The concept of shared data plans are nothing new, but not every carrier out there offers one. Yet as more people get their first smartphones, mobile providers want a way to keep the entire family tied to one carrier and to limit how much strain they're putting on the network. So the nation's fifth-largest carrier, US Cellular, has decided to introduce its own shared data plan, driving a stake into the heart of its previous unlimited data plan in the process.


These new plans are available now for consumers and businesses. The former can pool together up to 10 devices, whereas the latter can select up to 25. These devices include basic phones, smartphones, tablets, hotspots, and wireless modems.


Now for what matters - the cost. Smartphones have a monthly device charge of $40, basic phones are $30, hotspots and wireless modems are $20, and tablets are $10. Data costs range from $40 for 300MB of data (seriously) to $560 for 75GB. All plans come with unlimited text messages and minutes.

US Cellular's new monthly shared data and device costs


  • Smartphone: $40
  • Basic Phone $30
  • Hotspots/Wireless Modems: $20
  • Tablet: $10

Shared Data:

  • 1GB - $50
  • 2GB - $60
  • 4GB - $70
  • 6GB - $80
  • 8GB - $90
  • 10GB - $100
  • 12GB - $110
  • 14GB - $120
  • 16GB - $130
  • 18GB - $140
  • 20GB - $150
  • 30GB - $225
  • 40GB - $300
  • 50GB - $375
  • 75GB - $560

US Cellular's new plan is similar to that offered by Verizon and AT&T. New customers have no choice but to dive in, but existing users can still keep their grandfathered unlimited data.


Consumers can share data on up to 10 devices; businesses can share on up to 25 devices

CHICAGO (Oct. 14, 2013) – U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) is making it easy for customers to manage their data, voice and messaging services with its new Shared Data plans for consumers and small businesses. With these new plans, customers can build the plan that best meets the wireless needs of their families or employees without having to keep track of multiple plans or accounts. These plans are available now, and existing customers are not required to change to a Shared Data plan.

U.S. Cellular’s Shared Data plans include unlimited minutes and messaging and provide customers flexibility in choosing a data plan to match how they use their wireless devices. Customers can share a single bucket of data among their smartphones, basic phones, tablets, hotspots and wireless modems. U.S. Cellular offers the most Shared Data options of any carrier and its plans are the only ones in the marketplace that come with a valuable rewards program that recognizes customer loyalty.

“At U.S. Cellular, providing an exceptional wireless experience is our number one goal, and we strive to provide it through our high-quality network along with devices and plans that meet our customers’ needs,” said Joe Settimi, vice president of products, pricing and innovation for U.S. Cellular. “Our Shared Data plans are designed to simplify the way our customers manage their wireless usage and provide choice and flexibility when deciding what is right for them.”

Customers can start by selecting the devices, up to 10, that they want on their Shared Data plan. They can then choose the amount of data that matches up with their usage on those devices from plans that start at 300 MB for $40 and go up to 75 GB for $560 per month. Business customers can select up to 25 devices to share up to 100 GB of data for $750 per month. Tethering is included on all plans. Smartphones have a monthly device connection charge of $40, basic phones are $30, hotspots and wireless modems are $20 and tablets can be added for $10 per month.

The following chart shows a sampling of some of the Shared Data plans that customers can choose from.


Data only plans are available for tablets, hotspots and modems that start at $10 per month for 1 GB of data. The same monthly device connection charges as above apply. For customers with basic phones, U.S. Cellular is offering “Talk and Text Only Plans” that include 450 minutes and unlimited messaging for individuals for $50 and 1000 minutes and unlimited messaging for families at $100 for two lines and $20 for each additional line.

For a limited time, customers that add a tablet, hotspot or modem to their Shared Data plan get the monthly device connection charge waived until the end of 2013. For more information on U.S. Cellular’s Shared Data plans, visit uscellular.com.

Additional terms, conditions and/or charges may apply. See uscellular.com for details.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Jakob

    Fuck me that's not cheap! Sorry to sound like a broken record, but you guys have it terrible compared to us in the EU.

    • atlouiedog

      The plans from the big companies are mostly pretty awful, but we have options. I have two phones on two Sprint MVNOs and pay around $14-$20 a month after taxes for the pair with my relatively conservative data use. I rarely feel the need to stream any media so it's mostly just looking up maps, checking email/chat/twitter, finding restaurants, etc. I know people who pay $80+ for the same sort of use on one phone. There's some adjustment needed in those numbers to account for the cost of a phone, but it still works out in my favor.

      • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

        I echo that experience. My wife and I have two devices on Ting (a Sprint MVNO), and while our bill isn't as glorious as $14 - $20 a month, we usually pay around $50 - $80. And I only had to pay $20 - $30 back when it was just one device.

        • atlouiedog

          I'm also on Ting for my main device. My second phone is signed up with RingPlus for free 300 minutes and 50 texts. Just about everyone I interact with calls my Google Voice which rings both. If I'm out on a normal day I answer the Ting phone. If I'm at home or go somewhere that my good phone might get damaged, lost, or stolen, like the beach, my secondary RingPlus phone gets used for calls.

