T-Mobile, like the rest of the Big Four U.S. carriers, is keen on selling access to MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators). This is great: it benefits T-Mobile (income without any investment), the MVNO (no need to build its own network), and us (more choices at different prices).

And a lot of MVNOs use T-Mobile's network, either exclusively or in combination with other carriers. They cover just about every price point, offer options with large buckets of data, and can duplicate most of the experience of having a "proper" T-Mobile account. You can find a full list of them below, but we're going to focus on a few options users like you have called the best and that we agree belong on this list.

More: Complete list of T-Mobile MVNOs

Metro by T-Mobile

Metro by T-Mobile isn't technically an MVNO. T-Mobile owns it, but 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. However a VPN will also bypass the Music Unlimited feature, where streaming music from select services will not count against your data tally.

While the T-Mobile network isn't the largest or fastest nationwide, the most important thing is how it works where you live. We say that Metro by T-Mobile has always provided exactly what was expected and we have had no issues to note with coverage or customer service.

Metro

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 all the way up to unlimited data/

Walmart Family Mobile

Walmart Family Mobile has leveraged T-Mobile's network with a storefront presence unmatched by any other MVNO. With a huge marketing presence both inside 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 plan that 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 if you need it 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 $49.88. Data may be slowed at 40GB of usage in a month which is really quite a lot.

While this is a strong choice with a low pricing and T-Mobile's strong network behind it, relying on such a large company when it comes to customer service can be concerning. We've found Walmart Family Mobile to deliver the service as promised and have had no issues getting a service plan via the web or in-store.

Family Mobile

Walmart Family Mobile

Grab a bag of cat food while you're there

A low introductory price with room to grow makes this one of the least expensive plans for a data user. A network from T-Mobile and service from Walmart makes this a compelling option for many shoppers.

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile is an MVNO much like the others, with a special twist on how you can 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. It offers the small (3GB), medium (8GB), and large (12GB) plans for one month, three months, six months, or one year.

$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), or $300 gets you a full year's worth of service including 12GB of LTE data.

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.

Mint

Mint Mobile

A fresh take on cell service

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

Ting

Ting is another MVNO that offers more than just a choice between monthly plans. It lets you mix and match to find a plan with the right amount of talk, text, and data for you without paying for things you won't need. Best of all, Ting doesn't bill you for the services that you didn't use.

At the end of the month, you are billed for the amount of service you actually used, not what the plan said when you bought it. This can be a great way to save money while still keeping an option to use more data when you need it.

Experiences across the web tend to love the pricing structure and ability to build a plan tailored for data users who don't make many calls. Ting is not a great option for someone that likes to use a lot of data. Ting can be a great option for a lighter user that wants a simple structure and has access to Wi-Fi when data is needed.

Ting

Ting GSM

Some Ting is better than no Ting

Ting fully embraces paying only for what you use. If you are a heavy user then you should look elsewhere but if you are a light user or need another line as a spare, there are few options as good as this.

Google Fi

Everything about Google Fi aims to be simple for users. Making use of T-Mobile's network for most unlocked GSM phones and capable of using even more networks with a Designed for Fi phone that supports Sprint 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 very cheap. If you want to use data, you are billed at $10 for each 1GB used however 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 meaning if you need to go over, your bill will only be $80.

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.

Google as an ISP

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 and limit on data charges makes it a great option for the occasional heavy user.


There are plenty of T-Mobile MVNOs that aren't on our best list but still might work great for you. We can't use them all at once and things change quickly when it comes to carrier resellers. If you have a great experience and think we should give any company a second look, sound off in the comments below!

Alternative carriers (MVNOS)

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Update, August 2019: This article has been updated to reflect pricing changes. Google Fi has been added to the list.

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