T-Mobile confirms free Mobile Hotspot on prepaid plans, domestic data roaming also now included

Starting the last couple of days, T-Mobile prepaid customers have started to have unfettered access to their phone's mobile hotspot function. Previously the only way to hotspot "by the book" on its prepaid plans was to pay $15 per month, but now we have confirmation that T-Mobile has changed its policies regarding hotspotting on prepaid. Reaching out to T-Mobile, we received the following response:

Starting Oct. 20, T-Mobile will give pay-in-advance customers access to domestic data roaming across the U.S. for the first time. Additionally, pay-in-advance customers that sign up for our Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan will also have access to 2.5GB of Smartphone Mobile Hotspot (i.e. tethering).  Only T-Mobile gives pay-in-advance customers data roaming AND Smartphone Mobile Hotspot at no extra charge with their Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan.

So not only has T-Mobile killed the $15 fee for hotspotting on prepaid, it has also tossed in a small amount of domestic data roaming — both firsts for its prepaid brand. Befitting for the changes, T-Mobile is also moving towards rebranding its prepaid offerings under the new "Simple Choice" plan name, referring to them now as "Pay-in-advance Simple Choice" plans.

As the chart above shows, T-Mobile will extend both domestic roaming and Mobile Hotspot usage to its prepaid plans. Starting with its $50 plan, you'll get (an admittedly small) 10MB of domestic data roaming, as well as 500MB of hotspot usage. On the $60 and $70 plans, 50MB of roaming and 2.5GB of hotspot. The popular $30 5GB plan while not listed on this chart, appears to also get 2.5GB of Mobile Hotspot but will not get domestic roaming and is not listed on the chart, and T-Mobile currently tells us that its Mobile Hotspot policy has not changed on the plan, despite the fact that some users are seeing a tethering allotment on their account. We'll have to wait and see how that one works out.

While not the most exciting of announcements, the addition of any amount of domestic data roaming is a big step in the right direction for prepaid plans. Free Mobile Hotspot is also a huge deal for those who want to keep things cheap with prepaid and still need access to that data on other devices. We're happy to see T-Mobile move towards feature parity between postpaid and prepaid — they're all customers, they deserve the features.

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Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.