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The best T-Mobile plans in February 2020

t-mobile plans

The best T-Mobile plans appear to have had a shake-up, as the carrier has launched new plans to replace its old One plan, which had been the best unlimited data plan. However, beyond the name, much about the plans actually remains the same. T-Mobile’s new Magenta plan is a rebranded One plan, and the Magenta Plus replaces the One Plus.

But, that’s not to say that everything has stayed the same for T-Mobile. The carrier has stripped away a number of its smaller pay-as-you-go and prepaid plans. Now the options that remain are almost all built around unlimited data. Luckily, T-Mobiles options are generally still easy to understand, and its prepaid plans offer extra affordability.

Many carriers show a price and then have taxes, fees, and unexpected charges on top that can dramatically change the price you think you’ll pay each month. T-Mobile avoids that for its flagship plans by charging you only the price you see when selecting your plan—taxes and fees are all included in that price. The waters do get muddied some when looking at other plans from T-Mobile, which are not as clean cut about their final price.

So, whether you’re looking for a fully packed unlimited plan to go with the best T-Mobile phone or something simple, we’ve got all the information you need.

Current T-Mobile special offers

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

T-Mobile Trade-in discounts on top phones
T-Mobile has the top phones available, like the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S10e. And, with an eligible trade-in or new line, you can upgrade to these phones and save hundreds of dollars via monthly credits to your bill.

How much the T-Mobile Magenta Plan costs:

The best prices are clearly those with multiple lines, and the free Netflix subscription encourages users to find someone to sign up with. It should be noted that these prices require users to enable AutoPay, otherwise the price will be slightly higher.

T-Mobile also has a stripped down unlimited plan called T-Mobile Essentials, which gives you the same unlimited talk, text, and data for a slightly lower price, at $60 plus taxes and fees, but removes some of the extra perks.

The great perks of T-Mobile's flagship service

  1. No contract - there’s no contract to lock you into a long-term service agreement.
  2. Free international roaming - going abroad is easy, with free unlimited data in numerous countries around the world, and unlimited talk and text in Canada and Mexico on select plans.
  3. ETFs paid by T-Mobile - breaking a contract with another carrier is easy, since T-Mobile will pay for the early termination fee. (Learn more about carrier ETFs here)
  4. No overages - you can’t use too much data or too many minutes on T-Mobile’s main plans, so no fear of getting slammed with hefty overage fees.
  5. In-flight texting - T-Mobile customers can text on Gogo-enabled flights.
  6. Unchanging prices - customers who want to keep their service can do just that, and the price won’t change, even if the plan is no longer offered or the promotional price expires.
  7. T-Mobile Tuesdays - a special customer appreciation day each week with exclusive deals.
  8. Unlimited service - on the Magenta plan, there is no limit to calls, texts or data.

The T-Mobile Magenta Plan: Explained

Firstly, users on T-Mobile's flagship Magenta Plans will pay exactly what T-Mobile lists as the price of the plan. That price includes all taxes and fees, so monthly budgets just got a lot easier to figure out.

(Image credit: T-Mobile)

Secondly, the T-Mobile Magenta Plan doesn’t make customers think about what service they’re getting. Everyone gets unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data. And anyone getting two or more lines gets a free Netflix subscription with their service.

The service also includes perks for travelers, such as talk, text and data in 210+ countries (though there are some limits the service abroad). The unlimited talk, text and data included in the plan extend to travel in Mexico and Canada as well, with up to 5GB of that data at 4G LTE speeds. And, customers on Gogo-enabled flights can continue to text for free and get 1-hour of free data.

In terms of what you can do with your data on this plan, T-Mobile allows mobile hotspot at 3G speeds and video streaming at DVD quality. Plus, T-Mobile only deprioritizes your data during congestion after you've used over 50GB of data in a billing cycle. The Magenta Plus plan expands many of these features.

Important restrictions on the T-Mobile Magenta Plan:

While the T-Mobile Magenta Plan is the foundation, it’s not the pinnacle of T-Mobile’s service, and there are some limitations.

Users who exceed 50GB of data usage a month may experience slowed data rates during network congestion, but 50GB is a wildly high cap, and that’s just slowed data, not stopped data. For some reference, you could stream an hour of standard definition video every day and not come close to exceeding 50GB in a month.

Mobile hotspot speeds for the base T-Mobile Magenta Plan are not given priority, and may not be at 4G LTE speed. That said, T-Mobile doesn’t mention anything about actually restricting hotspot usage other than that data usage must primarily be on a mobile device for users who exceed 50GB a month.

For videophiles, T-Mobile also limits videos streaming over cellular connections to non-HD quality. The Magenta Plus upgrade to the base plan does allow HD video streaming, though.

The upgrade available:

Naturally, T-Mobile has a way to upgrade it’s Magenta plan with more perks and functionality. This upgrade is not separate from the Magenta Plan but functions simply as an add-on to the base plan.

T-Mobile Magenta Plus plan:
For an extra $15 each month, users can get unlimited HD streaming in the US, doubled data speeds abroad, and unlimited Wi-Fi on Gogo-enabled flights. That’s topped off with unlimited mobile hotspot with 20GB at 4G LTE speeds, transcription of voicemails, and T-Mobile’s Name ID service.

T-Mobile also allows individual upgrades, so you can pay to just upgrade your hotspot connection or pay to add just Name ID.

The trimmed-down T-Mobile Essentials plan

If you don't need a lot of the extras but still want to be sure your phone won't run out of data, you can go with a slightly more basic option.

T-Mobile Essentials plan
This one costs $60/month, but taxes and fees are additional. What you get for that price is unlimited data, but T-Mobile may slow your data speeds when there's network congestion. And, after you've used 50GB in a month, it may slow your speeds even further during congestion.

You still get the ability to use mobile hotspot at 3G speeds, and can stream video at DVD quality. Talk, text, and 2G data are all available in Canada and Mexico as well. 

Simply Prepaid T-Mobile plans:

While the T-Mobile Magenta plan is a great deal, it’s not very cheap if you’re getting a plan alone. And it has a lot of features that casual phone users might not need. For those who don’t mind a limit here and there if it saves a few bucks, T-Mobile has a few other plans.

The Simply Prepaid plan has a 10GB cap on 4G LTE data, but otherwise comes with unlimited 2G data, talk, and text. It also allows for 4G LTE tethering and Wi-Fi calling. The plan costs $40 right now, but there are additional taxes and fees. Unless you're a hardcore streamer, 10GB can go a long way, and this is an affordable plan.

There are also two prepaid unlimited plans.

The Simply Prepaid Unlimited plan costs $50 plus taxes and fees, and is equivalent to the Magenta plan but lacks some of the travel perks and doesn't include Netflix. Meanwhile, the Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus plan is $60 and just upgrades to include 10GB of mobile hotspot at LTE speeds.

For the cheapest and most bare-bones plans, T-Mobile also offers some pay-as-you-go options for users with basic phones or who don't think they'll use their smartphone very much but want the option available.