Think twice before you switch to an unlimited cellphone plan

Locator on Google Maps. (KXAN Photo)
FILE - Locator on Google Maps. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (NBC News/KXAN) — Cellphone bills can easily climb as families add more lines and more data options. While carriers are offering more unlimited option plans, do you really need it?

Scott Peterson, a senior analyst with Gap Intelligence, says when you study all the unlimited offers on the market — including a new one being offered by Verizon — you quickly discover they are not all the same.

“My best advice for individual consumers would be to monitor their personal data usage and find a plan that fits that rather than just going all into unlimited because that’s what the marketing tells us,” says Peterson.

Despite the name, unlimited plans can still limit speed screen resolution, hot spot capabilities and other features. “Download speeds of the major carriers are fading based on more people jumping on unlimited plans.”

In 2015, AT&T was slapped with a $100 million fine for offering consumers “unlimited” data, but then slowing their internet speeds are they reached a certain amount. AT&T’s website currently indicates after a customer uses 22GB, the company may slow speeds.

According to a Pew report, 77 percent of Americans currently own a smartphone.

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