PSA: Free Streaming Video Options with Unlimited Cell Phone Data Plans

This probably isn’t news to most people, but I figured I’d call it out since it seems some people didn’t know.

For all those who have unlimited data plans with one of the Big 3 cell phone carriers (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile), you may be eligible for a free video streaming plan through a partnership your carrier has with the streaming video provider.

Here are the video streaming plans with each carrier:

  1. AT&T – HBO Max – Check eligibility here
  2. Verizon – Disney Plus Bundle – Check eligibility here
  3. T-Mobile – Netflix – Check eligibility here

– HBO Max is a $15/month value, so you could be saving $180/year if eligible
– Disney Plus bundle (comes with Disney Plus, Hulu with Ads and ESPN+) is $13.99/month, so you could be saving $168/year if eligible
– Netflix is an $8.99 – $13.99/month value, so you could be saving $108 to $168/year if eligible

So if you were paying for these streaming services before or if you didn’t have access to them because you didn’t want to pay for them, you may be able to save some money or have access to them now. Either way, it’s a nice $100+ freebie that these cell phone providers are providing their subscribers.

A Quick Savings & Investing Exercise

I also wanted to call out that subscriptions and in general “nominal” monthly expenses add up over time too. For example, let’s just say you saved $15/month for 10-years and you decided to invest the annual total in the S&P 500 (Ticker Symbol: $VOO), so in this case, $180/year ($15 x 12 months = $180). 

If you were to use the S&P 500 returns from 2011-2020:

2011: 2.11%
2012: 16.00%
2013: 32.39%
2014: 13.69%
2015: 1.38%
2016: 11.96%
2017: 21.83%
2018: -4.38%
2019: 31.49%
2020: 18.40%

That $180/year in annual savings fully invested in the S&P 500 becomes $4,110.33 over this 10-year period! To be clear, $180 x 10 years = $1,800, so you more than doubled your money just saving $15/month for 10-years and investing that into the S&P 500. 

If you were to only use a 5-year time frame, that $180 would be worth $1,308.56 if fully invested over 5-years vs. $180 x 5 = $900, so nearly 50% more!

Granted, who knows what the annualized returns will be in the next 10-years, but historically, the average annualized return is around 6-10%.

The takeaway of all of this is, it’s not about pinching pennies, it’s about always being mindful of your monthly fixed costs or ‘basically fixed’ costs and remembering how just investing a nominal sum of money in a boring ETF like $VOO (Vanguard’s S&P 500 index) over a small stretch of time can add up fast.

  1. If you really want savings, consider ditching the main carrier for a MVNO. You’re overpaying for an unlimited plan with Verizon, AT&T, and T-mobile. Pocket the savings and bing al-la-carte on streaming along with still saving a lot!
    Based off Tom’s Hardware 2021 unlimited rates:
    Verizon: 80/mth
    T-mobile: 70/mth
    AT&T: 85/mth
    my favorite MVNO: Mint 30/mth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *