyalty discounts for sticking with the carrier for coverage — $5 off after three months and and another $5 after nine months — but you can’t apply both the autopay and loyalty discounts. It’s either one or the other, so the lowest your bill can go is $35.

The only other prepaid options at Verizon are a pair of unlimited plans. They cost $50/month and $60/month after $10 autopay discounts. While all prepaid plans have access to Verizon’s nationwide 5G service, only the $60 Unlimited Data Plus gives prepaid customers access to super-fast Ultra Wideband 5G.

3. Verizon Unlimited Welcome plan

The best Verizon phone plan for families

Specifications

Amount of data: Unlimited

Cost: $65/month (includes $10 autopay discount)

Family cost (4 lines): $120/month

Perks: 5G coverage

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy

+

Verizon’s more affordable unlimited data plan

+

Includes 5G coverage

+

Access to same $10 add-ons as Unlimited Plus

Reasons to avoid

No hotspot data

Data speeds can be slowed when there’s lots of traffic

Verizon phone plans used to extremely pricey, but the Unlimited Welcome plan lets you access the network’s coverage for just $65/month for a single line of data. There are caveats to that plan, of course — there’s no hotspot data as there is with the Unlimited Plus plan and Verizon can slow your speeds if its network gets congested.

Still, for if you need multiple lines, Unlimited Welcome may be the best family cell phone plan at Verizon. Thanks to multiline discounts, four lines of data cost just $120/month. A current trade-in offer lets you lower the cost of each line by $5 per month, lowering the monthly total to $100. The ability to mix-and-match plans means that some lines can have Unlimited Plus while others get Unlimited Welcome.

The same add-ons available for Unlimited Plus customers also work for Unlimited Welcome. So you could tack on the Disney bundle with Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus and pay $75 for a single line of data plus all three of those streaming services.

Verizon unlimited phone plan add-ons

Both the Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Welcome plans have access to nine different add-ons, each of which cost $10/month. Through these add-ons, you can tack on extra benefits to your wireless plan. The end result is a benefit-packed offering that compares well to best cell phone plans out there, though the risk is that adding too many benefits can drive up the cost of your Verizon plan.

Verizon would counter that the advantage to making these extra benefits into separate add-ons is that you only need to add the things that appeal to you. If you don’t do any international traveling, for example, you can safely ignore the Travel Pass benefit. What’s more, Verizon’s $10 pricing reflects a savings from what you would pay for the benefit on its own — anywhere from $5 to $25 in savings each month depending on the add-on. Disney’s bundle of Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus would normally cost you $15/month, so you’re saving $5 by getting it through Verizon.

Here’s the list of benefits available to Welcome Plus and Welcome Unlimited customers:

  • 100GB Mobile hotspot
  • Disney Bundle (Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus)
  • Walmart+ Membership
  • Apple One
  • Apple Music Family
  • 2TB Cloud Storage
  • Smartwatch Data and Safety
  • 3 TravelPass Days
  • +play monthly credit

What are the best 5G Verizon plans?

(Image credit: SOPA images)

Verizon launched its 5G network in 2019, but the real boost came with the 2022 launch of C-Band spectrum. That extended Verizon’s fast Ultra Wideband network to more areas, with 200 million people now covered by C-Band speeds. We tested Verizon’s C-Band when it launched and came away impressed by Verizon’s improved network.

As for Verizon nationwide 5G coverage, it reaches more than 230 million people at this point. That service isn’t as fast as Ultra Wideband 5G or C-Band 5G, but it’s more pervasive at this point, even if T-Mobile currently beats Verizon on 5G reach and average speed.

If you live in an area that’s covered by Verizon’s 5G network and want to experience faster coverage, unlimited data is the best Verizon plan to get. In particular, you’ll want to opt for the Unlimited Plus plan, as it has access to Ultra Wideband 5G. Prepaid plans get the nationwide 5G coverage as well, with the Unlimited Plus prepaid service enjoying Ultra Wideband speeds where available.

Many of the best 5G phones are available through Verizon including the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 4 and all four iPhone 14 models. Verizon also has some 5G exclusives like the TCL 30 V 5G.

The best Verizon phone deals can help you find the best prices on all sorts of handsets, 5G-capable models included.

Are Verizon plans good for seniors?

Verizon does offer a discounted unlimited data plan to anyone 55 years and older, but there’s a huge catch — Verizon’s 55+ plan is only available for people living in Florida. If you’ve got a Florida billing address, you can get two lines of unlimited data for $80 a month, with video streaming at 480p resolution, unlimited mobile hotspot data (though restricted to 2G speeds), and the ability to use your plan in Canada and Mexico. A single line of data costs $60.

