Overview: Postpaid Plans by T-Mobile (Cellular Data Plans)

T-Mobile has been the carrier to 'shake-up' the cellular industry in the past few years.

While their native coverage continues to lag behind that of Verizon and AT&T, an impending merger with Sprint promises greater coverage, for spectrum ownership and more speed in the future.

Currently, T-Mobile offers several postpaid plan options:

  • Essentials - for smartphones and tablets
  • ONE - for smartphones and tablets
  • ONE+ - for smartphones and tablets (includes 10GB of high speed mobile hotspot use)
  • 55+ - Same as plans above, but with a $20/line discount for those over 55
  • Tiered Data Only Plans - for mobile hotspot devices

For Our Comparative Pricing Grid:
Guide to Cellular Data Plan Pricing

 

Table of Contents


Unlimited Plans

In August 2016 T-Mobile launched the "all unlimited" ONE and ONE+ plans. In January of 2017, T-Mobile went 'all in' on unlimited plans - making them the only T-Mobile postpaid option available to new customers. In August 2017, T-Mobile added a senior unlimited plan with reduced pricing for account holders 55 years of age and older. In August 2018, T-Mobile added a stripped-down "Essentials" plan intended as a no-frills unlimited smartphone plan, and retired their ONE+International plan option.

Current Unlimited Plans

  • T-Mobile ONE+: $80/Single Line
    • ONE+ 'AMP UP' - smartphone and tablet plans include unlimited talk, text, and on device data. The '+ AMP UP' adds 20GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data to the ONE plan, then unlimited 3G speed mobile hotspot data. HD video is also permitted.
  • T-Mobile ONE: $70/Single Line
    • smartphone and tablet plans include unlimited talk, text, and on device data. Mobile hotspot data is unlimited at 3G speeds.
  • T-Mobile Essentials: $60/Single Line
    •  plan focuses on unlimited talk, text and smartphone on device data but cuts out many ONE plan perks - like high-speed international data, a free Netflix subscription and HD video.

Here are some of the most interesting policies and perks of the T-Mobile ONE+, ONE and Essentials plans:



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  • Talk and text: Unlimited on each line
  • Mobile Hotspot / Tethering:
    • T-Mobile ONE+: adds 20GB of high-speed mobile hotspot use, then unlimited mobile hotspot at 3G (512kbps) speeds. On-device data speeds are prioritized over mobile hotspot speeds, so on congested towers there may be a noticeable performance hit for mobile hotspot.
    • T-Mobile ONE: unlimited mobile hotspot at 3G (512kbps) speeds. On-device data speeds are prioritized over mobile hotspot speeds, so on congested towers there may be a noticeable performance hit for mobile hotspot.
    • Essentials customers can add 10GB of 4G LTE hotspot data for an additional cost.
  • Hotspot Device/Tablets:
    • Hotspot devices are not eligible to be added to any of T-Mobile's current Unlimited plans.
    • Tablets can be added to any unlimited plan for $20/line.
    • Tablets can be added as a singular device on a ONE plan (no other phone devices on the plan) for $75/month.
  • Network Management:
    •  ONE/+ plan customers who are in the top 3% of heaviest users on T-Mobile (currently those using 50GB/mo) are subject to network management once they have crossed this monthly threshold, which means that their ongoing usage will be slowed down relative to other T-Mobile customers - but only when towers are congested.
    • Essentials plans are always subject to network management.
  • Domestic Roaming Limits: After 200mb of domestic roaming data usage, T-Mobile cuts off roaming network usage until your next billing cycle, or until you're back in a native area on all plans.
  • Video Perks:
    • ONE/ONE+ plans with at least two lines are provided with a free basic Netflix account.
  • Video Streaming:
    • The base ONE plan and Essentials plan are restricted 480p video resolution.
    • However, upgrading to ONE+ (AMP UP) allows for full HD (1080p) resolution video streaming.
    • Canada & Mexico: While usage is still unlimited in these countries, video will be throttled down to 480p.
  • Taxes & Fees:
    • ONE/+ plans are flat priced and inclusive of taxes & fees.
    • Essentials plans do not include taxes & fees.
  • Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi:
    • ONE plans include one hour per flight of free Gogo access to get a smartphone online.
    • Those on ONE+ can add unlimited Gogo usage and a few other perks for an additional fee.
    • Adding Global Plus merits unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi.
  • International Roaming:
    • ONE/+
      • Mobile Without Borders - Canada & Mexico: All T-Mobile ONE plans can be used anywhere in Mexico & Canada just as if you were at home, including tethering! However, data usage is capped to just 5GB per month of combined usage in Canada and Mexico. And T-Mobile does reserve the right to enforce a policy that the plan needs to be used 'mostly' in the USA. Essentials plan only include 128 kbps speeds over the borders.
      • Simple Mobile - Rest of the World: T-Mobile ONE plans include free unlimited international text messaging, and free unlimited data in over 210 counties internationally at a slow (but useable) 128kbps speed. T-Mobile also has reasonable rates for voice calls too. Having ONE+ bumps you up to 256kbps speeds.
      • Global Plus - Can be added to a line for $50 add-on/month option and is available for customers on a postpaid T-Mobile One/One+ plan only. With Global Plus, customers get unlimited high-speed data on device while roaming in a Simple Global country and 5GB of high-speed tethering usage in Simple Global countries. Additional features include unlimited 4G LTE usage and unlimited 4G LTE mobile hotspot in Mexico and Canada, HD video streaming, and unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi.
      • Day Passes - T-Mobile offers $5 days passed for 24-hours of high-speed data use in their international roaming countries.
    • Essentials:
      • Unlimited talk, text, and 2G data in Mexico and Canada, plus unlimited texting and a flat rate calling price  n 210+ countries and destinations.