        • yankeesusa

          I'm actually still on sprint. I have a 5 line account that I share with family and after dividing the costs between us it's about $49 per line. We have 1200 minutes, unlimited data and texting and unlimited mobile to mobile to any mobile on any company. My wife used to have SERO but I switched her to Tmobile so at least one of us has a decent data speed. I love her tmobile service. We pay around $48 for unlimited talk and text, 2.5gb of full 4g and unlimited throttled data and unlimited tethering and her phone never goes under 6mbps anywhere. For just $10 more I can get her unlimited 4g speeds which is crazy. I'm lucky to live in an area that has good service for most companies.

  • Alessandro Angotzi

    so 1 smartphone with 1 GB data costs 90$ a month? WTF?!? i second jakob, in austria i pay 24,99€ a month and i got 3GB data, 1000 sms 3000 min in austria and 100 minutes voice across europe. what's broken overseas?

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      Our prices are absurd, but American carriers also have to cover more territory. We don't have statewide carriers (the equivalent of a domestic carrier in the EU). Telling someone they have 3GB of data, 1000 SMS, and 3000 minutes in Texas but only 100 minutes in the rest of the country wouldn't sit well with many customers.

      • motoridersd

        These US Cellular prices are insanely high, especially for a regional carrier. Verizon charges the same thing but they offer nationwide coverage, do these plans allow high speed roaming in other areas? They must!

        Alessandro, there are options like everywhere else. Some people might not have a choice but to go with US Cellular for coverage, but the prepaid MVNOs and Sprint offer decent advantages. For anyone living in a T-Mobile serviced area, their plans are pretty good. $70 for unlimited everything (truly unlimited, no data caps or throttling) is the best deal for high data users (and they just added free unlimited international roaming included at the same price, which for me is amazing). If you don't live in an HSPA+ or LTE T-Mobile area, these plans won't work for you unfortunately since their coverage is not as vast as the big carriers. That's why they charge more.

        I would have to pay $265 plus taxes for my current month if I had US Cellular. Yikes!

        • Darkbotic

          How can you send 2.4k+ messages in a month?

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            called sexting

          • motoridersd

            LOL Pretty much. Also these are incoming too, and a lot of them are pages and alerts from work

  • PhoenixPath

    Jesus...it's like they've put up a billboard in Times Square:

    Hi, We're US Cellular and...we don't want any more customers.



  • MeCampbell30

    Et tu, Brute?

    • Poop Shoot

      Us Cellular deserves to lose all of its business for these absurd "deal" prices. The first company to offer unlimited at a reasonable price will destroy all others. :)

  • iboalali

    I have 2GB of data and 300 minutes for 7.5 JOD ($10) a month

  • solbin

    Another one bites the dust... Ugh. I swear this is more expensive than Verizon and AT&T. Does anyone know if US Cellular is currently making a profit? I wonder if it is just a way to be more anti-consumer and make more money, or they really need to make a change because they are losing money month-to-month.

  • realitysconcierge

    What is up with carriers dumping their unlimited plans? Is technology moving backwards?

    • faceless128

      gotta make shareholders happy.

    • kiiKane

      Probably capacity. Unlimited was less of an issue when people were at most streaming some radio. Now with video streaming (easy to use 4mbps+ for 1080) and more capable phones (remote desktop is a bandwidth hog at higher resolutions) unlimited requires some serious capacity or people notice slowdowns. Waiting a few seconds extra for a webpage is less noticeable than your video rebuffering. Some providers kept unlimited, some didn't. Sprint have buckets of spectrum further up the dial and have some network management techniques they can use like limiting video streams to 1mbps. TMobile sell data by the GB and unlimited with priority on the network given to the 'by the GB' plans (at least those over 2GB). It's as much a technical issue as anything. AT&T had unlimited data on iphones and the volume of data congested their network and led to many people having a poor experience and this affected their image. They learned, they didn't have the capacity to offer unlimited without their subs getting upset. Things may change in the future (for at&t and vzw) but I doubt it.

      • realitysconcierge

        That was really insightful, thank you :-)

  • topgun966

    I thought Sprint bought out US Cel? Wonder if that is a factor.

    • andre08

      no just parts

  • Dark_Laser

    A CDMA carrier with coverage worse than T-Mobile and no unlimited data plans? Are they gunning for worst carrier in the world?

  • HolyFreakingCrap

    Well, add US Cellular to the list of scumbag companies like Verizon and ATT.

    Its either unlimited data at a reasonable price or nothing for me from here on out.


  • Ender

    Too much money!

  • yankeesusa

    This is crazy. For 10gb data plan and 2 lines, which is about 5gb per line, that's around $90 per line. I'm sorry but am I missing something? Less coverage than most companies and no unlimited plans to help guide customers to them? If sprint chose tiered data right now with the their horrible data speeds people would keep leaving in droves. I just don't understand. I'm glad I chose tmobile for my wife's phone.

  • John O’Connor


    So you are telling me that some brainchild thought that $90/mo ($40 smartphone + $50 for 1GB!) for a single line on a budget/regional carrier makes sense to any consumer?

    They may as well be on legacy Sprint Nextel for their limited coverage and paltry data offerings. It looks like they took a card from VZ/ATT in price gouging, while failing to realize they have even less coverage than budget T-Mobile.

  • Disgruntled US Cellular Custom

    Not only are the prices insane but have you tried to get a hold of their customer support? I have been on hold for 30 min now waiting to get someone on the line because Tone Room Deluxe says that I do not have a Data Plan Service, but they make you get a data plan with every smart phone and I just upgraded to the Galaxy 4?
    There customer service sucks major ass!!!!!!!