T-Mobile SIM Card

T-Mobile just dropped one helluva big change on us, completely redesigning its plans and how it sells devices.

No matter how simple they are or how you explain them, there are bound to be questions left unanswered. We've been keeping an eye on the burning questions people are having regarding the changes, and done our best to answer them below. We implore you to first take a look at our full set of announcement posts from Tuesday, where we break down the gritty details of the different plans, as well as some device announcements and other details:

Still curious to know a little more about T-Mobile's new rate plans? Hang around after the break and see if we can clarify a few things.

1. Will I be required to sign a 2-year contract on T-Mobile anymore?

Nope! T-Mobile will not require a 2-year contract for its services anymore. At this moment, authorized resellers (think Best Buy and RadioShack) will still offer 2-year contract "Classic Plans," but T-Mobile's own stores and website will not even offer the option.

2. How are family plans done in the new system?

The plan system for accounts with multiple lines is nearly identical to that of individual lines. The base cost of the first line on an account is $50, which gets you unlimited talk, text and data -- the first 500 megabytes of which is at full speed. The second line is $30 additional, for the same services. Each line thereafter is $10 more, also coming with the same talk, text and 500MB of full speed data.

Each line can be given an additional 2GB of data (for 2.5GB in total) for $10 per month per line. $10 more (per month per line) after that will offer you unlimited data on each line. If you would like more data, including hotspot usage, you can add 2GB of data per month at the rate of $10 to any line.

3. Wait ... so it's unlimited, but there's a limit on tethering?

The only place where the plans really get more complicated is when it comes to unlimited data and tethering. First let's talk about the tiered prices -- for any plan other than the $70 unlimited plan, hotspot and tethering are included. So for example if you have paid $20 extra for 4.5GB of data per month, you can tether with all of it.

On the $70 unlimited plan, there is only 500MB of tethering included. Additional buckets of tethering-available data can be purchased at the same rate as any other data -- $10 per 2GB. Ya, it's annoying, but it's also the only way T-Mobile can likely offer an unthrottled unlimited plan for $70 per month. We'll hope they budge a bit more on this going forward, but the prices aren't ulcer-inducing by any means.

4. Can I add a tablet to my plan? Does it share data with my other devices?

Tablets can now be added to a plan as if they were any other device, and have their own data allotment. When adding a tablet, hotspot, laptop or data stick to an account that already has a phone on it, the initial charge will be $10 and include 500MB of high speed data. The same data tiers apply as with the phones -- $10 per 2GB, up to 12.5GB total. There is currently no unlimited data option for tablet, hotspot, laptop or data stick devices.

5. Will I have to pay full retail for my device if I move to T-Mobile now?

With a move to the new Simple Choice no-contract plans, T-Mobile is differentiating between the cost of the plan and the cost of the phone. This means that if you would like to bring your own phone, or buy one from T-Mobile at full retail price, you will pay the regular rates mentioned above. If you would prefer to have a lower up-front cost but still have a new device, you can buy a phone on an installment plan.

The installment plans consist of a "down payment" and 24 even monthly installments thereafter, with no interest. For example, a new high-end device may set you back $99 down, and 24 payments of $20 -- or $579 in total. The amount of the down payment and installments will differ based on device, but we can expect prices similar to this example. The final purchase price of the phone should be nearly identical to the price if you were to purchase it up-front.

Again the installment plan you have for your phone is not tied to your service plan, so you can pay off your phone at any time and leave, regardless of how far into your service you are.

6. Will the phones bought from T-Mobile be SIM unlocked?

Like most carriers, T-Mobile will keep its devices SIM locked to its network by default if they are purchased on an installment plan. Save for a few cases (the iPhone 5 is expected to be unlocked) you should expect each device to come out of the box locked -- to be unlocked when you finish paying off the installment plan or if you are in good standing and traveling abroad.

7. Are there separate plans or charges for LTE devices?

Nope! T-Mobile is not distinguishing between plans and prices if you have an LTE device or not. This is a good thing! (The first LTE-capable devices on T-Mobile are the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy 4 and Galaxy Note 2 and the BlackBerry Z10.)

8. If I have an LTE device, where can I expect to see the new network?

T-Mobile has officially announced that Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, Calif. and Washington, D.C. are the up and running now, with many more to come this year.

9. What additional features are included with Simple Choice plans?

  • Call Forwarding (a big one for Google Voice users)
  • Call holding, call waiting
  • Caller ID
  • Customer Care (T-Mobile is well known for their CS)
  • Voicemail
  • Directory Assistance

10. I keep hearing about 1900MHz Deployment, should I care?

In order to make room for its LTE network deployment on AWS (that's 1700/2100MHz), T-Mobile has been moving its HSPA+ service over to the 1900MHz frequency. The reason why you may have heard about it is because this move gives interoperability with current AT&T (and most international) handsets for HSPA+ service. The move to 1900MHz is an important one only if you're interested in bringing a device to T-Mobile that doesn't support AWS.

