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Want the Uncarrier's service on the cheap? Consider a T-Mobile MVNO instead

You can get T-Mobile service for even less via a prepaid carrier.
By
February 13, 2024
T Mobile logo on phone stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

T-Mobile is known for having some of the cheapest plans out of all three of the major postpaid carriers. Unfortunately, the Uncarrier’s prices have crept closer to its competition recently. While T-Mobile still offers competitive pricing, the cheapest way to enjoy T-Mobile is to use a T-Mobile MVNO.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at the best T-Mobile MVNOs you should consider. Don’t understand what a T-Mobile MVNO is exactly? We explain what it is and why you might want to consider one towards the bottom of this post. 

Consider Metro by T-Mobile

Metro by T Mobile logo on phone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Metro by T-Mobile isn’t actually an MVNO, as it is owned directly by T-Mobile itself. There are many reasons to consider Metro, including decent pricing and a few potential perks like international texting. Although the carrier offers limited or no data “Heritage” plans, in most cases, we recommend going with an unlimited plan. 

Here are more details on what you get with Metro’s unlimited options: 

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60
Cost
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40
$40 for one line
$80 for two lines
$90 for three lines
$100 for four lines
$125 for five lines
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50
$50 for one line
$80 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$140 for four lines
$170 for five lines
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$120 for three lines
$150 for four lines
$180 for five lines
Unlimited talk and text
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40
Yes
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50
Yes
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60
Yes
Data
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40
Unlimited LTE/5G
May see congestion after 35GB
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50
Unlimited LTE/5G
May see congestion after 35GB
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60
Unlimited LTE/5G
May see congestion after 35GB
International
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40
Not included
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50
Not inlcuded
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60

Unlimited texting to 210+
countries and destinations
Extras
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40
T-Mobile Tuesdays
ScamShield
1 year access to VIX Premium
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50
T-Mobile Tuesdays
ScamShield
1 year access to VIX Premium
100 GB Google One
8GB hotspot access
Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60
T-Mobile Tuesdays
ScamShield
1 year access to VIX Premium
100 GB Google One
25GB hotspot access

Need more reasons to consider Metro?

  • Metro has brick-and-mortar locations across the country. There are only a few prepaid carriers out there, like Cricket, that can match this. 
  • Above-average customer support. Not just because of brick-and-mortar access. Metro is also known for its great online and phone-based customer service.
  • You get T-Mobile extras like T-Mobile Tuesday discounts and other benefits that are typically reserved for postpaid carriers.
  • All the prices include taxes and other fees, so there is nothing hidden to worry about.
 

The best T-Mobile MVNOs at a glance

Google Fi Wireless logo on smartphone with SIM card and SIM ejector next to it Stock photo 7
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There are a lot of T-Mobile MVNOs, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. Here are some of our favorites:

Google Fi Wireless

FlexibleSimply UnlimitedUnlimited Plus
Cost
Flexible
$20/mo + $10/GB per month for 1 line
$35/mo + $10/GB per month for 2 lines
$50/mo + $10/GB per month for 3 lines
$65/mo + $10/GB per month for 4 lines
$80/mo + $10/GB per month for 5 lines
$95/mo + $10/GB per month for 6 lines
Simply Unlimited
$50 per month for 1 line
$80 per month for 2 lines ($40 per line)
$80 per month for 3 lines (previously $25 per line, now $26.67 per line)
$80 per month for 4 lines ($20 per line)
$100 per month for 5 lines ($20 per line)
$120 per month for 6 lines ($20 per line)
Unlimited Plus
$65 per month for 1 line
$110 a month for 2 lines ($55 per line)
$135 per month for 3 lines ($45 per line)
$160 per month for 4 lines ($40 per line)
$200 per month for 5 lines ($40 per line)
$240 per month for 6 lines ($40 per line)
Talk & Text
Flexible
Unlimited
Simply Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited Plus
Unlimited
Data
Flexible
$10 per GB used until you reach limit
Simply Unlimited
Up to 35GB of free, unmetered data
Unlimited Plus
Up to 50GB of free, unmetered data
Hotspot
Flexible
Full-speed at $10 per GB rate
Simply Unlimited
5GB of Wi-Fi hotspot tethering per person
Unlimited Plus
Full-speed included
International
Flexible
Free calls from US to Canada and Mexico.
On an iPhone, when you travel outside of the US, tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot options are not available.
Simply Unlimited
Free calls from US to Canada and Mexico
No international calls, texts, and data outside the US, Canada, and Mexico
Unlimited Plus
Free calls from US to over 50 countries.
Unlimited data and texts in over 200 countries or regions.
Extras
Flexible
Data free after per-month limit
Simply Unlimited
None
Unlimited Plus

100GB of Google One storage for each group plan member.

One year of YouTube Premium per user at no additional cost.

Google Fi Wireless offers both limited and unlimited data plans. For most users, we recommend Simply Unlimited. At $20 per line for four lines, you’ll get unlimited talk, text, data, and 5GB of mobile hotspot service per device. There’s also free roaming in Canada and Mexico. 

