T-Mobile Review

T-Mobile boasts transparent pricing and tons of extra features. As the third-largest cell phone provider in the nation, its prices are on par with other large carriers. But unlike some wireless providers, T-Mobile ONE plans allow for an impressive 50 GB of data usage before speeds are slowed during periods of network congestion. That’s more than double AT&T’s 22 GB high-speed data allowance, which means that T-Mobile is a solid choice for any user who frequently hits their data cap. T-Mobile’s cell coverage extends over only 46 states, but with so many great features and a high data cap on unlimited plans, T-Mobile is still worth considering.

The Claim

T-Mobile says that you can “get the benefits of T-Mobile ONE for less” and that you can “see what you’ll pay.” No surprises.

Is it true?

Yes. T-Mobile’s unlimited plan, T-Mobile ONE, offers a slew of enticing extras, a higher-than-average data cap, and transparent pricing — features often lacking with some of the larger cell carriers. With T-Mobile ONE, taxes and fees are rolled into the price you see online, meaning there are no surprises when your bill comes.

The "benefits of T-Mobile ONE" are also fairly unique. All T-Mobile ONE plans include in-flight texting and one hour of in-flight data, which lets you stay connected even while up in the air. Plus, all T-Mobile ONE plans with two or more lines include a Netflix subscription. With so much to offer, it’s clear why T-Mobile claims that you get more than a simple 4G wireless plan.

Product Overview

Best for

People interested in a variety of features and plans

Not for

People seeking fast speeds and reliable data

Features

Price per line $55-$160/mo.
Available plans
T-Mobile ONE
T-Mobile ONE Essentials
T-Mobile ONE Prepaid
T-Mobile ONE No Credit Check
T-Mobile ONE Plus
T-Mobile ONE Plus International
T-Mobile ONE Voice
T-Mobile ONE Military
T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+
Available data
Unlimited
Unlimited plan data cap 50 GB
Ratings RootMetrics overall performance rating of 86.9
Number of states served
46
Standout features Free Netflix subscription for two-plus lines
In-flight texting and one hour of data on “Gogo-enabled” flights (unlimited in-flight WiFi with ONE Plus and ONE Plus International)
Unlimited international calls with ONE Plus International
HD streaming with ONE Plus
Taxes and fees included
Unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada
Mobile hotspot data
Prepaid Tourist Plan

Variety of plans

T-Mobile offers a wide variety of plans for customers from all walks of life. Have you served or are you serving in the military? T-Mobile offers a military plan to active duty members, veterans, and their families, complete with military discounts and texting and data abroad. Pushing 55? There’s a discounted unlimited plan aimed specifically at customers age 55 and older. If you have more specific needs, T-Mobile also offers a flexible prepaid plan, a no credit check plan, and international plans that allow for up to 2G speeds in over 200 countries with no extra cost.

Netflix subscription

T-Mobile includes a Netflix subscription when you have at least two T-Mobile ONE lines in good standing. This is a huge bonus if you’re a cord-cutter looking to save money. The plan covers a standard two-screen subscription, which can be used across all devices. This means you can catch up on your favorite show while your kids stream a movie in the other room.

In-flight texting and data

If you need to be connected at all times, you’ll love that T-Mobile ONE includes in-flight texting and one hour of data on all Gogo-enabled flights. This encompasses most flights within the U.S., plus those to and from. Want more than an hour of in-flight data? Upgrading to T-Mobile ONE Plus or T-Mobile ONE Plus International gives you unlimited in-flight WiFi, so you’ll never have to worry about missing out on all that’s happening on the ground.

Transparent pricing

Most of the time, the price you see online for a wireless plan isn’t the price you’ll see on your final bill. Many carriers advertise prices that don’t include additional fees or taxes. T-Mobile guarantees that rates you see on its website are what you’ll pay each month. This makes budgeting a phone plan into your monthly expenses much easier. Even better, you’ll never have to worry about any surprises when your bill comes.

Possible drawbacks

Lower coverage and performance

According to RootMetrics, an independent network testing firm, T-Mobile ranks third among the big four wireless providers in overall performance. In particular, it lags behind in network reliability, speed, data performance, and call performance. That said, T-Mobile is still among the top four best cell phone providers, so don't discount it entirely. We recommend checking T-Mobile’s coverage map to see if it’s strong in your area. If it is, T-Mobile might still be the carrier for you.

Upper-tier unlimited plan is expensive

T-Mobile’s highest-tier plan, T-Mobile ONE Plus International, is fairly expensive, considering it ranks next to last in performance. When it comes to cost, T-Mobile ONE Plus International is as expensive as Verizon Wireless’s Above Unlimited plan, which seems a little unreasonable, given that Verizon is the top provider in the country. T-Mobile's plan does come with a slew of additional features not found on Verizon’s, but if you value performance more and have the money to spend, you might be better going with Verizon’s premium unlimited plan.

The Competition

T-Mobile
Verizon Wireless
AT&T
Sprint
Our review
Our review
Our review

Price per single line

$55-$160/mo.

$35-$95/mo.

$50-$190/mo.
$60-$80/mo.

