How to get T-Mobile’s $30/month unlimited data smartphone plan

by: Nate SwannerJune 9, 2013


If you don’t talk on your mobile phone much, but like to use apps, navigation, or any other kind of data-absorbing functions, you know how important a good data plan is. What if we told you that you could pay about $30/month for unlimited data, with the first 5GB at top speeds? Now we’re talking!

The Consumerist recently highlighted the low-cost plan, so we thought it was a good opportunity to let everyone know how to get it. The monthly plan is for 100 minutes of talk, with unlimited data and text. This is great for data hogs who may not need to chat much. Data consumption with decreased talk minutes are increasingly the need of many users, which is why we see data sharing plans from carriers like Verizon.

Keep in mind, this is on the T-Mobile network, which may not be the best in your area. We suggest using Open Signal Maps before considering any new plan, as it will give you a detailed map of which carriers and what service works best in your area.

T-Mobile Prepaid Plans

Finding the plan

On a personal note, this is the plan I have, and can say it is a really nice option for me. I make most calls at home, via Google Talk (I have kept Google talk alive in Gmail until Hangouts can make calls). I rarely make phone calls on my phone, so 100 minutes of talk per month is fine for me. I do use navigation quite a bit when out and about, and also subscribe to All Access on Play Music.

Finding the plan can be tricky, as T-Mobile doesn’t make it immediately noticeable. To find it, you’ll need to visit T-Mobile’s prepaid site, which is also not easy to locate from their main site. After you find the landing page, you’ll see a header of “Unlimited talk + text + web plans”. Tucked at the bottom of that little box, you’ll see a “Browse plans” link. Once you click that, you’re on your way.

After navigating to that page, you’ll see a listing for the plan. There is no way to select it, but if you navigate back towards the top of that page, you’ll see the header “Get Started”. Under that, there will be the option to shop for phones, or bring your own device. This is the turning point.

  • Qbancelli

    You have to be dead or dumb not to know how to do this already.
    But thanks anyway.

  • bozs13

    Thanks for the heads-up…it is a bit hidden

  • JBC6WC

    I think you mean “the first 5 GB” not MB

    • Nate Swanner

      Sure did!
      Thanks for the heads up.

    • Fixed! We are humans at Android Authority :P

      • JBC6WC

        That’s fine, I didn’t want you to undersell this awesome plan (which I have by the way). :)

  • Jeffrey Heesch

    I’ve been on this exact plan for over a year now and love it.

  • freedomspopular

    I tried this a little while ago, and it was great until I realized that my immediate area was the only area they’ve refarmed where I live. I’ll try again in several months and see if they’ve made more progress.

    • Yeah – I have a phone without the 1700 MHz band and it’s really spotty. Zoomed out, Boston looks great on the 1900 MHz HSPA+ coverage map, but if you zoom in close, there’s tons of dead spots. It’s pretty frustrating.

      I’m waiting on the Moto X-Phone and the next Nexus, and then evaluating my options for a new phone that still has the 1700 band. Must be pretty frustrating for converted iPhone users too.

  • Tim McCormick

    Can I just use a sim cutter and use the prepaid sim in my smartphone?

  • scb1898

    I have this plan alongside my normal AT&T plan. I’m testing out T-Mobile’s network. Luckily, my area is somewhat refarmed. I am also getting LTE in OKC, but it is NOWHERE as fast as AT&T and Verizon. I read that a full LTE launch is going to happen this month, so I’m going to buy one more month to see if coverage and speeds improve.

  • John

    “Once you have the SIM card activated, simply go into your T-Mobile store and let them know you need a micro SIM card instead. They may not ever charge you, but if they do, it’s about a dollar for a new SIM card. Once they do their network magic, your new Micro SIM card will be activated, and you can just drop it into your phone. You’ve now got the $30/month plan on your smartphone!”….Just walk in with the walmart phone & ask for a micro sim? Won’t they pull up your info & see your walmart phone uses a reg sized sim?

    • Tom

      I went to a T-Mobile corporate kiosk at the mall and they gave me a new micro SIM free! I had a regular SIM but had just gotten a new phone that required a micro SIM. The whole process took about a minute, including the rep digging around under the counter to find the micro SIM.

  • darkraider1614

    Been using the T-Mobile $30 prepaid since I got my Nexus and no problems till now. Unlimited 4G till 5 GB, own my phone and can do whatever I want. They have since discontinued this option after the uncarrier approach; but I am grandfathered in and am not changing my plan!

    • Derek Harper

      Plan is still available to people who activate via the website or at walmart. — Doing this tomorrow and confirmed this with people at corporate stores and customer service.

    • Derek Harper

      Here’s the proof.

  • Noob Machine

    Does this plan work with any GSM-based smartphone or just the ones they sell through the T-Mobile store? Because I would like to get the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini (which is NOT available through T-Mobile), but only if it works with this plan.

  • cekaata

    I read so many forums and comments trying to figure out whether I would qualify for this plan or not that now, after going through the process myself, I feel compelled to share my experience. I was a prepaid T-Mobile customer with a Pay as you Go plan (no smartphone, no data). I upgraded to a Nokia Lumia 521 which I bought on Amazon (a T-Mobile device), and it arrived with a new T-Mobile micro SIM (I wasn’t expecting that). I called customer service to activate the new SIM with my old number. I also asked if I would qualify for the $30/month plan (unlimited text&data + 100 min talk) since I had gotten a new handset. The operator told me it’s a Walmart exclusive and that she had to check with her supervisor.. she put me on hold for ~1 minute, then got back saying the supervisor had approved! it was SO easy!

  • Chalin

    If you buy a sim card thru the method youve mentioned its $10, so can i just get a normal sim for like a $1 and cut it into a micro; then load $30 plan via walmart refill card?

  • dpcucoreinfo

    Any way to switch to this plan from existing $50/mo prepaid plan?

  • gabris

    Just curious, how much does the T-Mobile 30$/month plan actually cost, including any other fees or taxes? How much do you have to take out of your wallet every month for it?

  • Stormy Weather

    This is a great article. I did all of this today, basically, and finally have everything set up. A word of warning: don’t call T-Mobile and expect their reps to be able to verify any of this information, or for them to be familiar with the process needed to sign up. Multiple phone calls and visits yielded incorrect information every time. Just follow this article and all will be well. As a side note, I was getting a new phone for my prepaid plan, so I got one from the TMobile store. I still had to go to Walmart and get a prepaid phone, start the account with that, and THEN call TMobile to have my sim card changed to the new phone (you can’t do this part over the web).

    Thanks for the article, because I’m not sure I could have navigated this process otherwise… the reps have no clue how it works.



  • PadThai2

    For anyone who still wants this plan but can’t find it on the site (they’ve changed the design a bit since this article was written), do the following:
    Go to
    Go to prepaid phone plans
    Click See all plans button
    Click Pay As You Go

    Scroll down to the end of the Pay As You Go Page
    Click link for Limited Plans
    And you’ll see the 30 dollar plan

  • Samantha Serfontein

    I desperately want to get this plan, but I am an international student bringing my own unlocked phone from home. My phone is thus, not a walmart device, and I didn’t get it through T-Mobile, but does anyone know if I am able to register and activate my phone with T-mobile if I buy one of their sim cards? I’ve got the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and it only works with T-mobile and AT&T, so I am a bit stuck when it comes to options.