The move has already taken place in dozens of major markets, and will continue as T-Mobile rolls out more locations with LTE. If you're buying a phone from T-Mobile, or another AWS-compatible device like the Nexus 4 from Google, you don't need to worry about your market having 1900MHz HSPA+.

Now we honestly don't think that we've answered every question on your minds, but hopefully we've hit the big ones. If you have some more specific questions to ask, we'll be continuing that discussion in the forums:

Ask and answer T-Mobile plan questions in the forums!


Reader comments

T-Mobile's new plans: Ten frequently asked questions


In the Houston TX the coverage is plain awful. That is the only reason I will not leave Verizon for them. I really like the new model T-Mobile has but the coverage is a deal breaker.

Don't know what part of Houston your in but I haven't had any real issues anywhere but inside buildings downtown where everything but Verizon gets blocked by all the steel and even the Verizon signal is pretty weak.

I left TMO for Verizon back when there were talks of AT&T acquiring them. The phone reception worked fine, I could always make/receive a call. My complaint was the data connection of the HSPA+. I would regularly have to switch to a WIFI network when ever possible, b/c the HSPA+ would never work. It worked fine when it could maintain the data connection, but mostly it would be running on their 2G...that's not a typo, not 3g but 2g.

I've been happy w/my Verizon LTE & grandfathered unlimited data plan ever since. Only complaint w/Verizon is how much they charge.

Although it may vary, Coverage in my area is mostly Phenomenal. It's strong everywhere that "I" go regularly with Fast Speeds(20-29Mbps HSPA+42) and never a dropped call. They've improved dramatically and if you live in a major city, chances are your coverage is a lot better than it was 5 years ago even although I agree that if you live in BFE sticks countryside area it'd probably be better to go with Verizon. I have been with T-Mobile since the Voicestream days(2000), and I can honestly say that it has improved leaps and bounds even besides all the corporate drama they've been through recently. They now have a rock solid plan that they're truly sticking with, and I've never felt more confident in their direction as I am at this moment.

I have been with them since Voicestream as well...and things have definitely improved by leaps and bounds. Could still use some improvements in coverage in my area...but where "I" go tends to mostly be out in the woods...so can't really complain too much.

voicestream alumni checking in here too... my tmo G2X got stolen and i had to make the decision to kill my line since i have a sprint work GS3... but i can tell you my wife's GS3 on tmo gets way better coverage than mine WAYY out here in the westernmost part of St. Louis County... her phone gets long battery life and great data speeds while my battery dies FAST, phone gets too hot to hold, and all because of that weak sprint signal out here.. wish i was still on tmo.. but i cant carry 2 phones anymore.. was such a pain... and now i moonlight for sprint retail at night.. so i cant walk in with a tmo phone.. (but i secretly still love them!)... of the 13 years i had a line with them, the coverage was amazing here in st. louis and i NEVER had a dropped call... super fast data... great customer service... and most of all, best price around...

Dude, it's blatantly obvious that T-Mobile isn't for you. However, trolling each article related to T-Mobile is absolutely retarded. Those of us that use T-Mobile know what caveats apply. You saying it sucks means nothing and helps no one. Get Sprint's c**k out of your mouth, for once.

TMO coverage doesn't suck, nor is it perfect. I do find spots where I get little to no coverage which is only short distances from where I get great speeds. It doesn't have the consistancy of AT&T but where it does its far faster. I have my Nexus 4 on TMO unlimited $70 plan and find it a great value. I do have a family plan on AT&T and have little complaints with them. Case in point, I get around 3 down consistantly everywhere with them. With TMO its 2 to 3 times faster. In a few regular places I go, I get nothing or dropped to gprs. One exception is when I travel to Philadelphia and the Cherry Hill area, LTE speeds are fantastic.

I still find these new plans somewhat confusing, I read here I get 500mb tethering included with my plan, which for the most part is all I need for the few times I have no WIFI access. Then when I go to TMO's website, it says no WIFI tethering, could be it hasn't been implimented yet, or they didn't update their url as of yet. Never understood fanboism, no matter the situation. I just buy or use what works. Could careless the carrier, phone os, or brand.

I discovered on my Nexus 4 that if you use the built in function on the phone they have no way of knowing you are tethering. If you get a phone from t-mobs it has their app built in (like every other carrier) and therefor makes you pay. I've been on the $70 dollar unlimited pre-paid plan and have been fine with it.

In "major cities"? Maybe. That depends entirely on which city(ies) specifically, what areas, and what time of day. Also, you should preface all this with "It is my experience that ...". It is not a fact that T-Mobile is "better" than Verizon, for the above mentioned reason. Period. Just another stupid fanboy too blind to see past his own hubris.
Oh, and we can't forget the fact that, according to you, whatever carrier you're currently signed up with at the time of your writing is "the best". A year ago, you were saying how "pimp slapping" Verizon was, and not even 8 months before that were saying how Sprint was "the boss" and that Verizon was "shitty". What a moron.

That is so untrue..I've toured the US and we had Verizon/AT&T and T-Mobile users (and one Cricket)...T-M0bile scored highest, beating out Verizon and AT and T..Cricket was not very useful outside major cities or on the highway...

Wow... So great.

