T-Mobile logoSource: Android Central

Best T-Mobile Alternatives Android Central 2021

If you 're looking for a great T-Mobile alternative there are a ton of options with a wide variety of plans. A lot of MVNOs use T-Mobile's network, either exclusively or in combination with other carriers thanks to its growing coverage and great compatibility with unlocked phones. These carriers even work with 5G if you have a compatible phone. For most people, Metro by T-Mobile is a great fit thanks to plenty of data options and multiline savings.

Best Overall: Metro by T-Mobile

Metro by T-Mobile websiteSource: Android Central

Metro by T-Mobile isn't technically an MVNO since T-Mobile owns it. However, Metro operates independently and has different policies, pricing, and features.

Metro offers plans with unlimited calling and texting. The price differences come down to the data packages available at 2GB, 10GB, or unlimited. Plans start at $30 per month, which includes all taxes and extra fees.

Metro by T-Mobile keeps data usage low with a feature called "Data Maximizer" to deliver streaming video at a resolution it claims is ideal for smartphone screens, around 1.5Mbps. Streaming speed limits can often be bypassed by using a VPN to make the connection, although a VPN will also bypass the Music Unlimited feature, where streaming music from select services will not count against your data tally.

The T-Mobile network has grown a lot in the last few years and if you have a phone that supports all of its LTE bands, you should have great coverage in most places. Metro, like most T-Mobile-based carriers, even works with 5G if you have a phone that supports it.

Pros:

  • Large data plans
  • Multi-line savings for families
  • Hotspot options

Cons:

  • Few low-end plans
  • No hotspot on limited plans

Best Overall

Metro by T-Mobile

Metro by T-Mobile

More plans for T-Mobile

Metro by T-Mobile offers a low barrier to entry and is a great option for someone that doesn't need to jump up to unlimited data.

Best Value: Walmart Family Mobile

Moto E6Source: Android Central

Walmart Family Mobile has leveraged T-Mobile's network with a storefront presence unmatched by any other MVNO. With a huge marketing presence both in and out of stores, it's likely you've already heard of this service, even if you don't shop at Walmart.

The low-cost $24.88 per month plan offers unlimited talk and text combined with 2GB of LTE data with a reduced download speed if you go over. You can even add more data at a rate of $10 for 1GB. It's great for people that don't use a lot of data or diligently connect to Wi-Fi when they can. The other end of the spectrum has unlimited talk, text, and data for just under $50. Data may be slowed after 40GB of usage in a month, which is really quite a lot and shouldn't affect most users.

Walmart Family Mobile really pulls ahead with multiple lines. While its unlimited plan is a bit pricey compared to some other carriers, if you add a few lines, it's a much better value. Each additional line you add to your account shares your plan and comes in at a flat $24.88 per line. If you need to get a few lines connected, you can save a lot of money.

Pros:

  • Flat rate for additional lines
  • Available in store
  • Unlimited available

Cons:

  • Customer service lackluster

Best Value

Walmart Family Mobile

Walmart Family Mobile

In store or online

A low introductory price with room to grow makes this one of the least expensive plans for a data user.

Best Unlimited Family Plans: US Mobile

US-Mobile usageSource: Android Central

US Mobile's plans look a bit confusing with a lot of upgrades and options available for each but it's really pretty simple. You can build your own custom plan starting with just a few minutes and texts. If you only need a few minutes on a backup phone, you're not going to find a better deal. For most people, unlimited talk and text come in at $10 per month with anywhere from 50MB to 8GB of data.

If you need more than that, you can get an unlimited plan for $40 per month, but most people will want to spend at least $45 per month on a US Mobile unlimited plan. That's because the base plan only comes with data at 5Mbps. While this is fast enough for some basic browsing, streaming, and messaging, it will be noticeably slow if you try using it to download files or apps. With a media-heavy application like Facebook or Instagram, you may find the loading time to be excessive. For $5 more per month, you can remove the speed limits. For $10 more, you can uncap your speed and add in 10GB of hotspot data.

US Mobile also has a robust family plan setup. You can add up to four unlimited plans. The first line costs the full $40 with the second line coming in at $30. Lines three and four are $20 per month each. You can upgrade each line individually as needed. If you have at least three lines, you can choose from a free streaming service such as Netflix or even Playstation Plus. Adding the fourth line gets you another streaming service as well.