 

 

Mint Mobile

PlanCostTalk & TextDataExtras
Plan
Mint 5GB
Cost
$75 for three months
$120 for six months
$180 for 12 months
Talk & Text
Unlimited
Data
5GB LTE/5G access
Extras
Hotspot up to data limit
Plan
Mint 15GB
Cost
$105 for three months
$150 for six months
$240 for 12 months
Talk & Text
Unlimited
Data
15GB LTE/5G access
Extras
Hotspot up to data limit
Plan
Mint 20GB
Cost
$135 for three months
$210 for six months
$300 for 12 months
Talk & Text
Unlimited
Data
20GB LTE/5G access
Extras
Hotspot up to data limit
Plan
Mint Unlimited
Cost
$120 for three months
$210 for six months
$360 for 12 months
Talk & Text
Unlimited
Data
40GB premium data
Unlimited 4G/5G
Extras
10GB hotspot access

Mint Mobile has cheap pricing, though the catch is you have to pay far in advance to get the best pricing. For example, you’ll pay $360 a year for unlimited data, which works out to just $30 a month. This is one of the cheapest unlimited plans on T-Mobile’s network and actually enjoys pretty decent prioritization. All of Mint’s plans aren’t bad, as long as you’re willing to pay for a year all at once.  

Ultra Mobile

Limited dataUnlimited data
Cost
Limited data
$15-$39 per month (1 month)
$13-$27 per month (3 months)
$11-$35 per month (6 months)
$10-$30 per month (12 months)
Unlimited data
$49 per month (1 month)
$34.50 per month (3 months)
$45 per month (6 months)
$40 per month (12 months)
Talk & Text
Limited data
Unlimited
Unlimited data
Unlimited
Data
Limited data
250MB up to 15GB
Unlimited data
40GB
Hotspot
Limited data
Hotspot available up to data cap
Unlimited data
Hotspot available as part of the monthly limit
International Service
Limited data
Unlimited talk to 80 destinations
Monthly international long distance credit
One-time $5 international credit
Unlimited data
Unlimited talk to 80 destinations
Monthly international long distance credit
One-time $5 or $10 international credit

Ultra Mobile offers monthly plans as well as steeper discounts for those who want to pay 3, 6, or 12 months ahead. Yearly limited data plans will run you as little as $10-30 per month if you pay for a year in advance. Unlimited plans aren’t quite as impressive, at the equivalent of $40 per month if you pay for the year all at once. We’d recommend Ultra Mobile primarily for those interested in limited data. 

 

Boost Mobile

1GB Yearly Plan5GB PlanUnlimitedUnlimited Plus
Cost
1GB Yearly Plan
$100/yearly ($8.33/monthly)
5GB Plan
$15 per month
Unlimited
$25 a month
Unlimited Plus
$60 a month
Talk and Text
1GB Yearly Plan
Unlimited
5GB Plan
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited Plus
Unlimited
Data
1GB Yearly Plan
1GB per month
5GB Plan
5GB 4G LTE
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited Plus
Unlimited
Hotspot
1GB Yearly Plan
Included up to data cap
5GB Plan
Included up to data cap
Unlimited
None
Unlimited Plus
30GB included
International
1GB Yearly Plan
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month

5GB Plan
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
Unlimited
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International
Unlimited Plus
Todo Mexico included
Special terms
1GB Yearly Plan
New customers only
5GB Plan
Available to new customers only
Unlimited
$15 add-on gets you 12GB hotspot data
Unlimited Plus
None

Boost Mobile offers a range of plans, including a yearly plan for $100 (equal to $8.33 a month) that gives you just 1GB of data each month. The Unlimited Plan is probably the best value at just $25 a month, though be aware it has somewhat aggressive deprioritization during peak times or in majorly congested areas.  

 

 
Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our guide to the best prepaid carriers. You can also check out our guides for Verizon and AT&T if you want to consider another network. 

What is a T-Mobile MVNO?

T-Mobile not only provides its plans and services, but it also sells its network capacity in bulk to other businesses. These businesses can then do whatever they wish with this capacity, including creating their own mobile virtual network operator (or MVNO). That’s just a fancy way of saying it’s a carrier that piggybacks off another network.

These carriers typically use the prepaid model for payments, meaning you pay for services ahead of each month instead of receiving a bill for charges at the end of a billing period.

A T-Mobile MNVO might use T-Mobile’s network, but it is still completely responsible for its own marketing, customer service, promotions, phone selection, activations, and more. You can learn more in our guide to MVNOs.

The pros and cons of using a T-Mobile MVNO

So why use a T-Mobile MNVO instead of getting service directly from a carrier? There are several pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros:

  • You can save a lot of money! Prepaid carriers tend to charge significantly less for service.
  • You can easily switch networks if you find a better deal, as there are no contracts or commitments typically.
  • You don’t need good credit to qualify for a plan, though you’ll have to pass a credit check if you want to add a device payment plan (for those MNVOs that offer it).

Of course, there are also some notable cons:

  • There are fewer extras. T-Mobile offers several streaming perks and other incentives with its plans. Most MVNOs won’t be able to say the same. You’re getting fewer extras, but again that’s part of why you are saving money!
  • Throttling and deprioritization could be an issue for some prepaid carriers. While the T-Mobile Essentials plan actually has less priority than some MVNOs, the majority of T-Mobile’s plans have top priority.
  • Customer service is typically weaker than what you’ll get from T-Mobile. Brick-and-mortar stores are a rarity, if available at all, and some carriers only do customer service via the web.
  • Phone options often are weaker on prepaid carriers, though this isn’t the case for all of them.
  • You’ll get better roaming arrangements from T-Mobile directly. Many prepaid options will either have no roaming or very limited options.

Now that you know the pros and cons, let’s take a look at some of the best T-Mobile MNVOs at a glance.