Only 7% Of Mobile Phone Users Would Benefit From An "Unlimited" Plan

Unlimited plans seem to be all the rage these days, particularly with wireless carriers. But we've always viewed them as things that should be treated with skepticism. "Unlimited" sounds great in theory, but the high prices that accompany them mean that you best be taking advantage of that "unlimited" allowance.

Over a year ago, Sprint shook up the wireless world with their "Simply Everything" plan, which allowed smartphone owners to access unlimited data, texting and calling for a flat $99.99 per month. The great news is that you always know what your bill will be, but the bad news is that you're paying $100 per month for services you may not really be using.

Earlier in the month, both AT&T and Verizon Wireless joined the fray by lowering prices on their unlimited voice plans. A new study by has found that these sultry unlimited plans, while attractive for heavy users, may not be right for everyone. In fact, they may not be right for the vast majority of phone users.

The survey found that just 7% of consumers were really able to take advantage of an unlimited plan, while 93% were better off using some other plan options. And think about it--how often do you have unused minutes at the end of the month? How often do you go over? These days, with texting and mobile web use on the rise, it's becoming tougher and tougher to outtalk your plan minutes, and in most situations, simply upgrading to the next level of service still comes in cheaper than an expensive unlimited plan. Specific findings are below, and you should certainly have a look and think long and hard before you bite on an unlimited plan. Is it something you'll really benefit from? Chances are, it won't.

AT&T and Verizon Wireless recently lowered pricing on unlimited voice plans, generating headlines of increased competition and consumer benefits. But do consumers really know whether the new unlimited plans will actually benefit them?

In some cases subscribers will actually be forced to pay more for the wireless plans, especially in the case of family plans. Because carriers are now offering fewer options for big family plans, more people are being forced to move "up-plan" into unlimited plans, even though unlimited plans are actually oversized for them. For example, some popular 4,000-minute family plans were discontinued with the introduction of the new unlimited plans. Now a family of five will actually pay $480 more per year on the new unlimited plan, which is the closest option to their previous plan.    

"In an industry where the FCC is asking carriers to simplify wireless billing practices, new services, applications and calling plans are continuously coming to market, which inevitably creates more confusion," said Tom Pepe, founder and CEO of Validas. "The reality is that the more options there are and the more plans change, the less consumers actually know what's best for them." users have realized the following results since new unlimited plans were introduced:  

  • 7% were optimized for unlimited plans;
  • 89% realized voice plan savings;
  • 75% of existing unlimited-plan subscribers were better suited with 900 or 450 minute plans;
  • $540 – the annual savings existing unlimited plan subscribers realized after using (decreasing their average monthly cost from $170 to $125).