T-Mobile and its BYOP program were considered to be a little behind of its pack just a few years ago, but since then, it has worked hard to become an admirable service; in fact, the old T-Mobile is now merely a memory.
It has since proven to be the most user-friendly carrier in the wireless business, offering incentives when switching to any new cell phone provider, including enticing no-contract plans as well as no overage fees.
However, is the program right for you? I will cover everything you need to know with T-Mobile's Bring Your Own Phone program.
T-Mobile BYOP Plans
T-Mobile's BYOP program is widely expansive. Compatible phones can be equipped with a myriad of plans. But it's also important to highlight the reasons behind bringing your own device to T-Mobile: you can keep your existing number, use your device with any prepaid or postpaid plan, and save money by sticking with your preferred device. Additionally, you're actually able to bring your own device to any of T-Mobile's cell phone plans. Yes, any of them.
Bring Your Own Device
According to Forbes, T-Mobile - which happens to be the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier - had an incredibly strong 2016, having added a total of 2.37 million subscribers over the first nine months of 2016. Furthermore, it has been improving its network: at the end of Q3 2016, the carrier covered 313 million people, which happens to be roughly 99.7% of the population that Verizon's 4G LTE network covers.
But what makes T-Mobile so enticing? What are its Bring Your Own Device plans?
Well, there are two main types of plans that are compatible with a bring your own phone plan: prepaid and postpaid. Let's begin with T-Mobile's prepaid plans. Important note: according to Android Headlines, the company has removed its postpaid monthly plans from its portfolio and is now only offering T-Mobile ONE. However, the company still offer plenty of Prepaid plans.
Read More: If you'd like to examine all of the BYOP plans among Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, then we encourage you to check out the comparison guide on the best BYOP plans.
There are four types of T-Mobile prepaid plans: individual monthly plans, pay as you go plans, mobile internet plans, and the international tourist plan.
1. Individual Monthly Plans
There are three Simply Prepaid plans available, ranging from 3GB to 10GB of high-speed 4G LTE data. You'll receive unlimited talk and text, as well as the option to tack on international services. There are two types of international services you can apply to your plan: Mexico and Canada Unlimited, which grants you with unlimited talk, text, and data in all three countries, and Stateside International Talk, which allows you to call and text from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to countries overseas.
With these plans, you'll also be able to stream as much music as you'd like with Music Unlimited.
You can also opt for the Basic Monthly Plans, which grants you unlimited web and text but 100 minutes of talk. Because there is a limit to talking, you may want to avoid the Basic Monthly Plan.
What is also added to the individual monthly plan category are the Simple Choice Prepaid plans (which are tricky to find). These plans come complete with Music Freedom and the Binge On service, which allows you to stream music and video without using your data. However, these features are only available with the 6GB plans and up.
There are three types of plans to choose from, ranging from 2GB of 4G LTE Data to 10GB of 4G LTE Data. You can also add Stateside International Talk to these plans.
2. Pay As You Go
There are three types of Pay As You Go plans. The first one, which is only $3 per month, grants you with any combination of 30 minutes of talk or 30 texts. If you want more, you can always add additional talk and text at a low flat rate of 10 cents per minute or per message.
However, if you want high-speed data, you can always purchase one of two high-speed data passes. There are a daily pass and a weekly pass. The daily pass provides you with up to 500MB of 4G LTE data, and the weekly pass grants you with up to 1GB of 4G LTE data.
3. Mobile Internet Plans
T-Mobile's mobile internet plans allow you use your high-speed data in Canada and Mexico at no extra charge, provides you with unlimited music streaming on the network without using up your data, and features no overage fees or annual service contracts. Plans auto renew after 30 days and range between 2GB of 4G LTE data and 22GB of 4G LTE data.
You can also purchase day, week, or month passes. Day passes provide you with up to 500MB of data, weekly passes with up to 1GB 4G LTE data, and 30-day passes with up to 3GB of high-speed data.
Read More: Need a hotspot? No worries, we have you covered with our review of the best hotspot plans.