T-Mobile offers discounted unlimited plans for seniors 55 years and older that are $10 less expensive than what Verizon charges, and those plans are available to anyone regardless of where they live. T-Mobile also includes 5G coverage with its senior plans. That’s why we think T-Mobile has the best cell phone plans for seniors — unless you’re in Florida, of course.

How to choose the best Verizon phone plan

Finding the best Verizon phone plan for your wireless needs involves choosing between unlimited data or turning to the tiered data options from Verizon’s prepaid service.

If your smartphone usage involves a lot of streaming — be it movies or music — you’re going to want to look at Verizon’s two unlimited options. Should your data needs begin and end with browsing the internet, checking email and the occasional social media post, you can probably get away with a tiered prepaid data plan. 

If possible, look at your monthly data usage on your current plan to see how much you’re consuming on average — if it’s 15GB or less, you can save money each month by going prepaid. Just be aware that you won’t get as many perks with a prepaid as you would with one of Verizon’s postpaid options.

Is Verizon your only option for Verizon’s network?

While getting service directly from Verizon is the way to ensure you get Verizon’s top speeds and best plans, there are other carrier options if you want to use Verizon’s network without paying so much for your service. MVNOs — short for mobile virtual network operators — piggy-back on other carriers’ networks to provide lower-cost service. The trade-off is that the parent carrier prioritizes its own customers so you might see slower speeds.

In the case of Verizon MVNOs, several use Verizon’s superior network for their own 5G coverage. The best isn’t technically an MVNO, as Visible is owned and operated by Verizon. Notably, Visible’s unlimited data plans start at $30 a month — more than half of what you’d pay for service at Verizon, while using the same network. 

Xfinity Mobile also uses Verizon’s network to offer phone service for Comcast customers who also get their internet service through the provider. Adding multiple lines lowers the cost of unlimited data plans to $30 per line with Xfinity Mobile, making it an attractive option for families.

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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide. He’s been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He’s been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he’s been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.

Family Plans: What’s the Best Smartphone Plan

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Purchasing a family plan gets complicated fast. While carrier websites are getting easier to navigate and choices are getting a little easier to compare, there are still plenty of ways that carriers overcharge. And choosing the right operator and the right amount of data when you have three, four, or even more people using the same plan can quickly lead to a lot of decisions and a lot of potential errors. Luckily, we’ve gathered all the information you need to compare family plans offered by major US carriers and find out which one is best for you.

Best Shared Family Plan: T-Mobile

T-Mobile | Source: iStock

how many children does Michael Strahan have

Stuart Woolpin and Philip Michaels report for Tom’s Guide that T-Mobile is the best choice for a family plan because the carrier gives each person on the plan an individual data pool (instead of requiring all family members to use the same data pool). The carrier also offers a generous amount of data and significant discounts as you add more lines to your plan, which can help make it a little less painful for you to add teenagers or teens to your plan.

T-Mobile currently offers a family plan that costs $120 for four lines that each get 10 GB of data. T-Mobile’s family plan is Woolpin and Michaels’ top choice thanks to custom data pools, no access fees, and generous discounts on more expensive plans. T-Mobile typically charges $50 per month for the first line of a family plan, $30 for the second, and $10 for each additional line. The basic family plan includes 2GB of data per line, while you can choose 6GB per line for an additional $15 per month, 10GB for an additional $30, or unlimited data for an additional $45.

A family of four who needs 10 GB of data per line usually pays $220 per month, but T-Mobile rebates and promotions bring the price down to $140. This is very important for the amount of data you receive, especially since the carrier’s Data Stash program adds all unused data to next month’s allotment. Even if you only need two lines, T-Mobile offers an attractive family plan: a two-line plan that gives each person 6 GB and only costs $80 a month, $30 less than the typical price. Or, if you have a family full of smartphone users who need data, the promotions cut the cost of the four-line unlimited plan from $280 to $220 per month.

A trusted alternative to T-Mobile: Verizon

If Verizon has better coverage than T-Mobile in your area, consider a family plan | Source: iStock

A good alternative to T-Mobile’s family plan is the Verizon plan, which can be an attractive choice for many users thanks to Verizon’s excellent network. In particular, if you live in an area where Verizon’s network consistently outperforms T-Mobile’s, Verizon’s data plan might be a good choice. However, be aware that each row in the plan will not receive a separate pool of data, and the carrier has recently changed their plans to cost a little more (but also include more data).

