Everything you need to know about T-Mobile

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Oct 15, 2020 — 6 min read

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  • T-Mobile has the largest 5G network of any carrier
  • Rated best major carrier in 2020 by J.D. Power and the American Customer Satisfaction Index
  • Includes Netflix or Quibi with all Magenta and Magenta Plus plans with two or more lines
  • Excellent discounts for new customers, seniors, first responders and military/veterans
  • 5G download speeds at T-Mobile are slower than other carriers

Since its merger with Sprint in August 2020, T-Mobile has become the largest wireless carrier in the nation. According to most third-party testing services, it was neck and neck with Verizon for the best coverage in the U.S. After absorbing Sprint and its network, it almost certainly has the number one spot all to itself. 

All of T-Mobile’s plans provide unlimited data, but there are a number of prepaid plans to choose from as well. These are an excellent choice for some people looking to save, since they don’t have an annual contract, there are no data overage charges and there is no credit check requirement. Note that you can’t buy a phone from T-Mobile and use a prepaid plan. The prepaid option is only available if you bring your own phone.

While the data plans are competitive with other major carriers, you can expect to pay top dollar when purchasing a T-Mobile phone. There simply aren’t many low-priced phone options when compared with others, particularly Verizon and AT&T.

T-Mobile promotions and deals

T-Mobile offers a very popular free Netflix subscription, large discounts on unlimited plans and a huge array of mobile device discounts.

Free Netflix or Quibi

T-Mobile has a very popular promotion in which a subscription to Netflix or Quibi is included if you sign up for two or more lines on the Magenta or Magenta Plus plans. The Magenta plan comes with a basic Netflix subscription that allows standard definition streaming to one device at a time, and the Magenta Plus plan comes with a standard Netflix subscription that allows for high-definition streaming to two devices concurrently. 

Both options require a minimum of two lines on the plan. It’s also possible to sign up for Netflix Premium and stream to four devices at the same time. The cost difference is then paid by T-Mobile.

Keep and Switch

Another promotion meant to bring AT&T and Verizon customers to T-Mobile is the Keep and Switch promotion. With this deal T-Mobile agrees to reimburse customers who switch from AT&T or Verizon for up to $450/line when they bring select phones along to use on the T-Mobile network. 

The reimbursement is for the remaining device payoff amount, and is paid via a virtual prepaid card. In order to take advantage of the Keep and Switch program, users must have an eligible unlocked phone, a device financing agreement on an eligible device with AT&T or Verizon and have had the agreement for at least 90 days on that network.

Get a third line free

New and existing single-line customers signing up for two qualifying voice lines of Essentials, Magenta or Magenta Plus can get another line on the family plan for free. The free line comes via monthly bill credits. 

T-Mobile Tuesdays

T-Mobile Tuesdays is an app that lets you take advantage of weekly deals from a number of T-Mobile’s partners. All you need to do is open the app on a Tuesday and see what you’ve qualified for. So far, T-Mobile has given away free offers and prizes from brands like MLB.tv, Dunkin’, Redbox, Taco Bell, Atom Tickets, Live Nation and Shell. All T-Mobile and Sprint cellphone numbers will be able to cash in on these promotions.

TVision streaming service

One new perk for T-Mobile customers is the option to sign up for the company’s new live TV streaming service, TVision. Packages cost anywhere from $10 to $60/mo. and include around 40 channels. Our review of the service found that it falls in the middle of the pack compared to similar services — it’s missing regional sports networks for sports fans — but it might have everything some customers need.

T-Mobile coverage and speed

With Sprint now a part of its network, T-Mobile has the most extensive coverage in the country. 

T-Mobile rates well for its network coverage and speed, however, at times the reports from the major independent testing and rating agencies will differ, primarily due to the different testing methodology used by each firm. In general, T-Mobile’s rural coverage isn’t quite as good as its urban coverage, but with its merger with Sprint that issue has largely been addressed.

T-Mobile remains one of the better mobile providers in the U.S., with one of the fastest 4G networks and one of the most reliable 5G networks available. While the 4G download speeds do leave something to be desired, they do tend to be better in urban areas, and with the addition of Sprint’s networks should improve overall.

