data plans

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on data plans:

Keep iPhone connected abroad with Holafly’s eSIM unlimited data plans


A man sits in an airport terminal with his feet resting on his suitcase and an iPhone with eSIM for international data in his hand. A plane is taking off outside the window.
Traveling to another country? With an eSIM, you can rest assured your iPhone can get online.
Photo: License

You may already know about SIM cards for cellular data, those little microchips that slide on trays in or out of smartphones. But the future of connectivity is eSIM cards, and that future is now.

This post is brought to you by Holafly.
iPhones and other smart gadgets already come with eSIM built in. And one of the best ways to use this convenient new technology is to enjoy international travel with unlimited eSIM data from Holafly.

Holafly’s eSIM unlimited data plans cover you when you travel. They’re tailored to your destinations. And they keep your iPhone connected in many countries, hassle-free, while also keeping costs down.

Sprint made your iPhone’s unlimited plan worse, or more expensive


Sprint unlimited plans were just revamped. Prices were raised or features were cut. But the news isn't all bad.
Photo: Sprint

Sprint has renamed and changed some of the features of its unlimited data plan. iPhone users now have a choice between paying more or getting less.  

It’s not all bad news. There’s 50 percent more tethering data in a new top-tier plan, and the TIDAL music streaming service has been added.

Verizon’s new data plan even more unlimited than its other unlimited plans


For about $100 a month, you can use more than 2GB of 4G LTE data each day without worrying about throttling.
Photo: Verizon

Verizon just created a new top tier to its unlimited data plans. It was designed for “super users who want the most,” according to the carrier.

The Above Unlimited plan offers 75GB of unthrottled 4G LTE data, and 20GB of unthrottled hotspot data, for $95 a month.

T-Mobile Unveils New “Uncarrier” Contract-Free Data Plans Ahead of Next iPhone


T-Mobile's new mantra.
T-Mobile's new mantra.

We’ve known that T-Mobile was doing away with two-year phone contracts for quite some time, but exact details haven’t been revealed until today. Unlike the other big U.S. carriers (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint), T-Mobile isn’t doing subsidized, two-year contracts for smartphones anymore. Instead, you pay as you go—and the monthly rates look very good.

AT&T CEO Responds To Rumors Of Charging Customers For FaceTime Over 3G


We're probably going to charge for everything we can get away with. Until, you know, we can't.
We're probably going to charge for everything we can get away with. Until we can't.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson responded today to the recent rumor that the telecommunications company is planning to charge customers for data used in FaceTime calls over 3G. The feature was announced for iOS 6 in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.

Asked about the rumor at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Stephenson acknowledged the rumor, but then also said it’s “too early to talk about pricing,” which may in fact be executive-speak for, “we won’t tell you how much we’re gonna charge.”

iPhone Owners Are Bigger And More Consistent Data Hogs Than Android Users


iPhone users consumer more 3G data on average than any other platform
iPhone users consumer more 3G data on average than any other platform

It’s a pretty good bet that iPhones and iPads will be responsible for 3G/4G traffic spikes around the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week as Apple developers lucky enough to score a ticket attend WWDC. Beyond this week, however, it seems that iPhone users have a tendency to gobble up a large amount of data – more so than other platforms including Android.

On average, iPhone owners represent about 20% of smartphone customers for mobile carriers worldwide. You might expect that those customers would amount to around 20% of data usage. That isn’t the case as  iPhone users account for an average 45% of carrier data traffic and data use by iPhone users is more consistent than data consumed by Android customers.

Verizon Simplifies International Data Plan But They’re Still A Rip-Off


Verizon announced new international data plans
Verizon announces new international data plans

One of the challenges when traveling internationally with iPhone or iPad is handling data roaming. There are two reasons that it’s incredibly easy to end up with a large bill when traveling for work or vacation.

One reason is that iOS features and apps can use data without you realizing it (iCloud’s Photostream feature being a great example) – to avoid such issues, you can disable data roaming in the iOS Settings app. The second reason is that the costs associated with international data roaming are rarely spelled out well by carriers.

At least one carrier is hoping to change that. This week Verizon announced that it will be offering customers a new set of international data plans intended to make managing data roaming easier to understand and track.

Data Usage Monitor Ensures That You Will Never Exceed Your iPhone’s Data Limit Again [Jailbreak]


What happened to the time?
What happened to the time?

Have you ever wished that there was an easier way to check your data usage on the iPhone? For those of us that aren’t lucky enough to have a grandfathered unlimited plan, bits are precious. It can be too easy to blow through a 1GB data plan in a month’s time.

If your iPhone is jailbroken, you have access to a great tweak called Data Usage Monitor. Once installed, your usage will be shown unobtrusively in your iPhone’s status bar. The beauty is that it will only appear whenever you are using data.

Verizon’s Shared Family Data Plans Are Right Around The Corner



We’ve known about Verizon’s plan to introduce family shared data plans for quite some time now and have been patiently awaiting their release. It now appears we may see them soon as new images have popped up suggesting Verizon is in the end stages of development. PhoneArena managed to get their hands on a screenshot showing what appears to be Verizon’s future Family Data Usage Calculator. If it looks familiar to you it’s because it follows closely with Verizon’s current Data Usage Calculator which helps customers figure out which plan would best fit their data usage needs.