Verizon used to charge a family of four $160 per month for 12 GB of data. (This has been reduced to 12 GB of data for $80 plus $20 for each phone. However, the carrier will add 2 GB of data per month for each phone, bringing the total to $160 for 20 GB of total data). If you need more data, you can pay $100 for 18GB of data. Add to that the bonus 2GB of data and a $20 access fee, and a family of four is paying $180 per month for 26GB of data. With Verizon’s sizing plans, basic “data segments” cost $70 per month for 8GB of data, 9$0 per month for 16 GB of data or $110 per month for 24 GB of data. Verizon has raised prices but also increased the amount of data you get on each tier.

The Large tier has gone from 6GB for $60 to 8GB for $70, while the Extra Large tier has moved from 12GB for $80 to 16GB for $90, and the Super Extra Large tier has gone from 18GB for $100 to 24GB for $110. The $20 per line access fee still applies, which means a family of four will pay $150 for 8GB of data, $170 for 16GB of data, or 19$0 for 24 GB of data. It’s a lot more expensive than what T-Mobile’s family plan offers, especially with the 2GB bonus data promotion already over, but you might still wonder if Verizon’s coverage map looks more attractive in your area than T-Mobile’s.

A good option to cut costs: Sprint

If your main goal is to cut your ever-increasing monthly bill costs, the Sprint Family Plan can probably help you | Source: iStock

According to Tom’s Guide reviewers, the Sprint Family Plan is worth considering if cost reduction is your top priority. The carrier offers a shared 12GB plan that, including a $60 monthly fee and a $20 monthly access fee, costs just $140 for a family of four. The main trade-off is that the Sprint network often lags behind its competitors when it comes to performance. However, for many families, a total of 12 GB of data is enough. On the other hand, the Sprint Unlimited Family Plan costs $75 for the first line, $45 for the second, and $30 for each subsequent line. For a family of four, you’ll pay $180, which is less than what T-Mobile charges for unlimited data. Even better, you can take part in one of Sprint’s periodic promotions that don’t charge the cost of the fourth line.

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The Tom’s Guide reports that AT&T’s family plan, on the other hand, is rarely worth considering. If you live in an area with AT&T star coverage or subscribe to AT&T’s DirecTV satellite service, it might be worth taking a look at the AT&T plan. All AT&T Family Plan members use the same data pool, but the carrier only offers a few options when it comes to data exhaustion. You can choose 2 GB for $30 per month, 5 GB for $50, or 15 GB for $100, which leaves a big gap for families who typically use 6 to 10 GB of data.

The AT&T Family Plan is further complicated by the fact that access fees vary. Families with 5 GB or less of data pay $25 per month for a phone, while those on a 15 GB plan or more pay $15. Including access fees, a family of four will pay $160 per month for 15GB of shared data, while the 5GB plan will cost just $10 less at $150. If you subscribe to DirecTV or U-Verse, you can choose the unlimited plan, which costs $100 for the first line and $40 for additional lines. AT&T now also counts the cost of a fourth line on the bill, so a family of four can get unlimited data for $180 every month if they use AT&T for their TV service.

MVNO family plans to consider: Cricket and Boost Mobile

Other attractive family plans available at MVNO such as Cricket and Boost | Source: iStock

Kelsey Sheehy reports for NerdWallet that another good family plan to consider is Cricket’s Basic Family Plan, which costs $100 for four lines and offers 2. 5GB of data per line. The activation fee is only $25 in store or free online, which can save you a significant amount of money. (For example, on a Sprint Family plan, activation can cost up to $36 per line.) If you need more data, you can get four lines with 5 GB of data each for $160 per month or four lines with 10 GB of data each for $180. .

Cricket is running on the AT&T network and it’s important to remember that LTE Cricket is limited to 8Mbps, which is well below the 20+ Mbps that LTE is capable of. This probably doesn’t matter if you’re mainly browsing the web or scrolling through Facebook, but you’ll likely notice slower speeds if you’re streaming high-definition video or doing similar data-heavy tasks.

Boost Mobile is another MVNO that offers a family plan worth considering, especially if you prefer a prepaid plan. The Boost family plan offers 5 GB of data per line, and you can stream music through various apps without using your data. The plan costs $140 for a family of four. Boost works on the Sprint network, and it’s important to remember that if you want to switch to Boost from a different carrier, you’ll likely have to buy new phones. Another factor to consider if you’re thinking about paying upfront is that while the plan will likely save you money in the long run, it will cost you more upfront to pay full retail price for the phones you want.

