When it comes to the wireless industry, competition can be fierce, especially among T-Mobile and the three other major wireless providers. However, said competition, while great for pricing, can cause confusion among us - the consumers.
We may find important information locked away in another section, and the statistics, including speed and reliability, we look into may not be 100 percent accurate. T-Mobile is no different when it comes to hunting down information.
Fortunately, we're here to clean up the mess and organize it into a much more readable format, so you can decide whether or not you should purchase any of the available T-Mobile cell phone plans.
In this guide, you'll find information regarding T-Mobile service plans, the cell phones offered by T-Mobile, the coverage, customer service, and more. Finally, we will direct you to our cell phone plan comparison tool in hopes that you'll reach a conclusion as to whether or not T-Mobile service is right for you.
In This Guide
T-Mobile Wireless Plans
The T-Mobile network has stepped up its game, offering a variety of no-contract plans that are awfully tempting for anyone and can compete with the likes of Straight Talk and Sprint. Furthermore, the service adds attractive price points to these plans. T-Mobile however, now only offers prepaid plans and the T-Mobile ONE plan.
Most of these plans come with 4G LTE data, which has been touted as the fastest nationwide, though in reality and as of early 2017, it is the fastest on the east coast. Nevertheless, there are different types of plans that align with the needs of the customer.
T-Mobile Monthly Plans
Unfortunately, the monthly Simple Choice plans no longer exist. In fact, as of January 22, 2017, the Simple Choice plans have been discontinued, though those who have adopted the plan before the discontinuation date can continue to use the plan. But enough about Simple Choice, because the focus is all on the prepaid monthly plans and T-Mobile ONE.
The Simply Prepaid monthly plans include a plethora of features that tend to excite anyone. Some of the features are unlimited calling, unlimited text, and unlimited data starting with up to 4GB of 4G LTE data, access to Music Unlimited, Smartphone Equality - where you can make 12 straight on-time monthly payments before you qualify for the best up-front pricing available, Data Maximizer, which allows for optimal video streaming for mobile while saving data.
T-Mobile Family Plans
After some research, I discovered that T-Mobile only offers one family plan, which may or may not be a downer for potential consumers: T-Mobile ONE. While T-Mobile ONE plans require no credit check (and no credit check is good for most consumer cases), the fact that families are limited to just one plan is a tad unfortunate. If you're looking for more family plans, it's best to consider another major carrier. With that being said, it's still great for individual phone plans.
Read More: Compare family cell phone plans from multiple carriers
T-Mobile Prepaid Plans
T-Mobile has no-contract prepay plans that are rather enticing, featuring unlimited talk and text as well as data, all for a low fee. Keep in mind that T-Mobile's prepaid plans can be sought out on a separate site.
There are individual plans, family plans (though you'll just be redirected to T-Mobile ONE), pay as you go plans, mobile internet plans, and international tourist plans, but I plan to only focus on the individual and pay as you go plans.
First, the individual prepay plans. Bluntly stated, individual prepaid plans are quite affordable. Simply Prepaid plans come with either 4GB, 6GB, or Unlimited amounts of 4G LTE Data (this isn't listed on the page, but you will find T-Mobile ONE prepaid in the compare prepaid plan features page). Of course, you can add international services to the prepaid service offerings.
As for prepaid family plans, and as mentioned previously, you're limited to one plan, which is a post-paid plan: T-Mobile ONE. With T-Mobile ONE, you can add the lines you need for your family.
Then there is pay as you go, which is geared toward individual users. For just a few dollars per month, you will receive 30 minutes of talk or 30 texts. You can also add additional talk and text at a low flat rate. However, you may also tack on a high-speed data pass, which includes Smartphone Mobile HotSpot. You can either select the daily pass, which gives you up to 500MB of 4G LTE data, or the weekly pass, which grants you with up to 1GB 4G LTE data.
Compare: Find a cheap T-Mobile SIM Card
T-Mobile Unlimited Plans
Like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, T-Mobile offers unlimited calling, text, and data plans - well more like an unlimited texting, talk, and data plan with add-ons - properly titled T-Mobile ONE. T-Mobile ONE features not only unlimited talk and text but also unlimited 4G LTE data for everyone on the plan.
Keep in mind that if you're a heavy user - specifically the top three percent of data users - you may face reduced speeds until the next billing cycle during congestion periods. Unfortunately, with the original plan, you cannot stream HD video, but you can video stream at 480p, which is just fine for smartphones and tablets. Finally, you can only tether at max 3G speeds.
