T-Mobile plans

T-Mobile is the third most popular wireless carrier in the United States. It currently has 84.2 million customers as of October 2019.

While that’s well behind the subscription numbers of the number one and two US carriers — Verizon Wireless and AT&T, respectively — T-Mobile has been aggressively going after both of them with new promotions and changes to its plans.

Interestingly, T-Mobile is currently the only carrier among the top four in the US that only offers unlimited data plans for new post-paid smartphone customers. If you want to buy a phone on a T-Mobile Plan, you will need to sign up for unlimited data.

However, if you have already purchased a phone in full, T-Mobile also offers pre-paid plans that include options with both unlimited and limited data.

Related: Here are the best carrier plans in the US

Let’s jump in and look at the very best T-Mobile plans you can buy depending on your needs!

Post-paid T-Mobile plans: Essentials, Magenta, and Magenta Plus

T-Mobile plans

There are three main unlimited T-Mobile plans from which to choose: Essentials, Magenta, and Magenta Plus. However, there are some unique plans that are only available for specific customers, too.

Keep in mind that nearly every T-Mobile plan is slightly cheaper if you elect to use autopay, usually by $5 for each line. The prices described below all include this discount.

T-Mobile Essentials

The T-Mobile Essentials plan costs $60 per month for one line, $45 each for two lines, $35 each for three lines, $30 each per month for four lines, and $27 each per month for five lines. This makes it the cheapest way for regular customers to join a T-Mobile post-paid plan.

It offers unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data all across the United States. It also offers unlimited texting in almost every international destination and gives you unlimited 2G data when visiting Mexico and Canada. International phone calls get charged on a per-minute basis and international data has its own charges, too.

Video streaming is limited to SD resolution (480p), and unlimited mobile hotspot data is available but limited to 3G speeds.

Taxes and related fees are not included with your base charge on T-Mobile Essentials.

Get T-Mobile Essentials

T-Mobile Magenta

The basic T-Mobile Magenta unlimited plan costs $70 per month for one line, $60 per month each for two lines, $47 per month each for three lines, $35 per month each for four lines, and $32 per month for each additional line.

It offers unlimited talk, text, and data in the US and those perks continue while you are visiting Canada and Mexico. However, in Canada and Mexico, you’ll only have 5GB of highspeed 4G LTE data each month before getting knocked down to unlimited 2G speeds.

When traveling outside of the US, Canada, and Mexico, you’ll see unlimited 2G data and unlimited texts. Phone calls will cost you a set fee for each minute of talk.

T-Mobile Magenta also offers customers 3GB of high-speed 4G LTE mobile hotspot data per month, per line, with unlimited 3G speeds after that.

If you are traveling on a plane with Gogo internet service, T-Mobile Magenta offers unlimited texting and one hour of free Wi-Fi data on those flights. It also offers the Netflix Basic streaming subscription service for free if you have two or more lines (see further down this article for more). If you want to stream video from other sources such as YouTube, T-Mobile Magenta offers unlimited streaming, but just at SD (480p) resolution.

Taxes and fees are included with your base charge on T-Mobile Magenta.

T-Mobile Magenta Plus

If you want some extras, you can sign up for the T-Mobile Magenta Plus plan which offers everything the main Magenta plan offers but with a bit more. It costs $85 per month for a single line, $70 per month each for two lines, $57 per month each for three lines, $43 per month each for four lines, and $40 per month for each additional line.

In addition to all the benefits of T-Mobile Magenta, the Plus plan offers the Netflix Standard service for free for accounts with two or more lines and boosts video streaming for other services up to HD resolutions (720p). You’ll also get free unlimited Wi-Fi access via Gogo when flying.

As opposed to the regular Magenta plan, Magenta Plus subscribers get unlimited international data speeds that are twice as fast. However, that’s still just 256Kbps, which isn’t much.

Mobile hotspot data is boosted to 4G LTE speeds for the first 20GB on your billing cycle, before going back to 3G speeds.

Finally, taxes and fees are included with your base charge on T-Mobile Magenta Plus.

T-Mobile Magenta and Magenta Plus Unlimited 55

T-Mobile also has two Magenta plans for specific customers who are 55 years of age and older. The plans are essentially the same as detailed above but slightly cheaper and geared towards couples.

For Magenta Unlimited 55, you’ll be charged $35 per month each for two lines with taxes and fees included. That means two people that meet the age criteria can get unlimited data for a total of just $70 per month. The plan has all the benefits of the standard Magenta plan, with the exception of free Netflix.

Those same customers aged 55+ can also upgrade to Magenta Plus Unlimited 55, which has all of the benefits of Magenta Plus for $90 per month for two lines, and that does include free Netflix Standard.

T-Mobile Essentials Unlimited 55

The newest of the T-Mobile plans is called T-Mobile Essentials Unlimited 55. As with T-Mobile Magenta Unlimited 55, this new plan is for its customers that are 55 years of age and older. It costs just $27.50 per month for one line or $55 per month for two lines. However, taxes and fees aren’t included in those prices.

This plan has everything included with the regular T-Mobile Essentials plan: unlimited talk, text, and data in the US, unlimited texting abroad, and unlimited 2G data in Mexico and Canada. Video streaming is limited to SD resolution, and mobile hotspot data is available, but just at 3G speeds.