The cheapest plan will cut your legs from under you after 500mbs?

How is that a great deal? Is Verizon the only company that doesn't throttle?

For some people, these plans will be okay. But I'm sticking to my slightly more expensive Verizon plan. I'll keep my almost nationwide LTE speeds with no slow downs.

I don't think people are actively aware of how much data they use. If you don't stream something like HBOgo and are a "regular" internet user...it's tough to use more than a couple of GB's.

I use my phone as my car radio with pandora - 40-50 hours/month at least. I tether sometimes when nothing else is available. I purposely keep my wifi off just to bump up my cell data usage (cause I like to stick it to the man I suppose).

I still have trouble crossing even the 3GB line. The only people who are really using many GB's of data are either using their phones as dedicated internet connections at home or are watching hours of streaming video/month.

I am in IT and definitely agree with the "don't call it unlimited unless it really is" thing - but it's just marketing at this point.

Because you don't have any Internet access other than through your mobile data plan or the free wifi at your local McDonalds.

You can add 2GB for 10 dollars a month. My family's usage case piles up to 3 smartphones +6GB pool of data = $200. T-Mo? 2.5GB/line + 3 phones = $120. Add $60 if I decide to pay phone price over time, but even then it's $20 cheaper/month + $100 per phone since down payment's only $99. That amounts to 20x24+300 = $780 saved. Both include tethering, but for T-Mo, there are technically no overages, though you'll get throttled to EDGE. Verizon? $15/gig. If you have pretty good HSPA+42 coverage and you want to have nice phones, T-Mo's deal is certainly enticing.

Except, for the big 3 you can get a new device after 18 months, so if you want to replace your phone earlier, it is still cheaper to do it on ATT or Verizon.

Changing to 36 months of calculation (2 18-month upgrade cycles) Assuming that there are 3 top-tier smartphones, my usage case costs 2(200*3)+200*36 = $8400 on Verizon (that's two upgrades and 36 months of usage) versus 2(580*3)+120*36 = $7800. Individual line? 200*2+100*36 = $4000 versus 580*2+60*36 = $3320. So no, it's not cheaper on the Big Three. Where did you even hear that?

Okay, here is some math for those that use alot of data on their phones, and still use wifi where possible. Verizon: 2 top tier phones $400 (199.99 a piece)+line access for those two phones $80 + 6 gigs of data to share $80 multiply by 20 (that's verizon's upgrade cycle, not 18) = $3600
T-Mobile: 2 Nexus 4's 700 (16 gig) + 50 for first line +30 for second +40 for unlimited data on both lines and multiply by 20 months (keep things even) = $3100
Appears that t-mobile is a better value for those in HSPA+ or LTE markets.
When I was on verizon I would constantly break that 6 gig barrier between two lines, and I used wifi at home (couldn't at work, bandwidth too limited)on streaming I did was spotify during my 30 minute roundtrip work commute 4 times a week, and web access during a work break

You obviously don't understand the new Tmo model. With Tmo, you can get a new phone every month if you want. Just sell the old one and buy the new one. There is no contract to hold you back. Good luck with that on your big 3 "model". The 18 month "possible" update is a thing of the past. You can also change plans whenever you want. I repeat, there is no contract. You're simply paying for your phone. Buy it outright. It's yours and you can have great service and LTE with no contract. Then if you're not happy change. There is nothing holding you back.

You can do that on the big three as well, just sell your brand new phone and buy something else. The only thing locking you in is that 2 year contract, but that's only for your plan, not your phone.

Yes, the cheapest plan throttles, you did indeed read that correctly. Congratulations. The cheapest plan also has unlimited data, something Verizon doesn't offer regardless how much money you offer to feed them with. You realize for $70/month you have unlimited talk, text, and 4G data, right? That's well beyond anything Verizon offers and you would be blind not to notice this. It's $30/40 per month with VZW just to for the right to own a smartphone!

Come on, guy, pay attention.

Hooray! Unlimited data at the blistering speed of Edge!!!

You need to pay attention.

I can't speak for no one else, but I'd rather have LTE for 2GB of data than 'unlimited' at Edge speeds.

People get so excited about unlimited data, but it's only useful if you don't get choked... T mobile throttles if you exceed their limit or makes you buy more data.

These plans give an appearance of being better but really add little value for people who travel alot or need fast speeds.

T mobiles coverage sucks outside of metropolitan areas, so for me, it's a no go. I want secure data where ever I may go and T Mobile simply doesn't provide that.

Ask the millions of people who can't get their service simply because T Mobile hasn't bothered to boarding their reach.

Maybe it has something to do with their bleeding customers annually...

It's unlimited 4G for $70 a month with no contract. Not sure why you keep referencing EDGE. That 2gb of LTE you speak of (assuming Verizon) would be 2.5gb and only be $60 with Tmobile before throttling down to EDGE. Verizon, is $60 just for data. Another $40 for talk and text so $100 total. So for $30 cheaper you could have unlimited everything (including 4G) with Tmobile. Aside with a few pre-paid carriers like MetroPCS, I don't know anyone who can compete with these new prices. As far as coverage goes, if it works where you need it then great. If not then choose someone else.

the $70 Truly Unlimited Nationwide plan without tethering is completely full speed unlimited with no caps or throttling. It's only the tiered plans w/ Tethering that includes Hotspot that throttle you after your chosen Full speed amount.

