Beware of Unlimited Cell Phone Plans

If I were to think of my customers’ cellular plans as a whole, I would say most are with Verizon or AT&T.  Coming in 3rd place would be Consumer Cellular and 4th would probably be one of the Tracfone brands.   Verizon and AT&T are increasingly trying to push their customers into Unlimited plans.  I want you to be careful about what you are getting sold.  Verizon and ATT offer multiple levels of Unlimited plans.   Sorry to make this into a comedy sketch — but isn’t Unlimited – Unlimited? What’s going on here? Why do you need 4 plans called Unlimited, Verizon?  Here is the problem, Verizon’s LTE network is very congested in many parts of the country.  It’s getting better, but still jammed.  The same could be said for ATT, but I think it’s not as bad.  To compensate for this, Verizon and ATT have set “deprioritization limits” for their unlimited plans when network congestion occurs.  So you have Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and unlimited use of data.  However, during those times of congestion — you will not be able to access data with the same priority / speed as other prioritized customers.   This means when you really need to search something on Google or send an important e-mail out or other activity that uses data, you may struggle to surf the Internet.  (Keep in mind no part of this discussion applies to use on your home WiFi.) The first level Unlimited plans with Verizon and ATT actually have a 0 deprioritization limit.  This means you are subject to deprioritization at ANY TIME.   You may never be affected by this, but I just want you to know the facts.  If you are a heavy data user and like to watch video on cellular data – I would suggest at least the 2nd tier Unlimited plans.  On the ATT Unlimited Extra plan, the first 50 GB of data is prioritized.  On Verizon’s Play More Unlimited the first 25 GB of data is prioritized.  Better unlimited plans exist with each carrier.  If I needed Unlimited I would start with those plans.  By comparison, T-Mobile’s base level Magenta unlimited plan (including the age 55 and over 2 for $70 plan discount option) comes with a 50 GB deprioritization limit.

The good thing is, many of my clients don’t use that much data.  You are on “metered” data plans giving you 2 GB or 4 GB, etc. of data per month.  If this is you; you are in the fast lane.  These monthly billed, metered data plans from ATT and Verizon are prioritized.  You will have priority over the fake-o Unlimited, always deprioritized plans.