Compare: T-Mobile Unlimited Data Plans
However, you can always add ONE Plus for a certain fee per line, which allows you to stream HD video (HD video can be a huge plus for videophiles, though your smartphone is more than enough for SD video streaming), tether your devices at higher speeds (and at up to 10GB of data), and travel abroad with twice the data speeds. You can attach more than nine lines to your ONE plan, by the by.
Finally, if you need T-Mobile international services, you can always add T-Mobile ONE Plus International for only $25 per line per month so you can avoid any form of international roaming fees.
With Plus International, you'll be able to take advantage of international calling to landlines in over 70 countries and mobile phone numbers in over 30 countries, unlimited 4G LTE mobile hotspot, unlimited HD video streaming (though this is restricted to only the US), unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi on Gogo-enabled flights, going abroad with 2x the data speed, voicemail to text, and Name ID.
Overall, T-Mobile's ONE plan is a great option if you tend to devour data. However, it's a little more expensive in comparison to Sprint's Unlimited service. You can take a look at every carrier's unlimited plans here. However, it should be noted that the Sprint unlimited plan is the most affordable and beneficial plan among the four major providers. Despite the pricing of the Sprint Unlimited plan, the T-Mobile ONE plan isn't a plan to scoff at.
Read More: Sprint vs T-Mobile: Which is Better?
T-Mobile Data Plans
In early 2016, T-Mobile quietly introduced their prepaid internet package, which provides you with twice the 4G LTE data at the same price on the Simply Prepaid plan. You'll be able to use your high-speed data in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., while also having access to unlimited music streaming on your network.
T-Mobile's data plans range from 2GB of 4G LTE data to 22GB of 4G LTE data, which is suitable for mobile hotspot devices, tablets, and more. Keep in mind that plans do auto-renew after 30 days.
Finally, there are daily, weekly, and monthly passes for data allowances. You can have 500MB of 4G LTE data for one day, up to 1GB 4G LTE data for seven days, or up to 3GB 4G LTE data for 30 days.
Due to the affordability of these plans, many people adopt these data plans for their tablets and other devices. That's not to say that the tablet data plans belonging to other wireless carriers fall short, either.
T-Mobile International Tourist Plan
T-Mobile International is another prepaid plan to take into consideration if you're touring the United States (if you happen to be from outside the U.S.). The T-Mobile International Tourist Plan allows you to temporarily switch to T-Mobile for an affordable fee, providing you with 2GB of 4G LTE speed, unlimited domestic and international texting to over 140 countries and destinations, 1,000 minutes of domestic talk within the U.S. - all for three weeks so you can avoid international roaming charges.
You'll also receive a free local SIM card for your unlocked phone. All you need to do is bring an unlocked phone with you to the United States, order your Tourist Kit online or pick it up at a T-Mobile store, and sign up, pay, and activate the plan online or in-store.
Cell Phones Offered By T-Mobile
You can purchase phones through either T-Mobile's prepaid shop or its main shop. If you plan to purchase a pre-paid phone, which may include the latest versions of the iPhone and Android phones, then you should be aware that you will have to pay the full price immediately. A lot of the time, if you purchase a pre-paid phone, you'll find your options rather limited, but you'll find plenty of decent and excellent options in the haystack.
Compare: T-Mobile Prepaid Phones
However, depending on your credit and if you plan on attaching a monthly plan to your phone, you can always opt for monthly installment payments. If you have a pretty average credit score, you'll have the option of placing a down payment on your phone, followed by monthly installment fees.
If you have an excellent credit score, you'll be able to place no money down on your device, meaning more monthly payments for your phone, but at the same time, you don't have to worry about hefty down payments of a few hundred dollars.
Phones come in all types and brands, including the Samsung Galaxy series, the iPhone, LG K series, and more. Before you make your purchase, you can always take a moment to compare the most popular smartphone specifications with our smartphone comparison tool. Of course, you don't have to purchase a phone.
You can also purchase a tablet or a wearable or even bring your own phone with T-Mobile. In fact, you can purchase a used, refurbished T-Mobile phone for cheap and bring the phone to the carrier. You can also check out our guide to cheap T-Mobile phones. However, your phone will more-than-likely need to be unlocked. Fortunately, we have a guide detailing the process of unlocking your phone.
Read More: T-Mobile isn't the only carrier to feature a bring your own device program. Be sure to research the terms, including phone compatibility, provided by each carrier.
Your phone needs protection. After all, a phone may suddenly find itself in the hands of a thief, in a bathtub, or broken down for no absolute reason.
T-Mobile offers three insurance plans - which should be considered if you're purchasing an expensive phone - any of which need to be enrolled in within 14 days of buying your mobile device:
Lookout Mobile Security Premium - For a low fee of $4 per month, you can log into Lookout.com to locate your device on a map, sound a loud alarm, and view the location of your device before it ran out of battery. Lookout also backs up your contacts and photos while protecting you from the latest security threats.