The difference between the carriers is that while Verizon doesn't throttle, on Verizon you get a data cap (2GB), and if you go over, you get charged by-the-megabyte. That can be extremely expensive, and I think is actually worse than just a throttle with no extra charge.
On T-Mobile you get the amount of data you paid for, (500MB, 2.5GB, or unlimited) and you get full speed up to that amount (just like Verizon). The difference is that if you go over, you don't get charged. Your plan just slows down. That seems like a pretty fair deal, since you only paid for a certain amount of unthrottled data.
The speeds are the same, but the consequence of going over the data cap is different. Verizon takes your money, T-Mobile makes you wait a little longer. I know which one I prefer.

Neither sprint nor Tmobile will throttle you provided you pick the right plan. If we look at sprint they offer the simply data plan for 70 dollars which offers unthrottled data but doesn't not offer unlimited talk. With Tmobile you can opt for the nationwide unlimited 4g for 70 dollars which does include unlimited talk and both of these plans offer truly unlimited data for 30-50dollars less than 4gb capped data with potential overages on Verizon. I don't know about you but Tmobile is definitely the better choice, at least price wise.

Well, to be fair, Sprint's $70 "Simply Everything" plan offers 1500 anytime minutes and unlimited mobile-to mobile, both of which are more than adequate for the average user.

Still, unlimited everything on T-Mobile for $70 is a sweet deal.

but it is 2 phones for 130$ so $70 is still right for Sprint. The 3rd and 4th brings the cost down more.

with three phones we never go over the 1500 minute limited and I roll through data like no one else.

I am also one of the lucky ones with LTE on sprint so it was a no brainer to leave verizon

You forgot to mention that on Sprint, if you have a smartphone, you will have to add $10 for the "premium" data charge. Also, if you're a newer customer, then you add $5/month for the Spending limit program that you're automatically enrolled into. So that $70 has now turned into $85/month for Sprint.

Verizon cannot throttle LTE due to the agreement with the government for the spectrum. The exact reason why the got rid of unlimited and made it hard to keep it.

"How is that a great deal?"

How is that NOT a great deal? $70 for unlimited EVERYTHING with 4G LTE and DC-HSPA+ data on T-Mobile is cheaper than anything Verizon offers.

Verizon's cheapest option is their "Share Everything" plan. This would cost:

$40 for your smartphone, with unlimited talk & text
$50 for ONE GB OF DATA

That's $90 for 1GB of data compared to UNLIMITED data on T-Mobile, with no throttling. Even if you add in the monthly cost for a new One, GS4 or iPhone 5 you still come out way better on T-Mobile. It's pointless to even bring up the increasing cost of Verizon's larger data buckets.

Verizon does still offer individual plans. They just don't have it on the website.

I upgraded to a Moto RAZR HD on Black Friday last year, and my plan stayed the same ($30 for data) except for the fact that the data went from unlimited to 2GB(crappy, I know. But as it turns out, I barely use 1 GB/month, and that's really trying).

If T-Mobile got better service where I am (Berks County, PA), I'd go with them in a second. Anybody in the Southeastern PA area that has experience with T-Mobile?

I totally get these plans but T-mobile has a huge image problemto overcome. WWhenever people ask who my carrier is and I say T-mobile I get weird and dirty looks (and they have good coverage in my area.

Yeah I don't get that - I live in NYC, in a dense metro area like this your choice of carrier should have nothing to do with "coverage" as all phones work nearly everywhere here (admittedly VZ does have the "best" coverage...there will be dark spots for all carriers somewhere though - at the crowne plaza times square for instance - AT&T works on one side of the building and not the other and Tmo is the opposite).

Yes if you travel a lot and are often off the beaten path I might pass up T-mo, but other than that it's fine.

True, but that is the cost any company has to pay doing business in America. We are more brand and status conscious than just about any other country. Look how long it took people to realize Hyundai actually makes solid cars now, and that companies like Sony and Bose often make overpriced crap? T-Mobile may not have great reception in the boonies, but in cities and towns they generally have great service.

Regarding this 500mb stuff,...umm, isn't that the same as NOTHING?!?!?!?!?!?
That rate plan should be more like $35, or $40. Pay less, and get, well 500 mb's so pay less, get nothing.

If you have wifi at home and/or anywhere you travel, frequent, or work, then 500mb can be plenty. When I had the Walmart Family Mobile plan, I was getting by with only 250mb. Opera Mini FTW!!!

I origionally left T-Mobile because of the coverage were I live.I like what they are trying to do,but there should not be any throdilling. They still are expensive,more that MetroPCS.

doesn't require a 2 year contract yet you have to have one kind of to get a phone at finance level price.. aka STILL A DAMN CONTRACT. and guess what? its the same to buy out as it is to buy out of a contract. God you people are stupid.

