The best T-Mobile plans in April 2019

t-mobile plans

T-Mobile’s best plans are some of the simplest to understand. While the carrier does throw in the occasional plan that requires us to parse through fine print, most of its main plan offerings have clear terms and clear value. 

T-Mobile offers the best unlimited data plan of the four major carriers, and has both upgrades available and discounts for multiple lines. It also some alternative plans in case you want to pay as you go, prepay, or avoid credit checks. 

By far, T-Mobile’s most appealing offers are centered around unlimited data. The carrier has a surprising number of unlimited plans actually available, with the One Plan being its flagship version. But, it also offers a stripped down and discounted version, a domestic version, a prepaid version, and a version that doesn’t require a credit check. Beyond that, it also has non-unlimited plans if you don’t need much data but want T-Mobile’s service.

We’ll help you understand what each plan offers and what it’s going to cost. While T-Mobile touts its upfront pricing with no extra taxes or fees, that doesn’t apply to all the plans, so we’ll help make that clear as well. Whatever you're looking for, we've got the details you need to help you make a decision and get the best plan for you.

Current T-Mobile special offers

T-Mobile Trade-in discounts on top phones
T-Mobile has the top phones available, like the iPhone XS and Galaxy Note 9. And, with an eligible trade-in, you can upgrade to these phones and save hundreds of dollars via monthly credits to your bill.

How much the T-Mobile One 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.

For people that want to skip a credit check or like pre-paid plans, T-Mobile offers the One No Credit Check plan and One Prepaid plan. If you don't travel abroad, the One Prepaid Domestic Only plan is actually cheaper than the standard One Plan but has almost all the same features, but the $50 monthly fee has additional taxes and fees.

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 9 great perks of T-Mobile service

  1. No contract - there’s no contract to lock you into a long-term service agreement.
  2. Jump! - users can upgrade the phone they’ve bought from T-Mobile on an installment plan.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. In-flight texting - T-Mobile customers can text on Gogo-enabled flights.
  7. 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.
  8. T-Mobile Tuesdays - a special customer appreciation day each week with exclusive deals.
  9. Unlimited service - on the One plan, there is no limit to calls, texts or data.

The T-Mobile One Plan: Explained

Firstly, users on T-Mobile's flagship One Plan 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: © T-Mobile)

Secondly, the T-Mobile One 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. 

Important restrictions on the T-Mobile One Plan:

While the T-Mobile One 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 One 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. It offers an upgrade to the base plan that adds allows HD video streaming.

The upgrade available:

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

T-Mobile One Plus plan:
For an extra $15 each month (or $10/line for multiple lines), 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.

Simply Prepaid and pay-as-you-go T-Mobile plans:

While the T-Mobile One 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 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.

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.