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Finding the right family plan takes some work, but it’s worth the research | Source: iStock

Choosing the right family plan requires some shopping comparison and a healthy measure of introspection about what you and your family really need from your carrier. As you may have realized from reading about the various options offered by popular carriers, you’ll need at least a rough idea of ​​how much data you need, and if you have a family in need of data, you may want to consider whether an unlimited plan makes sense. It’s also good to know which carrier offers the best coverage and performance in your area, which can help rule out options that might look attractive but actually leave you frustrated with missed calls and poor reception in the long run.

When looking for a suitable family plan, you should also consider the cost of the phones themselves. Buying new phones on a two-year contract, if available, will end up costing you a lot more than using installment plans or buying phones outright, and you’ll want to evaluate your options if one or more members of your family needs a new phone. Buying new phones in installments will significantly increase your monthly bill, so keep your budget in mind when comparing options.

Finally, when you’re looking for a family plan (or any other plan, for that matter), you should always be on the lookout for discounts and promotions that can reduce your monthly bill. Also check what free and extra services your carrier offers as they can end up saving you a significant amount of money.

More from the Gear & Style cheat sheet:
  • 7 ways to make your smartphone work like new
  • Switching phone companies? How to choose the right phone
  • Looking for a data-only plan? 7 Wireless Carriers to Consider

Comparison of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Unlimited 5G Wireless Plans for iPhone 12

All three major US carriers offer “unlimited” 5G plans for many iPhone 12 owners who want to enjoy faster speeds. AppleInsider avoids the noise to compare plans and help you find the best wireless network for your new iPhone.

Be aware that “unlimited” has caveats. Each carrier plan includes the ability to reduce the data rate after a certain usage level is reached. Also, some plans have limits, such as lower quality video streaming or slower hotspots after reaching a separate modem limit. Each plan also reduces the cost per line when you add additional numbers to your plan.

Each of the three operators has subscription-based value-added services to draw you in and encourage you to opt for the higher tier. For example, T-Mobile bundles Netflix with some family plans, AT&T uses HBO to lure you in, and Verizon adds Disney and Apple Music services to its most expensive package.

Let’s take a look at each network’s options and their accompanying additional features to help you choose the best data plan for your new iPhone 12.

AT&T for iPhone 12

AT&T offers 5G in both standard (sub-6GHz) and mmWave, which it calls “5G+”, in select cities. The network gives you three “Unlimited” plans to choose from, all of which include 5G access.

The highest tier plan at $85 per month per line is called Unlimited Elite. It offers 100GB of data before possibly dropping to much slower 2G speeds. This is the highest amount among carrier plans, so it might be the best choice if you’re streaming a lot of content on the go.

AT&T enjoys the benefit of a Warner Media purchase including a subscription to HBO Max in this top-tier package. Unlimited Elite is also the only AT&T plan with HD streaming. The other two plans are limited to standard definition (SD) video streams.

AT&TThrottle AfterHotspot DataVideo1 Line5+ LinesUnlimited Elite100GB30GBHD $85 each Unlimited Extra 50GB15GBSD $75 each StarterAnytimeN/ASD Unlimited $65 each

Unlimited Extra is AT&T’s mid-range offering 50 GB of data up to a possible limit. This mid-range plan costs $10 less than Unlimited Elite and makes other concessions like a lower hotspot limit (15GB vs. 30GB), SD video, and no HBO.

Unlimited Starter is AT&T’s cheapest 5G plan, and it comes with serious caveats. The telecom operator reserves the right to limit the data transfer rate to 2G at any time due to network congestion. While this may not be a concern in more rural areas, this plan is not suitable for those who live in or near cities.

Unlimited Starter also doesn’t offer any hotspot data or Advanced Mobile Security, which includes spam and scam blocking, secure browsing, and identity monitoring, which the other two plans include. It’s a little cheaper at $65 per month for a single line, but it’s too good of a compromise for city dwellers who need reliable high data rates.

Verizon

Verizon calls its premium tier Get More Unlimited, cost per line is 9$0 per month. The plan supports both sub-6GHz 5G (“5G nationwide”) and 5G mmWave (“5G UltraWideband”) where supported. Under this plan, Verizon may limit your data to 3G after 50 GB of high-speed usage.

