College students are usually on a tight budget, but they need a plan that packs enough data for the modern world. Compare the best cell phone plans for college students using our comparison tool below.
Unlimited 4G LTE Data (may be slowed after 75GB of usage per month)
$90/mo+ $30 Upfront
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What Are The Best Unlimited Data Plans for College Students?
As of now, the top three unlimited data plans for college students are from the following carriers:
Virgin Mobile: Virgin Mobile has the best unlimited data plan, and it only costs a $1 a month for the first six months.
Sprint: Students can sign up for their Unlimited Plan and get it free for the first year. It is also possible to add additional lines to the plan and sign up for a family plan, at no charge, for a year. Sprint is offering this deal for a limited time.
Verizon: Verizon touts having the best cellular coverage in the United States. It also offers its prepaid cell phone that allows students to use an unlimited data prepaid cell phone plan.
Reasons Students May Want to Have an Unlimited Data Plan
Using more than 6GB of data per month. Most people use around 2GB of data on each device a month. Anyone who uses more than the average amount of data may want to consider an unlimited plan.
Constantly streaming music. Most college students invest in a music streaming plan. Anyone who turns on their phone and streams music from Pandora and Spotify all day should change their plan. Having an unlimited data plan will ensure that the stream plays uninterrupted.
College students are on the go. For college students being able to access social media from anywhere. With an unlimited data plan, there's no longer a need to ask for a Wi-Fi password in order to email their professor the latest assignment. Unlimited data will allow people to tether and use hotspots.
Virgin Mobile Offers the Best Unlimited Data Plan
Why this is the best: Anyone who uses an iPhone will like this plan. Virgin Mobile has a deal that gives customers unlimited cell phone data for $1 a month. The deal is limited to the first six months of services. When the time period expires, the cost increases to $50 a month. Users will only notice slower data speeds if their data usage exceeds 23GB in a billing cycle.
Virgin has opened this offer to new and existing customers. The only requirement is that participants need to upgrade their existing iPhone or purchase a qualifying iPhone model.
Things to Note: The offer has a $9.99 up-front cost.
Sprint Offers the Cheapest Unlimited Data
Why this is the best: This plan allows people to receive a full year of unlimited talk, text, and data for free. This offer won't last forever, so anyone who is interested in it should sign up as soon as they can.
Things to Note: Anyone who wants interested in this deal will need to pay a $12.99 upfront cost. The deal also requires customers to supply their own phone.
Verizon Has the Best Prepaid Unlimited Data
Why this is the best: Verizon's prepaid unlimited data comes with the best coverage. It also doesn't just provide students with unlimited data, they also get unlimited text and talk. Verizon is offering those who activate a new line on a monthly prepaid of at least $50 a month a $50 credit.
Sprint Has the Best Unlimited Data to for Mobile Hotspot
Why this is the best: It's the only unlimited data plan whose base includes 10GB of high-speed hotspot data.
Other carriers, like Verizon and T-Mobile, have basic unlimited plans. However, these plans are only for unlimited 3G data for the mobile hotspot data. AT&T's Unlimited Choice, the provider's basic plan, do not provide a tethering/hotspot function.
How to Purchase an Unlimited Data Plan
There was a point in time when carriers decided to stop offering unlimited data plans to their customers. Unless the customers were grandfathered into an unlimited plan, they were forced to choose a tier. Carriers are bringing back unlimited data plans. While having an unlimited data plan has its advantages, there's something that carriers don't tell their customers. The unlimited plan isn't really unlimited, it's just that most people don't reach the limit.
Here are a few options college students should consider when signing up for their unlimited data plan:
Prepaid plans are affordable. The one caveat with prepaid plans is having to pay for the plan and phone at the same time. What makes prepaid plans attractive is the fact that customers are not required to sign a contract. Also, there are no activation fees or credit checks. The only downside to prepaid plans is that customers have to pay cash when they purchase the phone. Postpaid plans let customers make payments. Some good prepaid carriers include Cricket, Booth, and MetroPCS.
A postpaid plan is a plan that has a repeated monthly cycle with a monthly bill. This type of plan is good for people who use a lot of data, but don't want to track their usage. Carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint offer postpaid plans for people who understand how they use their data.
Sprint has the more affordable plan with the $60 Unlimited Freedom plan. This plan offers unlimited, talk, data, and text. It also comes with 5GB for tethering. Verizon does not offer their customers unlimited data, but customers can get 4GB of data starting at $70. Every carrier offers data plans. It's really a matter how much data is necessary.
Mobile hotspot capabilities are great when you want use your smartphone's data connection to provide data to your laptop. This can be a godsend in college, as it allows you to complete assignments while traveling or commuting.
Truth be told, there are always data limits. The threshold is so big that it feels like its unlimited. Anyone who reaches their data cap will experience de-prioritization. With de-prioritization, customers can still access their high-speed data, but if there's a lot of activity on the network, the carrier will give preference to customers who don’t use as much data.
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