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AT&T removes high-speed data throttling from its most expensive unlimited plan

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Plus 4K streaming and more hotspot data at no extra cost

AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan will remain $85 per month for a single line, but it gets a few more perks.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

AT&T is adding a few more benefits to its $85-per-month top-tier unlimited plan at no added cost. Unlimited Elite subscribers will now truly have access to unlimited high-speed data and will no longer be subject to deprioritization after hitting 100GB of data per month. Customers will also get a bump from 30GB of monthly hotspot data up to 40GB as well as up to 4K video streaming — boosted from a maximum of 1080p. The new plan features will be added automatically for all current subscribers starting this week.

If this all sounds familiar, that’s because T-Mobile did more or less the same thing earlier this year. In fact, AT&T’s Unlimited Elite now matches T-Mobile’s Magenta Max nearly feature-by-feature. Both start at $85 per line (including autopay discounts) and include the same 40GB hotspot data, 4K streaming, and (actually) unlimited high-speed data plan features. AT&T includes HBO Max on its plan whereas T-Mobile offers Netflix, but otherwise, they’re broadly similar. The “Un-carrier” T-Mobile is looking an awful lot like a regular carrier these days.

Most unlimited phone plans include data deprioritization in the fine print, meaning after a certain threshold of monthly data is reached, your account is subject to slowdowns when the network is busy. In this case, T-Mobile’s move to do away with this practice for its highest-paying customers appears to have put pressure on its competitors to do the same. There’s just the slight issue of providing high-speed 5G data that’s worth getting excited about, which AT&T has struggled to do over the past couple of years, but things will likely improve in the near future. Until then, it’s your move, Verizon.