AT&T: We’re Selling The New iPad On Friday, Too!


You could buy a new iPad from AT&T starting on Friday, but why would you?
You could buy a new iPad from AT&T's stores starting on Friday morning, but why would you?

This shouldn’t take anyone by surprise, but with the new iPad going on sale on Friday at 8 a.m. at Apple Stores around the country, AT&T will also have units that they’ll be selling at their retail outlets on the same day. Don’t count on being able to easily get one, though.

4G Data Plan Pricing For New iPad Revealed, Unlimited Plan Owners Grandfathered In


Screen Shot 2012-03-07 at 4.01.48 PM

The new iPad comes equipped with LTE 4G networking on AT&T and Verizon in the United States, and data plan prices for the nation’s largest carriers can now be compared. As you can see, AT&T offers the cheapest option with a $15/month for 250MB option.

Like always, these iPad data plans can be purchased month-to-month on either AT&T or Verizon with no long-term commitment. The new iPad offers Personal Hotspot for creating a WiFi network out of your 4G connection. LTE 4G will get you up to 72Mbps when available, but the iPad also supports HSPDA 3G for speeds up to 42MBps. Regular 3G will be used when nothing else is available.

Ahead Of iPad 3 Launch, Verizon Says Something Big Is Coming


Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 10.32.50 AM

If you go to Verizon Wireless‘s front page right now, they are hyping the imminent launch of something, which we can only assume is iPad 3 related.

But what is it? An iPad 3 with LTE is obviously a big contender, but I wonder if it could be something less splashy but just as important overall, like shared data plans.

What’s your guess? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t Miss Our iPad 3 Rumor Rundown On Episode 2 Of The CultCast



Did you know Cult of Mac has a brand new podcast? No lies! We’re calling it The CultCast, and it’s the best 30 minute conversation you’ll hear about Apple all week long.

And wouldn’t you know it, we just released episode two into the wild! Join Leander Kahney, Buster Heine, and me, Erfon Elijah, as we yay and nay our way though all the iPad 3 rumors you’ve been hearing; ponder how Apple’s stock price could make it to $1000 per share; and argue about whether AT&T should be allowed to throttle those of us with unlimited iPhone data plans.

Sound tasty? Well dig in my friend! You can subscribe to The CultCast right now in iTunes and listen to episode two on your way to work!

Verizon’s Getting Ready To Let Your iPad And iPhone Share The Same Data Plan



If you think about it, it’s pretty convoluted having a separate data plan for both your iPhone and iPad when you could just pay your carrier a lump sum and share a data allowance between the two. Verizon and AT&T certainly think so: they said as far back as June last year that they were investigating shared data plans.

Now, just a couple months before the iPad 3 is expected to debut, Engadget has gotten a tip that suggests that Verizon is getting ready to roll out shared data plans sometimes soon, allowing one account holder to share a data pool between multiple devices for just a $9.99 fee.

AT&T May Be Trying To Trick iPhone 4S Upgraders Out Of Their Unlimited Data Plans, Here’s How To Keep Yours [Updated]



This post has been updated since it was first published. Please note the updates at the end of the post.

While we had no problem getting an iPhone 4S while keeping our grandfathered data plan, that’s because we ordered direct from Apple. On the other hand, we’ve received at least two reports of readers who are being told by AT&T that they have to give up their unlimited data if they want an iPhone 4S. Uh oh. Luckily, there’s a way to make sure you keep your unlimited plan: don’t give the time of day.

Lawsuit Claims AT&T Habitually Mischarges iPhone Users For Incoming Data



Wondering just how you went through your 2GB allowance of data this month when all you did was do some browsing and email? A new lawsuit filed in California federal court says you’re not the only one.

The lawsuit filed by Patrick Hendricks alleges that AT&T has been systematically overcharging iPhone and iPad owners with capped data plans by falsely reporting the amount of data. According to Hendricks’ lawyers, this so-called “phantom data” can inflate the actual amount of incoming data by as much as three hundred percent.

“AT&T’s billing system for iPhone and iPad data transactions is like a rigged gas pump that charges for a full gallon when it pumps only nine-tenths of a gallon into your car’s tank,” the complaint reads.

WSJ: Verizon iPhone Will Come With Unlimited Data



The Verizon iPhone is a truly exciting prospect for us geeks, for most people, it’s not going to be a big deal. It won’t be an all new phone, or substantially different hardware-wise from the current iPhone 4… it’ll just be on a different network, and that the difference between GSM and CDMA technology is profound just won’t matter to most people.

That puts Verizon in a little bit of a pickle: short of blaring on about how much superior their network is to AT&T’s (and they will do just that), what are they going to do to to easily differentiate the Verizon iPhone from the AT&T iPhone and make it seem like a different product entirely?

According to The Wall Street Journal, they’ll offer unlimited data.