T-Mobile brings mobile hotspot access and domestic data roaming to prepaid plans

by: Andrew GrushOctober 25, 2013


T-Mobile continues to switch up the way they do business with their uncarrier initiative. Not only has T-Mobile ditched conventional contracts and added an early upgrade program, the uncarrier recently unveiled plans to bring free global data roaming to its smartphones and 200MB of free data for all tablets compatible with their network. It looks like the changes don’t end there, either.

According to several reports, T-Mobile has quietly rolled out some new changes to its prepaid plans. Specifically, T-Mobile now provides free mobile hotspot tethering from its devices.

Reaching out to T-Mobile for confirmation, Android Central was issued this statement:

Starting Oct. 20, T-Mobile will give pay-in-advance customers access to domestic data roaming across the U.S. for the first time. Additionally, pay-in-advance customers that sign up for our Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan will also have access to 2.5GB of Smartphone Mobile Hotspot (i.e. tethering). Only T-Mobile gives pay-in-advance customers data roaming AND Smartphone Mobile Hotspot at no extra charge with their Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan.

So that means that the Unlimited 4G plan now provides 2.5GB of free tethering as well as 50MB of domestic data roaming access. T-Mobile didn’t specifically acknowledge its prepaid limited data plans, but looking to the chart below we learn that the $50 plan includes 500MB tethering and 10MB domestic data roaming, with the $60 plan including the same 2.5GB tethering and 50MB roaming as found with the unlimited plan.


Let’s be honest, the amount of free domestic data roaming provided is tiny, but it’s hard to complain when you’re getting something for free. The real news here is that T-Mobile prepaid customers no longer have to worry about paying a $15 mobile hotspot fee or incurring their carrier’s wraith if they try to find a way around mobile hotspot restrictions. No, it’s not “uncarrier sized” news, but it’s still a welcome change.

What do you think of the new minor changes to T-Mobile’s prepaid plans – excited by the inclusion of tethering or not?

  • scb1898

    T-Mobile is really shaking things up! I have got to check their coverage and LTE speed again.

    • On a Clear Day

      Makes you glad you are not AT&T, Verizon and Sprint!

      I used to sell cell phones and frankly could never understand why anyone would lock themselves into a contract or in the case of Verizon and Spring CDMA or, in the case of AT & T – though we are talking GSM – allow oneself to bow and scrape to AT & T’s also constrictive ecosystem.

      T-Mobile has simply, astutely, chosen to remove from their business model THE biggest, most onerous hassles in the mobile device market – contracts, upgrades, and now tethering and consciously do what they can to make our experience less rather than more problematic. Basically, they have chosen to focus on making us happy and win our hearts by courting us, rather than deviously doing their best to seduce us with sugar coated “offers”.

      Gee, what a novel concept – caring about a customer’s happiness rather than trying to manipulate the customer and the market in service of one’s cash cow.

      Makes the choice of whom to go with rather easy.

  • rgoos1

    T-Mobile is really focusing on the customer. I really believe this going to be the only way to do business and see growth. The technology service space is so saturated you have to give customers a real reason to stay or switch to your service(s). Hats off to T-Mobile for being bold, taking risks, and thinking about people first.

  • Doug Ford

    When are us normal postpaid unlimited folks gonna see a bump in domestic roaming allotments? I pay the most as a customer every month compared to cheaper plans but they get more roaming.

    I’d even PAY extra for a few hunded megs per month.

    If i travel internationally i could use whatever after the recent changes…..but nope, not here on my own soil.

    50MB blows.

    • Torry Skurski

      I keep asking this same thing! I find it irritating that you can go to China and roam for free, but you can’t go to Iowa for more than a few hours before all your data is completely cut off!

  • mmmmmbop

    So does this or does this not apply to the $30 unlimited data plan?

    • Nathan Buffington

      I wish, but I don’t think so. They don’t really promote it but anything is possible! Hopefully someone can find an answer..???

      • Twitchy_Fool

        I’m on the $30/month Unlimited Text & Web plan.

        Me: There’s a line on my account page that says, “Mobile Hotspot Usage, 0.6MB/100.0MB,” but when I try to use my phone as a hotspot, it says, “Hotspot service isn’t included in your rate plan.” Can you help me figure this out?

        T-Mobile: You don’t have Mobile Hotspot service on your account.

        Me: Then how come there’s a line that says I have 100MB limit for mobile hotspot, and HOW did I use 0.6MB?

        T-Mobile: You have unlimited data, but a 5GB limit on 4G. After that, all of your data is at 2G speeds.

        Me: I’m not asking you about my data limits, I’m asking you about mobile hotspot.

        T-Mobile: You don’t have Mobile Hotspot service on your account.

        This went on for a few more minutes, ala Abbott and Costello, until she finally put me on the long hold. When she came back, she said:

        (T-Mobile:) We suggest you disregard that line and refresh the Web page.


        Nothing to see here, folks!

        • Nathan Buffington

          Hey, I don’t know a lot of people witht this plan but I was wondering how recently you got it/changed phones on it because I got my Nexus 4 on it a year ago and planning to switch to the Nexus 5 now, am I correct to think that I can just pop my Sim card out of my N4 and into my new one, or will I have to go through a process?

          • Twitchy_Fool

            Hmmm, I’m no expert on such things, but I *think* you should be able to just swap sims if you get a Tmo version of the N5. If you get an unlocked version, there may be more to it than that.

            I got my Tmo Galaxy Note II from ebay 6 months ago. Just purchased the sim online from Tmo Web site and popped it in. Nothing to it.

            Keep in mind that swapping sims won’t transfer your data. If it’s all in the cloud, no problem; if it’s on a microSD card, it’s as simple as moving the card, and if it’s on the phone’s memory, you’ll have to do some data transfer.