T-Mobile Magenta Military and First Responder

If you are a current or veteran member of the US military or are part of a military family, you can sign up for discounts on Magenta and Magenta Plus plans. The Magenta Military plan offers the same benefits as the standard Magenta plan for just $25 per month for each line, up to four lines. Magenta Military Plus offers the same benefits as the Magenta Plus plan for just $35 a month for each line, up to four lines.

These same prices apply for people who are employed as first responders. In either case, you will need to prove your military or first responder status to get the discounts and taxes and fees are included with your base price.

How the T-Mobile Netflix on Us perk works

One of the best perks offered with T-Mobile plans is called Netflix on Us. As the name implies, it gets you free access to Netflix.

There are two tiers of Netflix on Us: Netflix Basic which allows for SD (480p) streaming on one device, and Netflix Standard which offers HD (720p) streaming on up to two devices. Here’s how the offer breaks down:

  • Netflix Basic comes free with:
    • Magenta
    • Magenta Military
    • Magenta First Responder
  • Netflix Standard comes free with:
    • Magenta Plus
    • Magenta Plus Military
    • Magenta Plus First Responder
    • Magenta Plus Unlimited 55

Any T-Mobile plans not on those lists do not get the Netflix on Us perk. Also, keep in mind that Netflix on Us does not kick in for any of the plans listed above until you add at least two lines. There is no Netflix on Us perk for any single-line accounts.

Related: The 12 best TV shows on Netflix you can binge right now

If you already have two lines on any of the plans above, you can open the T-Mobile app, visit MyT-Mobile.com, stop into a retail store, or call customer service to add the free Netflix subscription. New customers will be able to activate the perk once they sign up.

Once the promotion is activated on your account, you’ll receive a URL to link your T-Mobile account with your pre-existing Netflix account (if you don’t have Netflix yet, you’ll need to sign up first). It’s worth noting that if you’re an existing Netflix customer, it may take 1-2 Netflix billing cycles for your billing to transfer to your T-Mobile bill. Also, if you have signed up for the more expensive Netflix Premium subscription — which lets you stream on up to four devices simultaneously and offers 4K video streaming on some TVs — T-Mobile will still cover the cost of either the Basic or Standard fee (depending on which you qualify for), but you’ll need to pay the difference through your T-Mobile bill.

Tablets and other connected devices

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 on table with S Pen 2

T-Mobile allows customers to add an LTE-enabled tablet or wearable device to many of its plans for an additional monthly fee.

Related: The best Android tablets you can get right now

In addition to the various monthly fees listed below, you will also need to purchase a T-Mobile SIM card kit for a fee if you don’t already have one. As with smartphones, any device that uses over 50GB of 4G data in a one-month period could see deprioritization or even throttling.

This is what you’ll pay for tablets and wearables on the various plans:

 LTE TabletLTE Wearable
Essentials$15 line/month$10 line/month
Essentials Unlimited 55$20 line/month$10 line/month
Magenta$15 line/month$10 line/month
Magenta Unlimited 55$20 line/month$10 line/month
Magenta Military/First Resp.$20 line/month$10 line/month
Magenta Plus$20 line/month$10 line/month
Magenta Plus Unlimited 55$20 line/month$10 line/month
Magenta Plus Military/First Resp.$20 line/month$10 line/month

Pre-paid T-Mobile plans: Simply Pre-paid and Pre-paid Unlimited

If you don’t care about Netflix on Us, international texting and data, in-flight Wi-Fi, and the other perks of T-Mobile’s post-paid plans, you might want to think about pre-paid T-Mobile plans. These plans are usually cheaper but are very basic.

Unlike T-Mobile’s post-paid plans, you can choose between unlimited pre-paid plans or limited ones. As with the post-paid plans, though, you can choose to either bring your own device or buy one from T-Mobile.

The cheapest option is Simply Pre-paid which starts at one line for $40 per month and up to 10GB of 4G LTE data per month. Two lines will cost you a total of $70 per month, three lines a total of $100, four lines a total of $130, and five lines a total of $160. You can’t exceed five lines on one pre-paid account.

Related: Here are the best T-Mobile pre-paid plans

With Simply Pre-paid you also get unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot at 4G speeds, but any data used applies to your 10GB-per-month limit. You also get unlimited talk and text in the United States. If you go over your 10GB monthly data allotment, you will get throttled to 2G speeds for the remainder of your billing period.

If you don’t want the 10GB monthly limit, there’s also Simply Pre-paid Unlimited. This adds an extra $10 per month to the costs of regular Simply Pre-paid, but gives you the usual 50GB monthly limit before you are deprioritized. As a compromise, though, you lose out on seeing 4G speeds for your hotspot; instead, you are limited to just unlimited 3G speeds.

Whichever pre-paid option you choose, you will need to pay extra for international data, text, and calls, including to and from Mexico and Canada. You also will need to pay taxes and fees on top of your base price.

Which of the T-Mobile plans is right for you?

In general, the best plan for the single average user is the basic Magenta plan at $70 per month with all taxes and fees included. The Essentials plan for one line is not much cheaper since the $60-per-month fee doesn’t include taxes. Why not pay $70 per month as a flat fee and get the little extra perks of Magenta over Essentials?

If you are over 55 years old or a member of the military or first responder, the plans tailored specifically to you are perfect. You save money and get almost all the perks people get on the “normal” plans.

If you don’t use that much data and don’t care about the various perks of being a post-paid customer, the T-Mobile Simply Pre-paid plans are awesome and fairly priced.

Which plan do you have? Let us know in the comments and also let us know about your experience using T-Mobile.

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