Best prepaid unlimited plans: Metro by T-Mobile vs. Cricket vs. Boost Mobile

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Best prepaid unlimited plans: Metro by T-Mobile vs. Cricket vs. Boost Mobile
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Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint aren’t your only options for unlimited data plans! You may be able to get the same network coverage at a much cheaper price by switching to a prepaid carrier.

For example, MetroPCS recently changed its name to Metro by T-Mobile and introduced two new unlimited data plans.

RELATED: Best cell phone plans and deals right now

Prepaid unlimited plan comparison: Metro by T-Mobile vs. Cricket vs. Boost Mobile

The new branding makes it clear that Metro is owned by T-Mobile, but many people don’t even realize that AT&T owns Cricket Wireless and Sprint owns Boost Mobile.

You could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings every year by overlooking these low-cost brands! Here’s an example…

When Clark.com recently compared unlimited plans from the Big 4 wireless providers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint), we noticed that the price for a single line of service ranges from $60 to $95 per month, usually before taxes and fees.

Meanwhile, Metro, Cricket and Boost are now offering cheap unlimited plans starting in the $50-a-month range — all in.

Money expert Clark Howard says the #1 benefit of an unlimited plan is that you don’t have to worry about bill shock anymore. There are no overage charges with unlimited plans.

However, some wireless providers will slow you down if you use too much 4G LTE high-speed data or the network gets busy.

“It’s really confusing when you try to pick a cell phone plan because unlimited doesn’t mean unlimited,” Clark says. “Everybody has restrictions or gotchas, depending on what you pay per month.”

All of the plans featured in this article offer unlimited talk, text and data, but you want to pay attention to the gotchas that Clark referenced, particularly reduced data speeds during times of network congestion.

Which prepaid unlimited data plan is best for you? Read on for our plan-by-plan comparison…

Metro by T-Mobile (MetroPCS)

Priced at $60 a month for a single line of service, Metro by T-Mobile’s more expensive unlimited plan is packed with bells and whistles including 15GB of mobile hotspot, Amazon Prime and Google One cloud storage.

Metro by T-Mobile unlimited data plans

Metro by T-Mobile logo

Plan name New plan #1 New plan #2
Monthly price 
  • 1 line = $50
  • 2 lines = $80
  • 3 lines = $110
  • 4 lines = $140
  • 1 line = $60
  • 2 lines = $90
  • 3 lines = $120
  • 4 lines = $150
Taxes and fees Included Included
Network T-Mobile (Coverage map) T-Mobile (Coverage map)
Mobile hotspot 5GB LTE 15GB LTE
Extras Google One Amazon Prime, Google One
Bring your own phone Yes (Check compatibility) Yes (Check compatibility)
Fine print
  • MetroPCS customers’ data is prioritized below data of some T-Mobile-branded customers at times and locations where competing network demands occurs
  • Customers using >35GB/month may notice reduced speeds due to prioritization
  • Video streams at 480p
UPDATED: OCTOBER 2018

Cricket Wireless 

Cricket’s cheaper unlimited plan is only $25 per line for a family of four, but it limits data speeds to 3 Mbps on AT&T’s network. With both plans, mobile hotspot is an add-on feature that gets you 10GB for an extra $10 a month.

Cricket Wireless unlimited data plans

Cricket Wireless logo

Plan name Unlimited Unlimited Extra
Monthly price
  • 1 line = $55 or $50 after Auto Pay credit
  • 2 lines = $80
  • 3 lines = $90
  • 4 lines = $100
  • 5 lines = $125
  • 1 line = $60 or $55 after Auto Pay credit
  • 2 lines = $90
  • 3 lines = $120
  • 4 lines = $150
  • 5 lines = $180
Taxes and fees Included Included
Network AT&T (Coverage map) AT&T (Coverage map)
Mobile hotspot Additional $10/month for 10GB Additional $10/month for 10GB
Bring your own phone Yes (Check compatibility) Yes (Check compatibility)
Fine print
  • Data speed limited to a max of 3 Mbps
  • Video streaming at SD quality (about 480p)
  • After 22GB/line per month, customers may experience slower speeds during network congestion
  • Video streaming at SD quality (about 480p)
  • Cricket may slow data speeds when the network is congested
UPDATED: OCTOBER 2018

Boost Mobile 

If Sprint has good coverage in your area and you rely on mobile hotspot, Boost Mobile’s plans may be worth a closer look. The carrier often advertises special deals on its website for unlimited family plans.

Boost Mobile unlimited data plans

Boost Mobile logo

Plan name Unlimited Gigs Boost Unlimited Plus Ultimate Unlimited
Monthly price
  • 1 line = $50
  • 2 lines = $80
  • 3 lines = $110
  • 4 lines = $140
  • 5 lines = $170
  • 1 line = $60
  • 2 lines = $100
  • 3 lines = $140
  • 4 lines = $180
  • 5 lines = $220
  • 1 line = $80
  • 2 lines = $140
  • 3 lines = $200
  • 4 lines = $260
  • 5 lines = $320
Taxes and fees Included Included Included
Network Sprint (Coverage map) Sprint (Coverage map) Sprint (Coverage map)
Mobile hotspot 8GB 20GB 40GB
Bring your own phone Yes (Check compatibility) Yes (Check compatibility) Yes (Check compatibility)
Fine print
  • Video streams at up to 480p+ resolution, music at up to 500 Kbps, streaming cloud gaming at up to 2 Mbps
  • Data deprioritization applies during congestion
  • Customers who use more than 35GB of data during a billing cycle will be de-prioritized during times & places where the Sprint network is constrained
  • Stream HD video up to 1080p
  • Data deprioritization applies during congestion
  • Customers who use more than 35GB of data during a billing cycle will be de-prioritized during times & places where the Sprint network is constrained
  • HD video streams up to 1080p, music up to 1.5 Mbps, gaming up to 8 Mbps
  • Data deprioritization applies during congestion
  • International Connect PLUS (international calling and text)
  • TIDAL Premium
  • Priority customer care service
UPDATED: OCTOBER 2018

NEW: What about a cheaper unlimited plan on Verizon’s network?

Visible is a new cell phone provider that’s owned by Verizon and offers a $40 per month unlimited data plan, including taxes and fees.

With Visible, download speeds are limited to 5 Mbps, but you won’t be slowed down based on your data usage — only when the network gets congested.

During early access, Visible members will also get mobile hotspot with unlimited data at up to 5 Mbps.

To keep costs down, Visible has no physical stores. Everything is done through the app, including paying your monthly bill. Customer service is primarily available via chat, text and social media.

Anyone with an eligible iPhone (no Androids) can sign up for the service. Get the details here!

Final thought 

To choose the best prepaid unlimited plan, Clark suggests making a list of the features that really matter to you: network coverage, the most high-speed data, HD-quality video, mobile hotspot, international calling, etc.

Of course, the monthly price of your unlimited plan will go up as you add more features to the must-have list.

To compare these prepaid plans to what Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint offer, see our roundup of the unlimited plans from the Big 4 wireless providers here.

Have you found a great unlimited data plan? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, MichaelSaves.com.
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