Then just pay the full price for your phone. The point of UnCarrier is to separate the phone price and the service fee more explicitly, so BYOP actually makes sense in the system. If you bring your phone to AT&T, you're still paying a higher bill that is designed with a 2-yaer contract in mind, so you're technically paying for a phone that you didn't buy. Even if you just pay full price for your iPhone 5, AT&T will still charge you the suppposed phone price for 2 years. With T-Mo, it makes much more sense to just pay full price for your phone. After one year, you can sell your unlocked phone while it still has more monetary value. Or you could buy the super-cheap Nexus 4 and save a few hundred dollars. The current "Down payment" thing is more of a transition step for people who will get kind of hit in the face with prices like $579, which is why it can look like a 2-year contract and actually does resemble parts of them.

aka do what you can to any other carrier. Most people cant afford to pay full price. Still a contract in the end and still as someone else put it "smoke and mirrors"

But it's a contract simply to pay for a phone they give you. What you're paying for is obvious. I saw it described somewhere else as a 2-year interest-free loan from T-Mobile to you. That's actually a pretty sweet deal, especially if you take future value into effect.

It is not a contract in the traditional sense. Take Verizon for example. I buy a magically universal iPhone 5 unlocked from Ebay for $700. For Verizon, 2 gigs of data = $100/month. T-mo? 2.5 gig = $60/month. Verizon's plans already include the supposed subsidy price, T-Mo's doesn't. You can decide to pay off the rest of the phone price ANYTIME you want. So if you define that as a contract, it's one that's much more in YOUR terms, allowing you to choose how soon or in what method you want to pay off the phone price (after all, Android is also all about choice), and one that's much more independent from the plan price than the other carriers', which is not at all "smoke ans mirrors" if you get what T-Mo's doing.

Does Verizon lower your cell phone bill when you're done paying off the price of the phone?

And there's the difference in separating the contract for the phone from the cost of the service.

So, pick another carrier and be done with it. No one here is going to lose sleep because of your hatred for T-Mobile.

It's not really a contract, it's an obligation. You finance a phone, you're expected to pay it off. Same goes for buying cars or buying anything with a credit card - you need to pay for the goods you received up front. The difference, as TheCube pointed out, is that you can pay the balance for your phone any time you want and then walk away. On other carriers you can still pay off your phone anytime you want I suppose, but if you do you can not walk away until your contract is up.

It is just an interest free loan at this point. Pay it off whenever you'd like, either all at once or drag it out for a whole 24 months. Beats the others carriers in that you aren't locked into it for 24 months (realistically 18months, but I don't think the majority of the public knows their upgrade resets in 18 months).

Actually, what T-Mobile is doing is right out in the open: the costs of the phone and plan are now separate. This is the exact opposite of what other carriers in America do. If anything, they are dispensing with the "smoke and mirrors" that other major carriers are using to hide the fact they are making you pay for a phone, whether or not you buy one from them on contract or not (or if your contract has actually expired).

First off, you're a tool. Second, you could buy a nexus 4 from Google for $300-$350 and not be locked down. The pricing of the nexus 4 is unbelievable to me.

Maybe you're still having a hard time understanding this new concept. Yes it is a contract of sorts but that is only solidifying an agreement that you will pay off the phone if you opt for the installment plan. Now if you decide that you want to just leave and you are on an installment plan of course you cannot expect to just run out on a phone that isn't fully paid for correct? Which is why that contract or agreement is in place. If you have paid the phone in full you can leave Tmobile at any point in time without paying an etf. So it isn't at all like traditional contracts where you are tied to both the phone and service, now you're just tied to the responsibility of paying off the money you own for the phone. I hope that further clarifies things for you.

Your argument fell flat, as soon as you called us all stupid. How exactly are we stupid for wanting a change in the way we purchase phones and service?

The contract is as long as it takes to pay off the phone. Could be 2 months or 24 months, there is just a minimum payment every month for 24 months or phone is paid off first. Stupid? Why? Because I can pay off a phone in 6 months and upgrade, and then take that phone to Straight Talk and activate it if I am in poor coverage for a couple weeks where TMO isn't, then switch it back? Or how about this tactic boy genius...Go to Best Buy Mobile and use your BB card and finance for 6 months no interest. Unlocked out the door/no contract, and then its up to you how want to manage your financing. Yep, keep your AT&T or VZW or Sprint phone and complain when that new phone comes out and you still have a year left on your contract. God I hate being so stupid.

Nope, you're the stupid one. It's NOT the same to buy out like it was previously. The early termination fee doesn't exist anymore. You can cancel your service with Tmobile and just finish paying off your phone. There is no fee. You could have paid up front for your phone and then when you cancel, there is no ETF. Try that with one of the other 3 big guys. You ARE under contract with them.
Let's put it another way. You find a new job and you need a car to get to work. So you buy a car on installment payments (like Tmo's phone) so you can drive to work. However, you decide you don't like your job and you quit. Do you get to stop making your car payments? Nope... same with Tmo's phone (make your payments). If you want, sell the phone and use the money to pay off Tmo. Then you're done. The best part though is Tmo doesn't charge any interest like other payment plans. So next time, before you make an incorrect assumption and statement, read up on the facts first.