4. T-Mobile Tourist Plan
For only a certain fee for three weeks, you can connect like a local with the T-Mobile Tourist Plan. You'll receive unlimited data, but with up to 2GB at 4G LTE speed, unlimited domestic and international texting to over 140 countries and destinations, 1,000 minutes of domestic talk within the U.S., and a free SIM card for your unlocked phone. To use this plan, you need to:
- Bring an unlocked phone with you to the U.S.
- Order your Tourist Kit online or pick it up at a T-Mobile store
- Sign up, pay, and activate the plan either online or in the store
Ever since late January of 2017, T-Mobile has scrubbed away most of its postpaid plans in favor of the T-Mobile One postpay plan. Beginning February 2017, taxes and fees are automatically included in the T-Mobile One plans, so what you see as advertised is what you get.
T-Mobile One sports nothing but unlimited high-speed data, talk, and text. However, it's not 100 percent truly unlimited data that you'll be using. The top 3 percent of data users may face slow speeds during congestion periods until the next billing cycle. Furthermore, the basic T-Mobile One plan only lets you stream videos at 480p and tether at Max 3G speeds.
You can always upgrade T-Mobile One, however, to either T-Mobile ONE Plus or T-Mobile ONE Plus International.
T-Mobile ONE Plus provides you with the added benefits of Gogo Full Flight Unlimited Wi-Fi, the ability to travel abroad with 2x the data speed, voicemail to text, Name ID and unlimited HD day passes for video streaming.
Read More: if you're considering switching to T-Mobile, you read our guide on the process of switching to T-Mobile.
T-Mobile ONE Plus International, on the other hand, provides you with Gogo Full Flight Unlimited Wi-Fi, the ability to travel abroad with 2x the data speeds, voicemail to text, name ID, unlimited HD passes for video streaming, unlimited international calling to landlines in over 70 countries and mobile numbers in over 30 countries, and unlimited 4G LTE Hotspot.
As an incentive, T-Mobile recently introduced KickBack. If you don't use much data, you'll receive up to $10 back in bill credits every month for each T-Mobile ONE line that uses less than 2GB. Furthermore, you can also skip the credit check with T-Mobile ONE.
Though it is advertised that you'll receive four lines, you can always add more lines to the plan. In fact, you can add more than nine lines to the plan.
Read More: All four major carriers feature an enticing unlimited plan. You can review the available unlimited plans thanks to our comparison article on the major carriers' unlimited plans.
Sim Card Activation Kit
T-Mobile offers two types of SIM card activation kits: a phone SIM card or a tablet SIM card. The Prepaid (and Non-prepaid) 3-in-1 Sim Starter Kits are some of the most expensive kits around, but these are compatible with unlocked GSM phones. If you're unsure of what a GSM network is, you can refer to our guide on "CDMA vs. GSM: What's the Difference?"
The other kit is the T-Mobile Prepaid Mobile Internet 3-in-1 SIM Kit, which fits all LTE and GSM tablets and hotspots. The kit includes a Nano SIM card with Micro and Standard SIM adapters.
Related: What Is a SIM Card?
Activate Your Own Device
To activate your device, your device must be unlocked. T-Mobile, unfortunately, cannot assist customers otherwise. You can follow our guide to learn how to unlock your phone.
Next, you use T-Mobile's online compatibility checker to verify compatibility. The device must support the frequencies used by T-Mobile.
Then, you need to select the right SIM card. Otherwise, if you ordered a SIM card through T-Mobile.com or 1-800-TMOBILE you may begin service by slipping your SIM card into your device. You should be ready to go from there.
However, if you are bringing your own tablet or hotspot, you may choose your data plan and order by calling 1-844-575-9402 or go through the manual activation process step-by-step online.
Furthermore, if you did not purchase your phone or SIM cards from T-Mobile.com or 1-800-TMOBILE, you can also go through the manual activation process online.
Are T-Mobile BYOP Plans Right for You?
T-Mobile offers a wide array of plans, complete with plenty of incentives. It also holds the crown for best customer service among the four major wireless carriers. The plans are also plenty affordable, and the service is trying its best to expand coverage into rural areas. After all, it gained a reputation of being poor in rural areas.
Overall, you should ensure that T-Mobile covers your area, but it definitely earns a strong consideration from me.