The price of data is rising. While most carriers haven’t explicitly raised the price of their base-level data plans, they have implemented caps. Users who could once consume unlimited data must now monitor their data usage, lest they incur penalties or face throttled speeds. It’s not a welcome development for consumers. Time was, the price of a data plan was pretty level across carriers. There were some variables to consider, but at least in America it came out roughly equal. Now there are some real chances to find a better deal. Here’s what you’ll find from America’s top four carriers. AT&T AT&T was actually the first major US carrier to implement tiered data. While heavy users cried foul — AT&T has no plan with a cap above 2.5GB — it actually works out very well for lighter users. In fact, it works exceedingly well for BlackBerry users. Your BlackBerry compresses data in an efficient manner. Combine that with a relative lack of streaming services — no Hulu, no Netflix, etc. — and it makes for low data consumption. That means a lower cell bill. Previously AT&T had an unlimited data plan for $30. Now they have a 200MB data plan for half that. Users can pay just $15 per month to enjoy an eminently reasonable level of BlackBerry data. Heck, I know iPhone users who don’t cross that point. Combine that with a $40 voice plan and the $20 unlimited messaging plan (there is no lower tier) and it works out to $75 per month before taxes. T-Mobile A T-Mobile data plan isn’t really a data plan, but rather a package of minutes, messages, and data. T-Mobile also provides a range of options, so users will have no shortage of plans to choose from. As with AT&T we’ll look at the lowest-level minute plan, since unlimited mobile-to-mobile and unlimited nights and weekends often means we can get away with it. A T-Mobile customer actually pays only $59.99 per month for those same 200MB as AT&T. It gets better with T-Mobile, too. The 2GB plan costs just $69.99 per month, so it’s still cheaper than AT&T. In fact, that provides the same amount of data as AT&T’s $25 per month data plan ($85 per month total). To take this further, if you’re spending $85 on AT&T’s 2GB plan, you can spend $79.99 on T-Mobile’s 5GB plan. Sprint As with T-Mobile, Sprint deals with package plans rather than separate data plans. Also as with T-Mobile, the plan is cheaper than AT&T. That is, 450 minutes plus unlimited messaging and data is just $69.99 per month. The difference, of course, is that Sprint actually allows for unlimited data. T-Mobile does, but in name only. Once you cross your cap you get slower speeds, which are, in truth, slower than those old dial-up connections. That doesn’t really make for functional browsing. Sprint does have two other options that beat the competition, too. The plan with 900 minutes is $90 per month, and unlimited is $100. Again, with all of the free calling windows, it’s easier than ever to get by with the minimum minute plans. But for those who need more, Sprint might be the best option. Verizon Verizon surely takes advantage of its status as America’s largest wireless carrier. Like AT&T, Verizon implemented tiered data. Only they didn’t give a break to the lighter users. Instead, they capped the same $30 plan that was once unlimited, and they added higher tiers for larger data consumers. It makes for the most expensive plans out of the Big Four. They do, thankfully, have a 1,000-message plan, which is more than adequate for most users. That helps mitigate the issue, but it’s still more expensive. The 450 minute plan plus 1,000 message plus 2GB of data with Verizon costs $79.99 per month. That might be only $5 more expensive than AT&T, and it might have a higher data cap, but it doesn’t include as many messages — and with AT&T the unlimited message plan also provides unlimited calling to any mobile phone. Additionally, as we discussed, the 2GB of data isn’t as big an issue for BlackBerry users. It can be downright hard to use 2GB a month on your BlackBerry. As is often the case, the smaller carriers win the day. They might not have as robust coverage as AT&T and Verizon, but they have far better deals — especially for BlackBerry users.