As Verizon, AT&T data speeds improve, 53.4% of U.S. postpaid users sign up for unlimited plans

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A new survey found that a growing number of users are signing up for unlimited data plans. (Pexels)

The amount of postpaid wireless customers who have signed up for an unlimited data plan has grown to 53.4%, according to a new survey, up from 22.7% three years ago.

Moreover, according to a separate report, unlimited customers across the board are now enjoying faster data speeds.

New numbers from mobile network monitoring company OpenSignal showed that the LTE speeds available from AT&T and Verizon have stopped their gradual decline—and in Verizon’s case, have slightly increased in recent months. The firm said that data speeds available from AT&T and Verizon declined starting early last year when the two carriers first launched unlimited data services. However, those declines have now leveled off, and Verizon has showed a slight uptick.

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“Meanwhile, Sprint and T-Mobile speeds have steadily increased over the same 11-month period,” wrote OpenSignal’s Kevin Fitchard on the company’s blog. “T-Mobile was nearly 3 Mbps ahead of Verizon in our 4G speed metric in November, locking down its lead in the LTE speed race, while Sprint had closed much of the speed gap between itself and AT&T.”

And, according to Cowen and Company’s recent quarterly survey of wireless users, “the surge in unlimited adoption continues.” The firm said that, when asked what cell phone data plan they were on, 53.4% of survey respondents answered unlimited—a figure that went up from 51.6% in the previous quarter.

“Similar to our prior survey, Unlimited is still most pervasive (by far) with T-Mobile and Sprint respondents, which is not surprising given these carriers have offered Unlimited the longest and more aggressively, followed by AT&T and lastly Verizon,” the analysts at Cowen wrote. “The upward trend in our survey is undoubtedly clear and should continue, driven by the fact that all four carriers have now offered Unlimited since February of 2017.”

Cowen has been conducting quarterly consumer surveys since 2013. The firm recently completed its latest quarterly survey ahead of the fourth-quarter earnings season, asking roughly 1,100 respondents about their wireless service and phone preferences.

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