Absolutely terrific way of putting it. I have no idea why it's so difficult for certain people to grasp the benefits of such a simple concept. They all just want something for nothing and T-Mobile has a right to protect themselves from people running off with an $500 device for $99.

Thats great and all, but you're still paying off the rest of the phone to leave the service. Tmobile says on their website that when "you cancel service, the additional balance on the phone becomes due."
How the hell is that different from an etf?

We should all call Verizon, ATT, and Sprint, and demand an answer as to WHY they won't offer 20-month payment plans like T-Mobile (Question #5), not everybody has $600-$700 just laying around. Us U.S. customers need some drastic change in our wireless carriers!!!

Hopefully T-Mobile will force some industry change!!!

They do its just hidden as part of your monthly bill. You get your phone cheaper initially because they factor in the rest of the cost over your 2 years your locked into them dude. Everybody on every plan is going to pay the full price for a phone. T-Mobile just puts it out front now.

True but even if you finance the phone with Tmo your bill still goes up to about $90 per month for unlimited everything. That's not bad. After your phone is paid off it drops back down to $70. Try asking other carriers to drop the price after two years. Or letting you bring your own phone for less per month. Nope. Just buy another phone and lock yourself in again... I like this move. Seriously thinking about a Nexus 4 and switching over.

So in reality the main cost benefit with the new tmo plans are after you've paid off the phone and the mo thly cost goes down.

Question: how many people actually keep the same phone after two years..

We're talking about postpaid plans here. MVNO Prepaid will always be a better deal than postpaid, there's no debate there. It's simply that there's not a lot of choice for phones if you decide to go the prepaid route save for unlocked phones on Ebay or Nexus phones.

got ya. it's hard to keep T-Mobile's plans straight with all of the constant name changes, machinations, and permutations.

i'm waiting for my Sprint contract to end next year. Sprint gives me a good value at $74/month after all fees/taxes/discounts but it still can't touch the value/freedom/updates of Straight Talk + Nexus.

Sorry, but its not better, not that is worse. Straight Talk does throttling. This article already high lighted all the extra things you get with T-Mobile (included better customer service than Straight Talk). You get wider roaming, faster speed (higher priority in cell towers connection), call forwarding (for google voice), and of course monthly payment for buying phones. Also Straight Talk do not allow tethering (regardless the fact if you know how to get around it). Straight Talk plan is a good deal, but it doesn't have all the benefit for those who might need them.

1. i don't care about throttling - i don't go over 2GB a month.
2. i don't care about customer service. it's all web based. just need minimum.
3. 3G is fast enough for me.
4. ST AT&T offers CCF.
5. i don't care about tethering.

above probably applies to 99% of the population of the free world.

don't be a dummy - save the money.

I am encountering difficulty determining the towers, radio frequencies, Straight Talk uses and if they provide 4G LTE or 4G Wimax. And since Straight Talk is using another carriers infrastructure, is Straight Talk given lower priority somehow?

Also what about Virgin, Boost, and Cricket? It would be nice if a single Website like Consumer Reports or a Mobile Phone Magazine consolidated all this information in easy to evaluate and differentiate tables with pros and cons.

The data pricing sucks, I stream music everyday and hit the net quite a bit, I use up to 10gb every month. (New bill in 3 days and I'm hitting 9gb) I'd have to pay quite a bit more to get the amount of data I need (at optimal speeds) I have the true unlimited 4G right now. I guess I will be paying the full cost of the phone outright if need be since they told me I don't qualify for an installment plan unless I switch to their new value plans.

The 'truly unlimited' Tmobile plan is the third tier plan. It comes with 500 MB of tethering as well. That is the cheapest postpaid unlimited plan there is.

If I bring a Nexus device to T-Mobile, can I just tether using all data available without worrying about additional tethering fees?

Yes, on the tiered plans up to which ever Limit you choose. (i.e. 2GB..4GB...6GB...) The Truly Unlimited plan is truly Unlimited no throttling no caps for Smartphone data Only but you can add 2GB increments of tethering in addition for $10 each.

I've been wondering the same thing. I've been tethering in emergency situations, but have not yet hit 500 MB limit (I'm on the unlimited $70 plan).

Guess I'll wait and see...

From what I have heard, if you purchase the Google Play unlocked Nexus 4 they can't track the tethering because of the IMEI. But if you purchase the one TMO offers in store/website, they can track the tethering on that one because it's specific to TMO and they can monitor the IMEI.

This is true, although they can detect your web browser's user string and block the browser. Whether you want to go with this path is up to you, but I think carriers should let user do what they want with data they (over)pay for.

ok i already have the unlimited plan what if i want to add an other line how much more would cost me? an other 30.00? and will it also be unlimited?

I left T-Mobile recently due to the tethering latency on HPSA+. 1000ms pings are crap when interacting with a remote ssh terminal. What are they using, satellite tech? Other than that, I prefer everything about T-Mobile over Verizon. I recently stopped by to check out the nexus 4 and blackberry z10, but I was unable to check latency with speed test so I walked out.

