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AT&T's New Unlimited Plan Is Terrible

Every other carrier is updating their unlimited wireless plans these days, so why not AT&T? Following the lead of Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, AT&T trotted out a new plan of its own that isn't so new — and unlikely to win over many fans.

AT&T's unlimited data plan costs $100 a month for a single line, the most expensive of any unlimited option. Sprint's plan starts at $60 a month, which the carrier is currently discounting to $50; T-Mobile's and Verizon's unlimited plans cost $70 and $80 a month, respectively.

Adding additional lines costs $40 each, but AT&T is waiving the cost of the fourth line. That means a family of four pays $180.

Price (For 1 line)Family Price (For 4 Lines)FeaturesWho's It Good For
AT&T$80 AT&T$180 AT&THD video streaming, No Hotspot Data
Existing AT&T customers who really want unlimited data
$70 WhistleOut$160 T-MobileHD video streaming, 10GB of Hotspot dataCustomers who want a simple bill and T-Mobile's regular freebies
$85 Verizon$180 VerizonHD video streaming, 10GB of Hotspot dataCustomers who appreciate Verizon's network performance and reach
$70 Sprint$90 SprintHD video streaming, 10GB of Hotspot data, 1.5 Mbps music streaming
Customers who want the cheapest unlimited option, regardless of network

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But wait — there's less. AT&T doesn't offer hotspot data with its unlimited plan. The three other major carriers each provide 10GB of LTE hotspot data, though that's a recent change for Sprint and T-Mobile, who tweaked their plans this week to match what Verizon offers.

Credit: jorome/

(Image credit: jorome/

On the bright side, you'll be able to stream HD video on AT&T's unlimited plan. On the confusion side, AT&T's Stream Saver feature — which throttles video resolution — is turned on by default, and you'll need to switch it off to enjoy that HD streaming.

Eagle-eyed plan watchers may recognize AT&T's new unlimited offering as the exact same plan it made available to DirecTV and U-Verse subscribers. Until now, to get unlimited data from AT&T, you had to subscribe to one of those two TV services. That requirement is gone now, but given the cost of AT&T's plan and the lack of hotspot data, it's fair to wonder just how many people will take advantage of the offer.