If you're considering going with the T-Mobile unlimited data plan, don't make any commitments until you read this guide.
As you probably know, unlimited is the only option T-Mobile offers anymore. And it's not cheap, especially if you just need a single line. Yet, you might think that having unlimited everything is an absolute necessity in today's world of constant smartphone use and endless HD video streaming.
Is it really though? Do you actually need an infinite amount of high-speed data at your fingertips?
We're going to look at the real numbers and find out if you're overpaying for your wireless plan (hint - it's highly likely you are). I'll also tell you how to save hundreds of dollars a year on your plan and more than 50% on your phone.Switch & Save $600/yr - Calculate Your Savings
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T-Mobile Unlimited Plans
Unfortunately, there's really no such thing as unlimited high-speed data. All four major carriers set a data cap on how much 4G LTE data you can use before you face the possibility of being slowed to 3G speeds during times of network congestion.
On the T-Mobile network, you won't experience throttling until you've torn through 50GB of data. This is considerably higher than AT&T's 22 GB, and much more generous than with the cheapest Verizon Wireless unlimited plan (you can be throttled at any time - there's no set limit). The Sprint network also has a 50GB cap.
Do You Need Unlimited?
|Carrier||Network Coverage||Data Limit||Monthly Price||Annual Cost|
|T-Mobile||T-Mobile 4G LTE||Unlimited*||$70||$840|
|Mint Mobile||T-Mobile 4G LTE||8GB||$20||$240|
|* Avg. unlimited plan customer uses 3-5GB data|
When it comes to lowering your cell phone bill, this is the most important question you can ask yourself. Despite the carriers' best efforts to woo consumers with slick ads and enticing limited time offers, the truth is that almost no one actually needs a bottomless data bucket.
Surprised? We were too. But the statistics on smartphone data usage bear it out. Consider the researchers' findings:
- The average data usage for T-Mobile unlimited plan customers is just 6 GB per billing cycle (Strategy Analytics 2018).
- The average mobile data usage across the board among smartphone users in the United States is even less - about 3.5 GB per month (OECD 2017).
If you're frustrated by these numbers compared to how much data your carrier is pushing, you should be. It means that cell phone plans aren't being designed for your needs - they're being designed for the providers' bottom lines.
Find out how much data you need with our data usage calculator and then you can decide whether switching to a data capped plan is better for you (it will certainly be cheaper).
T-Mobile MVNO Benefits
There is a great solution to the problem of overpriced wireless plans. Save over 50% off your service - without sacrificing your favorite network - by switching to a T-Mobile MVNO.
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are smaller wireless carriers that offer cheaper prices for service on the same equipment and towers that the big guys use.
They keep their costs low by operating exclusively online in most cases and foregoing the major marketing campaigns that eat up the budget. MVNOs then pass these savings on to you, the customer, by way of cheap cell phone plans.
Best T-Mobile MVNOs
There are plenty of great T-Mobile MVNOs to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites.
We like this T-Mobile MVNO because it's simple, cheap, and the more you buy, the more you save. Buy three, six, or 12 months of service at a time. Choose from three data options - 2 GB, 5 GB, or 10 GB.
There aren't any unlimited data plans offered, but as we discussed earlier you likely don't need one. What you do get is mobile hotspot data usage plus the option to add more data or international service to your Mint Mobile plan.
With US Mobile plans you've got your choice of network coverage under T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless. The nice thing is that you can custom build your own plan, including unlimited plans. Want faster data for your music streaming and better video quality? You can pick from three different speed options, including one that gives you 4G LTE hotspot data.
Save More: Buy a Refurbished T-Mobile Phone
Your wireless plan isn't the only expensive part of your cell phone bill. High-end smartphones have crept up in price, with some now reaching the $1000 mark. That's a lot of money for something that you replace every two to three years.
Refurbished Phone Benefits
You might be nervous about buying a secondhand device but it's really a smart choice, both financially and practically.
- Reputable sellers give you great deals on high-end phones only a model or two old.
- Changes to brand new models are typically small, making it tough to justify the exorbitant price.
- Third-party phone repair stores are everywhere now, making it easy to get your phone fixed.
- Many sellers offer warranties and generous return policies.
- You own your phone so you're free to take it to any carrier you wish.
Why pay for way more data than you actually need?
- Calculate your data usage.
- Choose a T-Mobile MVNO and pick the plan that fits your budget.
- Buy a refurbished T-Mobile phone at less than 50% of the retail cost.
- Sell your old phone and pocket even more cash.
Even if you decide you do need an unlimited data plan, you can still save a bundle by using an alternative carrier. Find out just how much less you could be paying with our cell phone savings calculator.