Premium Handset Protection with Lookout - Premium Handset Protection, which is only $12 per month, doesn't come with Lookout Mobile Security Premium, but it does cover your device from loss, theft, accidental damage, and mechanical or electrical breakdowns. You'll enjoy fast delivery of your replacements.
Premium Handset Protection with Lookout - If you want what both Premium Handset Protection and Lookout Mobile Security Premium have to offer, then you might want to select this plan, which boasts the best of both worlds for only $12 per month, though the price does vary per device.
There are several methods of activating your phone, whether the phone is prepaid or not.
- For new customers, the fastest way to activate your phone is by heading to an official T-Mobile store.
- You could also dial 844-730-5912.
- You could always activate your new phone online.
- Finally, if you are bringing your own phone, you need to buy a new SIM card. Once you slip the SIM card into your phone, your device will be good to go. We've taken the time to define SIM cards to help you understand all that there is to know regarding this tiny smart card.
With T-Mobile, Smartphone Mobile HotSpot is included with its Simply Prepaid plans. However, utilizing a mobile hotspot from any carrier can be a data killer, so make sure that you select the amount of data you need.
However, you can always opt for T-Mobile's ONE plan, which comes with unlimited Mobile HotSpot speeds at 3G, which is fine for most data activities. However, you can always add T-Mobile ONE Plus and instead receive an unlimited high-speed 4G LTE Mobile HotSpot Service.
Compare: T-Mobile Hotspot Plans
If you need a new SIM card, which is a small card that contains important data such as your subscriber profile and plan information, then you'll be happy to know that T-Mobile offers SIM cards for a price.
Unfortunately, obtaining a SIM card is a bit more expensive in comparison to purchasing a SIM card from any other major carrier. However and at the very least, you should be able to transfer your current phone number to T-Mobile.
T-Mobile Deals, Promotions & Discounts
T-Mobile offers many incentives to tempt the mobile customer. Some deals include receiving an $800 Prepaid MasterCard card when you switch to T-Mobile or receiving a free phone with the purchase of the T-Mobile ONE plan.
Furthermore, loyal customers gain access to T-Mobile Tuesdays, which grants you free items, such as movies and treats (like a Wendy's Frosty), every week. Not only that, but T-Mobile allows customers to have a share of un-carrier stock. Pretty tempting, isn't it?
Not only that, but students, staff, and business families are eligible for discounts with the carrier.
For more information on these deals, please refer to our guide on T-Mobile's deals and promotions.
Does T-Mobile Cover Where You Live?
T-Mobile may have the nation's fastest 4G LTE speeds - at least the fastest 4G LTE speeds on the east coast - but it does not have the greatest coverage compared to the coverage of the other major wireless providers. Unfortunately, T-Mobile's major disadvantage is the fact that the T-Mobile coverage isn't particularly great in rural areas.
Dropped calls and poor data connections are absolutely common in rural locations, even when a T-Mobile store is near the rural area. In other words, the T-Mobile coverage is fantastic in urban and even many suburban areas, but when it comes to rural areas, you may find the LTE coverage and performance rather lacking.
T-Mobile Customer Support
In the past, T-Mobile had a bad reputation when it came to customer support, but it has since moved on, becoming a much better carrier. The customer service agents are friendly and knowledgeable. They are also quick to repair any errors caught by the customer.
There are several different methods to access T-Mobile support. You can always:
- Search for a FAQ on a particular issue you have
- Visit the customer community
- Message a T-Mobile representative
- Call customer service
- Visit a T-Mobile service
- Contact by mail
- Or contact T-Mobile via Facebook, Twitter, or Google+
Customer reviews and company reputation are great ways to see for yourself how other people who have used T-Mobile cell phone plans have thought on the service. The American Customer Satisfaction Index gave T-Mobile a score of 74/100, which is the highest in the industry and beating competitors like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon. The Better Business Bureau gives T-Mobile an A- ranking. Trustpilot, a trusted website that scores businesses purely by customer reviews, gave T-Mobile a bad score of 2.8/10. Remember, however, that not all customer experiences should be representative of the whole, but it's important to be aware of potential issues nonetheless.
How to Change Your APN Settings
T-Mobile has everything a customer could want - amazing perks, blazing 4G LTE data, unlimited plans at a decent price (which can even rival the prices of Straight Talk), and quality customer support - but what keeps it from being the top carrier in the nation is its shoddy rural coverage. Rural areas suffer greatly in the hands of T-Mobile, and until T-Mobile extends its strong coverage across rural areas, it won't topple a giant like Verizon.