Available plans


T-Mobile ONE
T-Mobile ONE Essentials
T-Mobile ONE Prepaid
T-Mobile ONE No Credit Check
T-Mobile ONE Plus
T-Mobile ONE Plus International
T-Mobile ONE Voice
T-Mobile ONE Military
T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+
500 MB
2 GB
4 GB
5 GB
8 GB
Go Unlimited
Beyond Unlimited
Above Unlimited
Mobile Share Plus 3 GB
Mobile Share Plus 9 GB
Unlimited & More
Unlimited & More Premium

Unlimited Basic
Unlimited Plus
Unlimited Premium

Data range

Unlimited

2 GB-Unlimited


3 GB-Unlimited

4 GB-Unlimited

Data caps
50 GB on unlimited plans

22 GB on Beyond Unlimited plan
75 GB on Above Unlimited plan

22 GB on unlimited plans

50 GB on unlimited plans

Streaming/
entertainment service included

Netflix subscription (with at least two lines on T-Mobile One)

N/A
AT&T WatchTV (with both unlimited plans)
Choice of additional subscription service (with Unlimited & More Premium)

Hulu subscription (with both unlimited plans)
Tidal subscription (with Unlimited Plus)

In-flight texting

Taxes and fees included in price

RootMetrics overall performance score

86.9

94.4
92.6
85.7

T-Mobile vs. Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless’ speeds consistently outrank other cellular providers, and coverage is more widely available than T-Mobile’s. Its individual and monthly plans are pricey, and it doesn’t offer as many features or plans as T-Mobile, but you really can’t beat its speed and reliability. If T-Mobile isn’t available in your area and you’re looking for high speeds, Verizon may be a good choice.

T-Mobile vs. AT&T

AT&T stands out for including Watch TV, its live TV streaming service on its Unlimited & More and Unlimited & More Premium plans. AT&T’s coverage and reliability are also stronger than T-Mobile’s. Plus, it includes an additional entertainment perk (like HBO GO, Amazon Music, or Starz) with Unlimited & More Premium. With comparable unlimited plan prices for an individual line, it’s hard to choose between AT&T and T-Mobile. If you want a free live streaming service, go with AT&T, but if you’re in an area with solid T-Mobile coverage and want to save on a Netflix subscription, T-Mobile will be your best bet.

T-Mobile vs. Sprint

Sprint’s prices and speeds are on par with those of T-Mobile. However, Sprint falls behind T-Mobile (though only by a hair) when it comes to overall performance, taking last place in RootMetrics' study of the "big four" providers. Consider Sprint if you’re in need of a solid group unlimited plan at a reasonable price, but keep in mind that T-Mobile may be more reliable in more areas of the country.

T-Mobile FAQ

Does T-Mobile offer any discounts?

Yes. If you’re over 55 or have served or currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, you’re eligible for exclusive discounts on T-Mobile’s unlimited plans. T-Mobile ONE has a special plan called Unlimited 55+, offering customers age 55 and older two lines for $70 per month. The T-Mobile ONE Military plan saves you 20% off one line and offers a second line for $25, plus lines three through six for $10 each.

What is Gogo?

Gogo is an in-flight internet service that allows you to get online while up in the sky. T-Mobile gives you one hour of free WiFi on its T-Mobile ONE plan and unlimited WiFi on its T-Mobile ONE Plus and T-Mobile ONE Plus International plans. The following airlines are Gogo-enabled:

  • Air Canada
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Delta
  • United
  • Virgin America

Does T-Mobile check credit scores?

Yes. Like most mobile providers, T-Mobile will check your credit score when you sign up for a plan or finance a device. However, it does have a No Credit Check plan that lets you bypass the typical credit check. This plan also allows you to add additional lines and includes unlimited talk, text, and data.

How can I lower my T-Mobile cell phone bill?

There are a few ways you can lower your T-Mobile cell phone bill.

6 ways to lower your cell phone bill

  • Autopay: If you aren’t already enrolled in autopay, sign up. With T-Mobile, autopay will shave off $5 per line from your monthly bill. That might not sound like much, but every little bit helps.
  • Opt out of cell phone insurance: If you don’t do a lot of globetrotting or are less likely to lose or drop your phone, consider cutting back on your insurance coverage.
  • Downgrade your plan: Look at what’s included in your plan. If there are features you can do without or just haven’t been using, consider a cheaper plan (perhaps the prepaid plan).
  • Add lines: Adding lines can actually provide you with a means of spreading the cost to other users. If multiple people are sharing the cost, your monthly bill will drop significantly.
  • Update your service address: The taxes and fees added to your bill are based on your address. Say you’re a parent and your oldest child is on the family plan and has just moved to another state where the taxes are cheaper. By updating the service address to that location, your monthly bill could be that much cheaper in taxes and fees.
  • Employer discount: You might be eligible for an employer discount if your job requires cell phone use.

The Bottom Line

T-Mobile is best for those who value high speeds and generous data allowances, who don't necessarily want to pay premiums for the fastest speeds available. Discounts for family plans are fair but not exceptional, so if you plan on enrolling more than two lines, you may be able to save more by looking at Sprint or Cricket Wireless. Still, it’s worth considering T-Mobile if you have good coverage in your area. As a company with so many great features and price transparency, T-Mobile is still a top contender among the big carriers.

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