Selecting your ideal cellular carrier and plan can be an overwhelming adventure, especially for nomads who need to replace a home internet connection while being mobile.
This guide is here to help you do that, and is a living document that we'll keep updated as each of the four major carriers change around their plans and offerings.
When considering cellular plans, we are focused on finding the best options for keeping a nomadic household online.
We are only interested in data that can be shared with your laptops and other gadgets, not just consumed on a single phone or tablet. Data that is “unlimited” but throttled to super slow speeds isn’t particularly interesting for this comparison either.
Most nomadic households also need a voice line or two as well, so we do factor in voice somewhat into our analysis.
But the focus here is on data. Lots and lots of glorious data! As a result, this guide offers very detailed information.
Included in this guide:
- Postpaid Plans for the Four Carriers
- Plan Comparison Chart (member only)
- Discounts Offered by the Carriers (member only)
- Recommended ‘Smart’ Combinations of Plans (member only)
- Plan Option Overviews
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Postpaid Plans and Features for the Four Carriers
Shopping the direct postpaid plans offered by the carriers is typically the first stop for most consumers. Postpaid means that you pay for your service at the end of the month, and the carriers tend to give higher priority and customer service to their consumer postpaid plans. Because you are paying for service after delivered, the carrier will want you to establish an account with them based on your credit record.
Postpaid plans also traditionally associated with contracts - although options exist to avoid contracts on postpaid plans if you're willing to purchase your cellular devices on your own instead of subsidizing or financing them.
Click on the carrier you're interested in to view all of the current and recently retired postpaid plan options offered:
Additional Member Only Content
If you're a MIA member, please log in to see the rest of this guide - which contains our extensive price comparison grid of many plans we're tracking, discounts offered by the carriers, suggested carrier combos and further tips.
Here are all of the plans we're tracking on each of the carriers - from resellers, MVNOs, prepaid and more. Use the filter buttons to find the plans that you're seeking, and click on the squares to get more information on the plans:
The largest regional carrier offers plans that include nationwide coverage, but not for primary use.
FreedomPop offers free cellular plans on Sprint and global plans including T-Mobile & AT&T.
A TracFone brand available at Walmart offers prepaid mobile hotspot plans, primarily on Verizon and AT&T.
Verizon Unlimited Data Plan (Rental/Lease)
Renting or leasing a plan is a flexible way to obtain a Verizon unlimited plan, but has a higher monthly cost.
Karma’s proprietary mobile hotspot provides service powered by Sprint.
Reseller of AT&T offering dedicated data plans for mobile hotspots.
4G Antenna Shop
Offers month-to-month no contract plans on T-Mobile, AT&T and sometimes Verizon.
Reseller of T-Mobile based unlimited plans.
Reseller of AT&T and T-Mobile, offering smaller data plans with mobile hotspot use.
Mobile Solutions (Defunct)
Offers month-to-month no contract unlimited plans on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. But poor customer service reported.
Subsidiary of Sprint, offering prepaid smartphone and mobile hotspot plans.
Now defunct, Charge offered prepaid never expiring data on the Sprint network for smartphones and mobile hotspots.
Subsidiary of AT&T offering prepaid smartphone plans with data usage.
Unlimitedville Rental Plans
Unlimitedville offers one-stop shopping for unlimited data plan rentals on AT&T, T-Mobile, & Verizon.
Non-Profit Sprint Unlimited Data Plans
A clause in the Sprint Clear WiMax purchase allows for non-profits to offer low cost unlimited data plans.
Legacy (Grandfathered) Verizon Unlimited Data Plan
Offers T-Mobile smartphone and data plans at lower costs but with all the T-Mobile postpaid perks.
Wireless Home Phone & Internet
AT&T’s cellular data plan intended for homes, offers more GBs for the dollar.
Verizon reseller that includes mobile hotspot use on tiered data plans.
Verizon reseller that includes mobile hotspot use on iPhones, and no roaming restrictions.
A Sprint / T-Mobile MVNO
Flash Wireless is an MVNO on the Verizon and Sprint networks. They offer phone-only voice/text/data plans with limited mobile hotspot.
T-Mobile authorized reseller offering prepaid business plans with most of the perks of a direct T-Mobile account, at competitive prices.
T-Mobile & Verizon MVNO featuring smaller, hotspot ready, full speed data buckets on customizable plans.
Verizon Connected Home Plans and SmartHub
Verizon’s cellular data plans & “smart” router intended for homes.
Xfinity Mobile offers an unlimited data plan for Comcast cable TV and internet customers.
Skyroam & Similar Alternatives
Global mobile hotspot with a virtual-SIM that allows you to purchase day passes for unlimited international use.
$9 - $149
Unlimited LTE Advanced
Mint SIM offers multi-month prepaid plans with tethering capabilities on the T-Mobile network.
Pure Talk USA
AT&T MVNO offering prepaid smartphone plans with capped data usage and hotspot capability.
Wireless Internet Router & Data Plans by AT&T
AT&T’s cellular data plans & router intended for homes, but usable on the road for some.
FMCA Data Plans
FMCA offers data plans on the Verizon and Sprint networks for FMCA members.
T-Mobile based MVNO.
T-Mobile, Verizon & Sprint based MVNO.
UnlimitedToGo Rental Plans
UnlimitedToGo offers one-stop shopping for unlimited data plan rentals on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
Net Buddy offers an unlimited data plan on the AT&T network.
AT&T’s own prepaid native cellular phone & data plan.
An app based cellular data plan running on Verizon service.
MVNO Red Pocket offers capped data plans on T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon & Sprint
Unreal Mobile is a Sprint & AT&T based MVNO providing smartphone-only plans with tetherable data.
OTR Mobile offers an unlimited data plan on the AT&T network.
Metro by T-Mobile
Metro by T-Mobile, T-Mobile’s prepaid subsidiary offers an array of prepaid plans – including some with unlimited data.
Google’s unique MVNO option that combines the coverage map of Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular.
Verizon’s own prepaid native cellular phone & data plan.
AT&T Postpaid Plans
AT&T postpaid native cellular phone & data plans.
T-Mobile Postpaid Plans
T-Mobile’s postpaid plans are available for smartphones and data only devices.
Postpaid Sprint Plans
Sprint’s own postpaid native cellular phone & data plan.
Verizon Postpaid Plans
Verizon postpaid native cellular phone & data plans.
T-Mobile’s prepaid native cellular phone & data plan.
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