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Why Unlimited Mobile Data Isn’t Actually Unlimited



An iPhone standing against its box and showing the lock screen with the date and time.
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“Limitless” is a giant phrase within the cellular world. Everybody desires an information plan with no limitations. That’s why carriers love to make use of the phrase, however “Limitless” hardly ever means really limitless. There are a couple of causes for that.

There was a time when unlimited data plans had been really limitless. You paid a certain quantity each month and you might use as a lot information as you wished. Nonetheless, as extra of the world has adopted smartphones, these plans have gone away.

RELATED: Should You Pay for an Unlimited Data Phone Plan?

Throttled Speeds

The most important catch in most “limitless” information plans is velocity limits. It’s frequent follow for limitless plans to solely permit entry to high-speed information for a set quantity, resembling 25GB. After you employ that a lot information, your velocity will get throttled down.

In actuality, the one factor that’s really “limitless” is how a lot information you should use. It says nothing concerning the limits positioned on the info speeds. You’re greater than welcome to make use of greater than these 10GB, however the connection goes to be a lot slower after that.

Video High quality Caps

YouTube logo on a smartphone

One other frequent tactic that “limitless” plans use to restrict your information utilization is video streaming high quality caps. Sure “limitless” plans gained’t mean you can watch YouTube or Netflix at their highest high quality.

It is smart from the angle of the service. Streaming video at 1080p or 4K decision makes use of much more information. By capping the standard they will provide “limitless” information whereas nonetheless limiting how a lot information you employ.


What occurs when lots of people are attempting to entry a community on the identical time? That’s when de-prioritization kicks in. Carriers will throttle speeds to ease the congestion on the community, but it surely’s not all the time honest.

That is usually extra of an issue on MVNOs than it’s on main carriers. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless a technique to restrict how a lot information you’re utilizing. If you happen to’re on a decrease tier of “limitless” plan, chances are you’ll be de-prioritized in favor of those that pay extra.

What’s Really “Limitless”?

data usage chart

Clearly, there are lots of limits on these “limitless” plans. Limits on velocity, limits on video high quality, and limits on precedence. So what a part of it’s really limitless? As talked about, it’s usually solely the quantity of information you employ.

There may very well be nothing stopping you from burning by way of 50GB of information in a month, however that doesn’t say something about how you get to that 50GB. It may very well be on gradual speeds with 480p video and consistently being de-prioritized for higher-paying prospects.

Do Really Limitless Plans Exist?

Does all of this imply there aren’t any really limitless plans out there? No, however they’re more durable to search out they usually’re not low cost. For instance, AT&T has a truly unlimited plan that has no information velocity restrict or video high quality caps. The catch? It’s $85 monthly for one line.

Carriers are keen to supply really limitless plans, however you’re going to pay rather a lot for it. The “limitless” plans are cheaper and sometimes sound higher to most individuals. Simply ensure you know what you’re paying for.

RELATED: How to Save Money On Your Cellphone Bill with an MVNO

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