The best T-Mobile plans for November 2018

t-mobile plans

T-Mobile's plans are the simplest to understand of the four major carriers, and it doesn't hurt that they're on the affordable side as well. Still, T-Mobile has ensured its plans are also feature packed, with plenty of perks to go around.

Currently, it's main focus is on the T-Mobile One unlimited data plan, which has earned our pick for best unlimited data plans. The plan includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data. It's essentially the simplest choice for someone who wants to be sure they won't run into any limits.

Even with that well-balanced plan, T-Mobile offers other options. There are upgrades available for those that need even more, like higher-speed hotspot or more services abroad. There are also prepaid options and plans with smaller 4G data allotments.

We'll break down the details of T-Mobile's best plans so you know what's what and can make an informed pick. We'll also make sure any extra features or limitations to the plans are noted, so nothing catches you off guard.

Current T-Mobile special offers

T-Mobile Trade-in discounts on top phones
T-Mobile has the top phones available, like the iPhone XS, Galaxy Note 9, and OnePlus 6T. 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, but these lose some of the perks of the standard plan and cost slightly more. So, they can’t be described as the best.

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 but removes some of the extra perks.

The 10 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.
  10. KickBack - users on the One plan who use less than 2GB of data in a month can get a $10 credit on their account.

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 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 plans have a cap on 4G LTE data, but otherwise come with unlimited 2G data, talk, and text. They also allow for 4G LTE tethering, Wi-Fi calling, and T-Mobile's Music Unlimited service.

Thanks to the limited time deal, the 10GB plan is a great bargain. It should be noted that these plans also have taxes and fees on top of the plan price, so they will be slightly more expensive than listed. This is in contrast to the way T-Mobile displays its rates for its postpaid plans.

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.