MetroPCS Now Offers Dedicated Data Hotspot Plans

Starting today, MetroPCS, T-Mobile's wholly owned subsidiary, is offering a dedicated data hotspot plan. However, you will need to have a Metro PCS phone plan in order to add a hotspot line.

MetroPCS is offering 10GB of high-speed data on a data hotspot device for $35 per month, with slowed speeds (128kbps) after that data bucket is used. The option to add additional data is available for a few extra bucks per gig:

MetroPCS is offering its hotspot lines on an Alcatel Linkzone (one of two available T-Mobile  branded hotspots), which they are selling for $49. If you already have a T-mobile capable hotspot, it appears that you can purchase a SIM card and utilize your device.

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MetrosPCS' move to offering hotspot lines in welcomed in terms of giving mobile internet seekers an increased array of options. Especially for those who prefer using a dedicated data device over a phone's mobile hotspot function,

More info on the pros and cons of standalone hotspots, routers and hotspotting from a phone: Ways to Use Cellular Data To Get Online: Jetpack, Smartphone or Router?

Phone plans which are eligible for a hotspot device line to be added start at $30/month for a 2GB MetroPCS plan. So, for $65/month you would have access to 12GB of hotspottable data - 2GB from a phone line, and 10GB from a hotspot device.

While Metro PCS' phone plans currently offer 'Music Unlimited', which allows you to get your funky groove on without counting data towards your high-speed data usage (saving you from network management caps), their new hotspot plans do not include this feature. All data used will count towards your high-speed data cap.

If you're looking for prepaid T-Mobile based data without going through a credit check, MetroPCS is an option. But, there are some drawbacks of being a prepaid MetroPCS customer versus a T-Mobile direct customer.

While T-Mobile continues to rapidly expand their network, their data network is still weak outside of urban areas, and has a lot of roaming areas. For MetroPCS customers lack of coverage will be more substantial than for those who are T-Mobile direct customers, as MetroPCS does not include domestic roaming in their plans.

MetroPCS traffic is always deprioritized behind direct T-Mobile traffic. Network management kicks in at 35GB/line for Metro PCS customers (T-Mobile direct has a 50GB network management threshold).

MetroPCS plans are also always subject to Data Maximizer, a program which slows video streaming speeds to 480p. While this ultimately reduces data usage, the reduced resolution provided by 480p may be frustrating for some. This "service" cannot be disabled on Metro PCS plans.

None of MetroPCS' plans include any unlimited video streaming options, and no international usage is included either.

While priced competitively with T-Mobile's Simply Prepaid brand hotspot lines, Simply Prepaid offers some perks that Metro PCS does not. And Simple Prepaid standalone hotspot plans are still a bit cheaper than MetroPCS'.

Simply Prepaid hotspot lines are standalone - meaning they are available without needing a smartphone plan, whereas MetroPCS' require a phone plan. This automatically brings Metro's cheapest plan with a hotspot line to $65 for 12GB (10GB standalone hotspot + 2GB on phone). Simply Prepaid offers 14GB for the same $65 price point - all on a standalone hotspot device.

In addition, Simply Prepaid allows you to turn off Data Maximizer if you desire. And Simply prepaid includes Music Unlimited, saving you from data usage while you're rocking out. You can also add some international data roaming to SImply Prepaid plans and no credit checks are required for Simply Prepaid service.

But, MetroPCS' hotspot line does offer technically "unlimited" data - as long as you're cool with 128kbps type speeds after you hit your hotspot bucket cap (of up to 16GB).

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