T-Mobile: is it any good?

T-Mobile is it any good?
TechRadar's Jump in or Jump out review for 2014

Updated: T-Mobile has greatly expanded its international coverage area.

T-Mobile has been making waves in the US wireless industry for well more than a year now, but is it really worth it to go to all the trouble of switching carriers?

That's a question that plenty of smartphone users have probably asked themselves recently, and there are a lot of factors involved in answering.

T-Mobile has gone to great lengths to brand itself as the "Un-carrier," but what does that really mean? It has unleashed features ranging from free Wi-Fi calling to unlimited international data, but how much do those flashy bonuses affect the minute-to-minute experience on the carrier?

What about the various T-Mobile plans? How do they stack up to the competition?

T-Mobile is it any good

Here's what the self-describe 'Un-carrier'

I switched from a Samsung Galaxy S4 on Verizon to an iPhone 6 Plus and a Simple Choice T-Mobile Jump plan this month, and I believe I can shed a little bit of light on these questions and the T-Mobile iPhone 6 Plus experience in general.

T-Mobile plans

T-Mobile's Simple Choice plans are an undeniably good deal. Every T-Mobile prepaid plan comes with unlimited talk, text and data, though the carrier will kick you off its 4G LTE network if you go over your monthly allotment. That doesn't mean you're stuck without data service, and you don't get hit with a fee, either, but you are relegated to T-Mobile's slower Edge network.

But when T-Mobile CEO John Legere brags that they're contract-free, what he really means is that they don't make you sign an "annual service contract" that binds you to them under threat of heavy fees if you leave.

T-Mobile plans

The T-Mobile plan (with the coverage map above) that I went with

You do, however, still have to sign a contract if you, for example, sign up for T-Mobile Jump and get a new phone on a payment plan. Here's how signing up for T-Mobile Jump works: if you open a new line and trade in an old device, you can get a new phone for no or little money down, then pay it off on a monthly basis over the course of at most two years.

The contract you sign says you'll ultimately pay at least half the full price of your phone (after which you can upgrade), whether it takes you a year or a minute, and it's worth it for several reasons. For the iPhone 6 that means about $27 per month, and for the iPhone 6 Plus it's about $31, on top of the $10 per month that essentially covers your insurance. This can vary slightly. For example if you want more storage you might pay $100 or $200 upfront.

T-Mobile is it any good?

T-Mobile's 2015 LTE rollout roadmap

And for users who need to open up mobile service for more than just themselves, T-Mobile also has family plans including a four line family package for $100 that includes 10 GB of 4G LTE data.

The Un-carrier also has a new unlimited data plan for users who only need two-lines, which provides unlimited talk and text for $100 per month. Meanwhile, additional lines (with a maximum of eight) can be added for $40 per month.

Business class

T-Mobile isn't just repaving the mobile world for everyday Joes, the pink carrier is also opening some of its killer deals for businesses. Whether you're a small outfit with less than 10 employees or a mega corporation with over a thousand workers, T-Mobile promises it's rates are 40% more affordable compared to AT&T and Verizon.

Plans start at $16 per line, which then drops off to $15 when you sign up for more than 10. For bigger companies T-Mobile is also offering 100 lines for $1,500 and 1,000 lines for $15,000 per month. If you need any more than that, it'll be an additional $10 for every user.

T-Mobile is it any good?

T-Mobile's pooled data tiers

Now what you get with every line includes 1GB of data included, plus unlimited talk and text. Users who want more data will be able to purchase 2GB for $10 or unlimited data for $30. Additionally there are pooled data options, which breaks down to $4.75 per gigabyte for an 100GB data minimum, $4.50 for a 500GB minimum and $4.25 for a 1TB minimum. You'll also get an additional gigabyte for every line you connect.

Just like it's regular Simple Choice plans T-Mobile is opening up its additional service free of charge. These include free music streaming, Wi-Fi calling and all of Un-carrier's previous intatives.

What's more setting up a business line with T-Mobile also nets you a free GoDaddy domain to launch your own website as well as a free custom email account provided through Microsoft.

In case you want to attach a family plan to your business agreement, you'll be able to do that too and get 50% off a Simple Choice plan.

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.