I wish I could go to t-mobile however, I can't afford a smartphone there lol. Minimum cost to me to open two lines with s3.... 500 bucks. I'm nit in a position to do that right now.(I don't qualify for their good pricing.)

Now what I've I had a rooted phone. Would that allow me to get unlimited tethering with the unlimited plan? I know that rooted tethering apps don't get recorded as a tethering app. At that is the case on Sprint.

I especially liked the comment about T-Mobile being "well known" for their Customer Service!


In fairness, he didn't state whether it was well known for good or bad service... and in retrospect, until the debacle of ATT trying to buy Tmobile, Tmobile's customer service had won the JD Powers award for best customer service for many years. It was only during the ATT buyout thing that Tmo's CS went downhill. It is on the way back now.

Hmm. Kind of weird. Looks like T-Mobile raised prices slightly. When the plans were first released (before the big event), it was $110/mo for 3 lines 2.5GB data each. Now, it's $120. Good thing I changed my plan then. I still wish they kept the 1,000 minute option for $90/mo for 3 lines 2GB ea since I don't talk much in the daytime. Oh well.. $7 more/line gets us unlimited talk and tetherng. So I can't complain too much. I ETF'd out of ATT to join T-Mo, and I will still make up that loss in less than a year

I think its more expensive than their previous Value Package which was awesome because you can get really good price and bring your own phone (despite still having to sign a contract, but the low cost was worth it), and you can exclude text or data if you don't need them for even better price. This new plan definitely cost more, but its still competitive vs other contract plans.

That's a contract for the financing of the phone, not for service. That's like me buying a car that comes with Sirius for free for 6 months. I still have to pay for the car, but I can drop Sirius whenever I want. It's a zero percent interest loan for 24 months or if paid in full earlier. That's why the bill shows the service and the phone financing seperate. Why is this so complicated?

From the article:
"However, customers who buy a new device on an installment plan do need to sign a contract binding them to T-Mobile for as long as they’re still making payments on the phone."

Using your analogy, this would be like being contractually obligated to renew your subscription to Sirius until your car is paid off.

Unless the article I posted is mistaken, this could cost you even more than a standard ETF if you decided after a year that you aren't happy with T-Mobile.

Absolutely they SHOULD make people sign an agreement to Purchase the phone, otherwise people would try to run off with a phone for $99 and leave T-Mobile to eat up the full cost of the device($500-$800). They have to protect themselves from people basically "stealing" new devices from them. There is Absolutely no Contract for their service, which is what they advertise. Don't want to do that, buy the device outright. I'm so sick of people whining about this just because they want expensive devices for free.

And I absolutely agree with you, there should be an agreement for financing a phone, or anything else. All I'm saying is that for somebody who wants to leave T-Mobile after a few months or a year, they could actually be out more money compared to other carriers with traditional ETFs.

Just pay off the phone and leave. You are not in a contract for the full 24 months only until the phone is paid off. You are allowed to make extra payments or pay the phone in full at any time.

I've had Tmobile for several years now. 2 phones on a family plan. 1 with unlimited data & 1 without any data. My contract is up on June 25th and had planned on switching to Verizon because there wasn't that big of a difference in plan price. Now that Tmobile has come out with these plans, they are way cheaper than the plan I was looking for on Verizon. I called this morning to ask Tmobile customer service if I had to wait til June to go the the new non-contract plans. She said heck no.She even backdated it to take affect immediately. She changed my plan. Saved me $30 a month. I have 2.5 gb and my wife has 500mb.I have wifi at home & the work place. I still have my hotspot. I am waiting on the HTC One phone and will probably stay with Tmobile. Maybe they can force the other carriers to do away with contracts or lower their prices. Good for them & me.

Unlimited = No throttling at T-Mobile. I used over 29GB one month and I didn't even get so much as a warning sms or an email like crappy AT&T sent me. You can keep your subsidized phones with overpriced plans, overages and throttling.

This would be a great idea if you had your own phone you wanted to use or don't mind buying a phone outright for the savings. However, like most consumers who sign up for plans, most want to pay no more than $199 for a phone. Say I got a 5 line plan with 2gb data. That's $160 a month. Dirt cheap! Then I want 5 Nexus 4's. That's $49.99 x5 downpayment for a total of $250. Then, tack $17 on per line each month. $17x5 equals another $85 per month. Your now up to about $250 per month! Very close to what Verizon charges for a similar plan. The big advantage I see is the no contract and being able to get a new phone more frequently without having to pay full retail if you don't want to. I'm sure it will be great for some but not for others.

Well then pay $100, or $150, or even $199 down and cut your installments down drastically. You don't have to pay just the $49, it is just the minimum you need to get on the installment plan.

Anyone know if the family plan prices include taxes or if its extra? If it doesn't include taxes, I might have to get some friends and family to go in on the plan with me.

T-Mobile, with the nation's largest 2G network. Yep, the article failed to mention that 4G is as scarce as a two dollar bill and 3G as scarce as a three dollar bill (yes, I know there isn't a three dollar bill, but T-Mobile doesn't have any 3G either).