How is T-Mobile’s 5G network?

T-Mobile’s 5G network has greater 5G download speeds when compared with its own 4G network, however when compared with other major U.S. carriers, the 5G download speeds are quite slow. Making up for that is the percentage of time users are actually able to connect to 5G. In research by OpenSignal, T-Mobile was found to have the best 5G availability of any U.S. provider by far. 

For example, Verizon has the best download speeds by far at 494.7 Mbps, but users are only connected to 5G and able to take advantage of that download speed 0.4% of the time. By contrast, T-Mobile’s 5G download speeds are just 49.2 Mbps, but users are connected to 5G to take advantage of the 5G downloads 22.5% of the time. So even though T-Mobile has slower downloads, users are connected and taking advantage of 5G far more often.

As far as coverage goes, T-Mobile has the largest 5G coverage of any carrier. They offer 5G service in all 50 states in the U.S., plus Puerto Rico. 5G coverage is available in over 6,000 cities and towns and covers 225 million users. This makes T-Mobile the first and only carrier with nationwide 5G coverage in the U.S.

How does T-Mobile compare to other wireless providers?

T-Mobile has improved its performance and customer service dramatically, while also rolling out its expansive nationwide 5G network.

Based on data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), T-Mobile is the highest rated of all the major carriers. It’s also encouraging to see that their score has been steadily moving higher over the past 15 years. And according to the 2020 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study by J.D. Power, T-Mobile ranks highest among full-service carriers with a score of 848. Verizon Wireless is second with a score of 817 and AT&T ranks third with a score of 793.

One of the factors putting T-Mobile ahead of its competition is its solid customer service team. Users who rely heavily on data also benefit from T-Mobile’s unlimited plans, which include all taxes and fees and come without any contracts.

There remain some weaknesses with the carrier, such as its slow download speeds in comparison with rivals. And its 4G coverage is weaker than its competitors.

When it comes to costs, T-Mobile is neither the cheapest, nor the most expensive carrier. There are some segments of the population that can benefit from T-Mobile’s special offers, such as seniors who can use the Unlimited 55+ plan to get two lines of service on the Magenta plan for just $70 versus the usual cost of $120. First responders and military personnel can also take advantage of special rates.

T-Mobile customer service

As you might guess from T-Mobile’s high scores from J.D. Power, Consumer Reports and the ACSI, customer service is a high priority at T-Mobile and it does it quite well. That’s a huge improvement from a decade ago, when T-Mobile was still one of the worst-rated major carriers. If customer service is important to you, T-Mobile should not disappoint. Here’s how you can reach them:

Should you switch to T-Mobile?

The offerings from T-Mobile, particularly their special discounts, are some of the best you’ll find from the big carriers. With fast 4G LTE and the largest 5G network, by far, T-Mobile is working hard to set itself ahead of the competition.

Unlimited plans are fairly priced when compared with the competition — not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive. There are especially good discounts for seniors, first responders and military/veterans. Customer service is outstanding and T-Mobile is already setting itself apart in that regard. Overall, T-Mobile is a solid choice, especially if you can take advantage of some of the excellent offers on switching carriers.

T-Mobile FAQs

Which T-Mobile plans include Netflix?

Free Netflix is included in all Magenta and Magenta Plus plans. That includes Magenta Military and Magenta Plus Military, Magenta First Responder and Magenta Plus First Responder, as well as Unlimited 55 for Magenta and Magenta Plus. In addition, Netflix is discounted to just $2/mo. for T-Mobile ONE Plans.

In nearly every case you can, although there are rare circumstances where T-Mobile doesn’t have a transfer agreement with the original provider. Just stop by any T-Mobile store or call 800-T-MOBILE to get started.

T-Mobile has the largest 5G network in the U.S. and it covers over 1 million square miles. You can check specific 5G (and 4G LTE) locations at this coverage map. In addition, all T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile accounts have access to 5G for free.

This is T-Mobile’s built-in scam protection service and it’s included with every T-Mobile account. It gives customers access to T-Mobile’s anti-scam protections like Scam ID, Scam Block and Caller ID.

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By Steven Walters