The carrier includes 30 GB of 5G or LTE hotspot in its most expensive plan. It adds the Disney package, including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ subscriptions. Verizon is also adding an Apple Music subscription and 600GB of Verizon Cloud, its phone backup service. However, iPhone owners may find it easier to stick with Apple’s built-in iCloud backups.

VerizonThrottle AfterHotspot DataVideo1 Line5 + LinesGet unlimited more50GB30GBHD at $90 each Do more unlimited50GB15GBHD at $80 eachPlay more unlimited50GBN/AHD at $80 eachStart unlimited anytimeN/ASD $70 each

Verizon’s next two tiers cost the same ($80 per line), but emphasize different benefits. Each offer of Do More Unlimited and Play More Unlimited offers 50 GB of data before possible binding. Do More Unlimited prioritizes tethering over hotspot (15GB), Verizon Cloud (600GB), and 50% off tablets, hotspot devices, and smartwatches. Meanwhile, Play More Unlimited replaces these perks with a Disney Bundle subscription.

Verizon’s entry-level Start Unlimited plan costs $70 per line. Like other entry-level plans, it can revert to reduced speeds at any time, so avoid this option if you need reliable data speeds. It also doesn’t include mmWave 5G, though Verizon will add it for an extra $10 a month. Start Unlimited contains no hotspot data, and its subscription add-ons (Apple Music and Disney+) are only available for six-month trials.

T-Mobile

After completing the purchase of Sprint this year, T-Mobile has become the last of the three major US carriers. The company offers three pricing tiers for 5G services: Magenta Plus, Magenta, and Essentials. Unlike other carriers, T-Mobile includes taxes and fees in its pricing and may turn out to be a better deal than you might think.

Magenta Plus costs $85 per line and will probably reduce the amount of data after using 50 GB. In this plan, T-Mobile includes HD video streaming, 20GB of hotspot data (after which it falls back to 3G), a Netflix subscription (standard, two HD screens) for family plans, 5GB of LTE in Canada and Mexico, and Gogo in-flight texting and Wi-Fi.

T-MobileThrottle AfterHotspot DataVideo1 Line5 + LinesMagenta Plus50GB20GBHD $85 each Magenta50GB3GBSD $70 $32 eachEssentialsanytimeN/ASD $60 each

Magenta tier offers $70 per line and has the same 50GB limit to throttle ing. It only offers SD video streaming, lowers the hotspot limit to 3GB before throttling, and offers a lower tier Netflix subscription (Basic, Single Screen SD).

The Essentials plan costs $60 per line and does not include 5G or LTE hotspot data. Like AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile’s cheapest data plan can also limit data any time networks get congested, making it another bad choice for city dwellers.

What will you choose?

None of this matters if you can’t get a 5G signal. Signal reception is the most important factor in making a decision, so be sure to check each carrier’s coverage maps, including 5G deployments, before making a decision. If you can ask friends in your area what their actual coverage is, or borrow their devices for speed tests, you’ll get an even better perspective.

Verizon has the best coverage in the countryside, in the sub-millimeter range, so if you’re away from the city, this alone might make the difference. Operators favor urban and suburban areas for 5G towers, and regardless of operator, the highest speeds will reach less populated areas much more slowly.

When indoors, you will almost never see the higher speeds that mmWave can provide. But the 5G network may have some routing improvements leading to higher real speeds in good conditions.

Higher 5G speeds will mean that data will be processed faster. While 50GB is more than enough for most people, you might consider 100GB on AT&T’s most expensive plan if you’re worried about not being missed. As we’ve seen broken down by individual carriers, none of the plans offer truly unlimited high-speed data.

Take a look at the data limits before applying the rate limit for each plan. Blank lines mean they can slow down at any time.

If you plan to use your iPhone 12 as a personal hotspot for other devices, these restrictions may also affect your decision. Verizon and AT&T offer more hotspot data in their premium plans, though T-Mobile provides an extra 10GB for an extra $10 per month. None of the providers include hotspot data in their cheapest tiers.

It’s also worth considering media subscription add-ons for each plan. For example, if you’re a Verizon customer who already subscribes to Disney+ and Hulu, pairing them with your phone plan could pay off. However, if you’re considering these options, take the time to add up how much these subscriptions will cost separately and weigh that against a more expensive phone bill.

Operators will reduce the cost of additional lines in your plan, and the cost of each will decrease with each additional line. Families will save money if all their lines are connected to the same carrier through one account.

5G is a moving target as carriers have only begun rolling out their next generation networks in the past two years. All three providers add new areas to their 5G maps regularly, and their coverage may look completely different when we return to this comparison for the iPhone 13.