I almost fell out of my chair laughing at the statement that "T-Mobile is known for its customer care." I suppose that's why it consistently ranks last among all carriers in customer service in every survey. Call customer care and nine times out of ten you won't even get anybody who speaks English.

I wonder how much T-Mobile paid to have this ad, I mean, article published?

I've never had an issue with Tmobile customer care. I know everyone's situation is different but, I sometime wonder were some of you get your information. Customer service has improved greatly on all the carriers I dealt with and I think it's because of Tmobile.

I've been on At&t, Verizon and currently with Tmobile. I really like the new way they are doing this. I pay for my phones up front anyway so it doesn't bother me.

I have the truly unlimited plan offered last year. I tried out one of the newer plans and realized what I have was better for me. I called Tmobile and they allowed me to switch back to the other plan. I must say I did this all in the same day but was glad they let me switch back.

I think they need to emphasize that on "family plans" the data is per phone and I think each phone can have a different level of data. Many people have one person that needs more data than the others. It was unclear for me at first if they were shared data or individual data plans.

iMore had a good article showing the comparisons of the costs on different providers. They should update it for generic smartphone and run it on the other sites.

For $50.
2.5GB for $60.
Unlimited for $70.
Monthly payment on the phone is $15 to $25 depending on the phone until it is paid off.

Why is this so difficult for people to understand?

People don't understand that tethering/hotspot service isn't meant to be a home internet replacement.

Deal with it.

to those of you complaining about the awful service where you live i have a solution. Move
Is that unreasonable for you? then your only other option is to shut up and stay with what ever service you have. a company cannot just start opening new markets without a high chance people will use it. they probably ran surveys and things of the sort to find out what market to reach to next. you aren't one of them o'well. i live in nyc with my nexus 4 and pay 60 bucks its great to me. calls always go thru worst is slower data in some areas i go. its not that big a deal

I think people are confusing something here. It's unlimited data with 500MB TETHERING. They don't throttle you after 500MB of data. It's just that you have to pay extra for TETHERING data. If you don't tether, you're good to go.

$70 sounds pretty sexy to me, even without the phone subsidy(I'd deal with it)...I'm paying close to $95 on VZW, and that's WITH a 20% access discount...and only 2GB of data. Unfortunately, noone lets you have a plan with just data/messaging(I may use 5 voice minutes a month, but I'm not hearing impaired so I'm stuck with it). That would be SUPER cheap.

T-Mobile still has the $30 plan that allows you to have only 100 talk minutes but unlimited text and 5gb's of high speed data.

Do a Google search for the $30 T-Mobile unlimited plan. Once you get to the T-Mobile site, scroll down towards the bottom of the page.

I bought a new Blaze from the T-mobile store here in Austin two days ago, and got the $60/month unlimited talk/text, 2.5GB plan (I'll see how that goes before thinking about upgrading) , was only required to pay sales tax on the phone ($15/month installment). I reckon that's what the article meant by "down payment".

The averge person doesn't keep the same phone for over two years. 1 Most people don't have the money to put out for a full priced phone. 2 After paying installments, that 70 plan turns into 90 dollars a month not including fees and taxes. 3 T-mobile has you fooled, in the summer of 2011 I bought the mytouch 4g subsidized on t-mobile. Guess what guys, that 50 and 60 dollar plan is nothing new, they had those plans then. I had the 60 dollar unlimited plan, the same as they offer now, and was able to buy it with a subsidy on t-mobile. The only plan that is completely new is the 70 dollar unlimited plan. The discounty on new devices is what attracts the average consumer. We all new before that an iPhone was being subsidized by the carriers. No one could possibly hve though tht 199 was the actual retail price. Most people like the idea of buying a discounted device and be ble to upgrade with spring in 18 mos and get another full subsidy. Nobodu keeps their phone for 3 or 5 years without upgrading. This is how they get you to keep paying 90 a month indefinately with t-mobile's financing. And consider if you have insurance and the device gets stolen. Instead of just paying a deductible like the other carriers charge, you hve to keep paying off the full price of your stolen device and pay an additional large amount to replace it.

The only way you will see a cheaper bill is if you keep your phone for over 24 mos. The average cosumer upgrades their phone within that time. So the bill stays high. That 50, 60, or 70 plan turns into 50, 80, or 90 dollars a month plus fees and taxes. And when it comes to IOS customers, nobody is going to keep the same iPhone for 3 to 5 yearsq. And who would just jump carriers after paying out that large amount for a phond. In the end of it all, you're putting out the same amount as you would with the other carriers. The only think to differentiate t-mobile from the others is the 70 dollarq plan that has fruly unlimited data. Personally, I like sprint's 70 dollar plan with unlimited mobile to mobile because, very few people usw lan lines anymore. You get unlimited data and messaging and 450 daytime minutes just in case. I think t-mobile came up with this strategy to prote their iPhone investment. Think, these plans were introduced around the time they announced that they were gettig the phone. In the end their new strategies might deter potential customers.

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