The self proclaimed 'Uncarrier' is shaking up the industry by implementing policies not seen before.
Already they have weened the carriers off contracts, device subsidies, lowering pricing, eliminating overage charges and introducing roll-over data. And they continue to innovate by offering features like unlimited music & video streaming and not charging for data used to do speed testing. And they continue innovate with some great perks.
They have pretty good urban coverage in the USA that is currently undergoing rapid expansion with the deployment of Band 12, however they are still a distant 3rd carrier in terms of coverage.
T-Mobile's Simply Prepaid plans (capped data) are lower cost plans than their Simple Choice plans, and thus offer less features (such as no free video streaming, and Mexico/Canada coverage is additional.) There is an option on Simply Prepaid to add a standalone hotspot data line.
T-Mobile's ONE Prepaid (unlimited data) plan is (currently $5) more expensive than their postpaid ONE plan. Their prepaid ONE plan also has fewer features. Unlike ONE postpaid, ONE Prepaid does not include the ability to turn off data maximizer for free ($3/day charge) and does not include 4G (high-speed) mobile hotspot - all hotspot data is capped at 3G speeds.
In late March 2017, T-Mobile retired their popular Simple Choice Prepaid plans. Customers on those plans will be grandfathered until they change/end their payments on their plan.
Their Weaknesses: While they are rapidly expanding their network, their data network is still weak outside of urban areas, and has a lot of roaming areas which will be quite slow. To get their newest coverage, you must have a newer device that supports Band 12..
Policies & Perks:
- Throttling / Network Management:
- Domestic Roaming: No domestic roaming on Simply Prepaid plans. One Prepaid includes 200MB daily roaming.
- International: Fine print: "Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our U.S. network. Service may be terminated or restricted for excessive roaming."
- For $5 extra per month, Simply Prepaid plans can add on the ability to use the plans in Canada & Mexico.
- ONE Prepaid plans include Mexico/Canada at no additional charge.
- Mobile Hotspot Use: All T-Mobile direct plans include mobile hotspot use, and most of their resellers do as well.
- ONE Prepaid caps their hotspot data at 3G speeds at all times.
- Simply Prepaid customers can hotspot their entire (capped) data allotment full LTE speeds.
- Standalone Hotspot Option: Simply Prepaid offers capped data standalone hotspot plans. ONE Prepaid does not offer a standalone hotspot option.
- Data Roll Over: No data roll-over is offered with prepaid plans.
- Overage Charges: T-Mobile never charges overage fees. Once you hit your high speed data cap, you are just simply slowed down to 2G speeds for the rest of the billing period.
- Simply Prepaid plans do not include the unlimited video streaming of post paid plans, however they do include the data maximizer to reduce data usage while streaming video on partnered networks. Simply Prepaid (capped) users can opt out of data maximizer for free. Simply Prepaid (capped) plans include Music Unlimited which means that audio streaming doesn't count against your high speed data limit.
- ONE Prepaid customers are always subject to Data Maximizer (480p) restrictions. A daily ($3) pass can be purchased to enable HD video.
- Unlimited Data Plans: ONE Prepaid offers unlimited 4G LTE data on a smartphone/tablet. Unlimited mobile hotspot off of a device is at 3G speeds. Network management begins at 30GB.
- Device Lock/Unlock Policy: You can request a device unlock so long as the device on the requesting line has been active for more than one year on the T-Mobile network.
Testing Status: We do not keep a Simply Prepaid or One Prepaid T-Mobile plan.
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Simple Choice Prepaid Ratings
T-Mobile is the carrier to watch, and a worthwhile consideration as a secondary network for RVers. Their prepaid plans however don't include all the alluring perks of their postpaid options.