Report: U.S. Cellular will join the unlimited data party with its own plan … sorta
Why it matters to you
Thanks to competition, more carriers now offer unlimited data plans, but some have fine print.
February 2017 will be remembered for the revival of the unlimited data plan, and it looks as if U.S. Cellular will join the party with a plan of its own, reports Droid Life.
The regional carrier will reportedly revamp its data plan lineup under the new “Total Plans” banner. The revamped plans start at $40 per month for 2GB of high-speed data, while the $50 plan bumps the data bucket to 6GB. Finally, the Unlimited Total Plan includes “unlimited” data for $60 a month, though an Unlimited Plus option sits alongside it for $20 more per month.
The latter plan is there if you want “high definition” video resolution, which brings us to one of the Unlimited Total Plan’s quirks: you are capped at 480p if you opt for Unlimited Total Plan. Even then, Unlimited Plus Total Plan caps videos at 720p, whereas the 2GB and 6GB plans allow video streams at “full network speed.”
More: The best unlimited data plan: Verizon vs. T-Mobile vs. AT&T vs. Sprint
Even weirder, U.S. Cellular reportedly suggests that Unlimited Total Plan customers will have their data throttled to 2G speeds once they hit 22GB for the month. It seems as if network congestion will not be factored in when imposing the throttle, so once you hit that cap, you will need to wait until the next pay period to get back to higher speeds. At least these quirks allow Unlimited Total Plan to remain consistent with other carriers’ offerings, but we would not exactly call this “unlimited” in the truest sense.
Going back to the Total Plans’ prices, customers will reportedly get those prices if they sign up for Auto Pay. Even if you opt to not go for automatic payments, the prices looks to include activation fees, upgrade fees, monthly connection charges, and overage fees. Unlike T-Mobile’s One plan, Total Plans will charge customers for taxes, regulatory fees, and other subscriber services.
The last two things to keep in mind is that U.S. Cellular will not advertise the Unlimited Plus Total Plan and that plans with 6GB and up will include unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada. The new Total Plans are expected to be announced sometime today. You can see how prices play out across all four plans below.