T-Mobile Launches Simple Choice “Data Only” Plans

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A lot of us hate old-school phone calls. Cherie long ago actually moved the "Phone" app off the front page of her iPhone, and has said she would delete it if she could.

Me - I keep the ringer off, and only answer incoming calls from a small handful of VIPs.

Text, iMessage, FaceTime, or Skype us. But phone calls... yuck!

For others who feel that way, T-Mobile on Wednesday quietly rolled out "Data Only" Simple Choice plans for smartphones that never actually get used to make a call.

The end result are cheaper plans for those who just don't need voice.

Save $30/mo by Ditching Voice

These plans are not actually new - they have been marketed to the deaf community for a while now. But starting March 30th, 2016 - T-Mobile has made these plans available to anyone who asks.

But you do have to ask - they are not available on T-Mobile's website, and most retail reps will probably not be familiar with them.

While certainly not for everyone, particularly for a secondary line these new plans are a pretty sweet deal - coming in at $30/mo less than the same sized smartphone plans with voice support.

Join the MIA

For RVers who want multiple carriers in their arsenal, this presents an easy way to activate a SIM card with T-Mobile for data that doesn't require also having a compatible data only device like a tablet or mobile hotspot. If you have a T-Mobile compatible unlocked smartphone you already use on another carrier, you can keep an activated SIM card ready to swap in when desired.

Here are the Data Only plan rates:

  • 2GB High Speed Data - $20/mo
  • 6GB High Speed Data - $35/mo
  • 10GB High Speed Data - $50/mo
  • 14GB High Speed Data - $65/mo
  • 18GB High Speed Data - $80/mo
  • 22GB High Speed Data - $95/mo

These Data-Only smartphone lines are priced the same as T-Mobile's Mobile Internet Plans for tablets and hotspots, and include the same data allotment - which can be used to USB tether or create a personal Wi-Fi hotspot.

While these plans do not include any voice minutes, they do include unlimited text messaging - which the Mobile Internet Plans do not include.

These plans also include all the typical T-Mobile features - Mobile Without Borders, Binge On (the unlimited video streaming component only available on 6GB of higher plans), Data Stash, Music Freedom, and the rest.

T-Mobile confirmed to us that indeed the only difference between a Mobile Internet plan (tablet and hotspot) and a Data Only smartphone plan is indeed the addition of text messaging capability.

What About Unlimited Data?

T-Mobile-TowerT-Mobile still offers unlimited data - but only with a voice plan.

The voice plans start at $50/mo for 2GB, go to 6GB for $65/mo, then 10GB for $80/mo. The next step up is unlimited data for $95/mo, but that "unlimited" data plan only supports 14GB/mo of tethering, and is subject to "network de-prioritization" after 25GB of usage.

For those focused on tethering - the new Data Only plans actually have bigger data buckets to tap into.

Key "Data Only" Questions:

  • What if you try to make a phone call? - The only phone number that you can call is 911. Any other attempts at a voice call (incoming or outgoing) will result in a spoken message indicating that there is no voice plan on the line. But of course, you can always make calls other ways - using Skype, Google Voice, or any other VOIP app of your choice.
  • Can you get the $10 discount? - If you have a voice line active with T-Mobile, you get $10/mo off any Mobile Internet plan you also have with T-Mobile, bringing the starting price down to just $10/mo. These new Data Only plans do NOT qualify for this discount - so if you have a voice line and can do without text messaging on your secondary line, you may be able to save $10/mo if you sign up with a tablet or hotspot and then just transfer the SIM into your data-only phone.

More Information about T-Mobile Plans:

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