Pros:

  • Custom and unlimited plans available
  • Free subscription service with three lines
  • Discounts on lines two through four

Cons:

  • Base unlimited plan has slow data (5Mbps)
  • Family plan savings require unlimited plans

Best Unlimited Family Plans

US Mobile logo

US Mobile

Free subscriptions with three and four lines

US Mobile has good unlimited plan prices even with a speed upgrade when you add up to four lines. You can even get a free streaming service with three lines.

Best Data Plans: Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile app on woodSource: Samuel Contreras / Android Central

Mint Mobile is an MVNO much like the others, with a special twist on how you buy service.

While you can buy a package of talk, text, and data for a month, you can also buy extended service for as long as one year for significant savings. Plans come with unlimited talk, text, and 2G data with 3GB, 8GB, 12GB, or unlimited data options. You have to buy at least three months of service at once but get additional savings if you buy six or 12 months upfront.

$45 gets you a three-month plan with unlimited talk and text as well as 3GB of LTE data (which drops in speed once your limit is reached). $300 gets you a full year's worth of service, including 12GB of LTE data. Even if you don't want to pay for the full year up front, you can still get some great rates on data plans.

If you know how much service you'll need, buying in bulk can offer considerable savings. Mint Mobile uses aggressive pricing to provide long-term value and is compatible with most unlocked GSM phones.

Pros:

  • Lots of data
  • Save with a longer-term buy
  • Multiple plan options
  • Hotspot included

Cons:

  • No multi-line discount

Best Data Plans

Mint Mobile Logo

Mint Mobile

A fresh take on cell service

Mint stands out by selling services in large chunks to save money. This is a great option if you know how much data you use.

Most Flexible: Ting

Screen showing data usageSource: Android Central

Ting has three main data plans plus a flexible plan. The Flex plan starts at $10 per month with unlimited talk and text with data coming in at $5 per gigabyte. If you only use a small amount of data, this is a great way to save. If you find you need a larger data plan, you can choose between 5GB, 22GB, and 35GB plan. Pretty much anyone can find a good fit with Ting.

If you need to use your phone as a hotspot, the 5GB plan can share all 5GB with a hotspot device. The 22GB plan labeled Unlimited comes with 12GB of hotspot data while the 35GB Unlimited Pro plan comes with 30GB of hotspot data. There are cheaper unlimited options with other carriers but Ting is a great value for its cheaper plans.

Pros:

  • Cheap flexible plan available
  • Plenty of data options for most people
  • Lots of hotspot data

Cons:

  • No multi-line discounts
  • Limited Android phone selection

Most Flexible

Ting logo

Ting

A plan that grows with you

Ting lets you start small with just talk and text. You can get as much data as you need up to 35GB or stick to $5 per GB.

Best for Travel: Google Fi

Google Fi Billing PageSource: Android Central

Everything about Google Fi aims to be simple for users. It makes use of T-Mobile's network for most unlocked GSM phones and is capable of using even more networks with a Designed for Fi phone that supports Sprint and U.S. Cellular as well. A compatible phone will still get the same plan but will only access T-Mobile's network.

Starting at $20 per month for unlimited talk and text, Google Fi can be cheap. If you want to use data, you are billed at $10 for each 1GB used, although if you only use 500MB, you'll only pay $5 at the end of the month. Best of all, data is only billed up to $60, which means if you need to go over, your bill won't get higher. If you know you will use a lot of data, you can get an unlimited plan that doesn't slow data until 22GB is used.

All of that being said, this isn't the most cost-effective plan for a heavy data user. If, however, you have a proper Designed for Fi phone you will have access to a great network. Additionally, if you like to travel, data prices are the same for international usage.

Pros:

  • Simple plans
  • Free international data
  • Great phone compatibility
  • Unlimited available
  • 5G now supported on the full network

Cons:

  • Flexible plan can get expensive
  • Only certain phones work with the whole network

Best for Travel

Google Fi logo

Google Fi

Simple pricing and international usage

One of the biggest reasons to get Google Fi is if you travel abroad. Even if you don't, upfront pricing makes it a great option.

Bottom line

If you have good coverage with T-Mobile, you have a ton of options to get connected. T-Mobile's highly compatible GSM network also makes it a breeze to find a phone that will work. T-Mobile has also been moving quickly on its 5G network and is letting most MVNO customers connect to it without having to pay any more or pick a special plan.

If you want to try out the T-Mobile network but don't want to get stuck in an expensive plan or sign any contracts, Metro by T-Mobile is the best bet for most people. With competitive plans and tons of data available, it's a great contract-free option for the heavy data user.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.

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