On August 10, 2018 rolled out the Essentials plan, and increased the price & hotspot use of ONE+. They also snuck in the retirement of ONE+ International.

Those who had ONE+International or ONE+ active as of 8/9/2018 are now grandfathered in under these terms:

  • ONE+ International (+$25/month on top of One): Unlimited 4G mobile hotspot use and not subject to the Canada/Mexico 5GB/mo cap. However, the carrier reserves the right to de-prioritize mobile hotspot use under on device use, and high data users who are primarily using the plan for tethering may be contacted by the carrier to discuss options (this seems to be an issue if you consistently consume more than 50GB of total data per month and over 50% of your usage is mobile hotspot). International use beyond North America is at 256k speeds, with $5 day passes available for high-speed use.
  • ONE+ (+$10/month) - This option included 10GB of high-speed mobile hotspot use per line and HD video.

Tiered Plans

in January 2017 T-Mobile retired its popular Simple Choice plans for new customers leaving the unlimited ONE plans or tiered data only plans as the only choice for new T-Mobile postpaid customers.

T-Mobile began phasing out Simple Choice plans in September 2016, and eliminated them in January 2017. However, they have gone on record that they will grandfather these plans for as long as customers keep paying their bill. These plans had tiered high-speed data caps, Binge On unlimited video streaming and Data Stash.

In particular, we regularly recommended the $35/month 6GB data only plan.

Here are some of the key features of this plan:

  • International: Binge On video streaming is not included outside the USA. Simple Choice customers can purchase pricey Data Passes for 3G international speeds for outside of North America.
  • Mobile Hotspot Use: T-Mobile plans include mobile hotspot use, however, they do prioritize on device data over tethered / mobile hotspot data on all smartphone and tablet plans when on congested towers.
  • Data Roll Over: Any high-speed data you don't use is rolled over into 'Data Stash' for up to a year. You can accumulate up to 20GB in this account, to use when you need it.
  • Overage Charges: T-Mobile never charges overage fees. Once you hit your high-speed data cap, you are simply slowed down to 2G speeds for the rest of the billing period.
  • Streaming:
    • Simple Choice - Binge On! All Simple Choice plans (postpaid) with 6GB of data or more include video streaming that does not count against your high-speed data cap on partnered networks (including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, YouTube, etc.), but at DVD-quality lower resolution. It officially only works on-device or when tethered to a laptop - but many have reported success using the service now with Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, FireTV, etc (be sure to carefully watch your data usage!)  They also include free music streaming over many services. (Note, their Prepaid plans do NOT include the video streaming.) Binge On usage does count towards network management thresholds and is subject to slower speeds for high usage customers when on congested towers after using 32GB of data in a month.

Data Only Plans

Hotspots & Connected Car Devices

For dedicated data devices, like hotspot devices and their connected car device, T-Mobile offers data plans in tiered data buckets. There is no unlimited data option for hotspot devices or connected car devices.



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  • Data buckets are available in 2GB - 22GB quanities.

Tablets

  • Can be activated as stand alone devices on ONE unlimited plans for $75/month. All ONE plan details apply to these lines.

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T-Mobile Postpaid Ratings
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Quick Take

T-Mobile is the carrier to watch, and a worthwhile consideration as a secondary network for RVers.

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