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Everything you need to know about T-Mobile

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Allconnect

Jul 28, 2020 — 11 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
  • Excellent discounts for new customers, seniors, first responders and military/veterans
  • 5G download speeds at T-Mobile are slower than other carriers

T-Mobile pricing

T-Mobile has good pricing on a variety of unlimited plans, including special discounts for seniors over 55, military and first responders.

T-Mobile offers three unlimited plans. These are Essentials, Magenta and Magenta Plus. All three plans feature unlimited calls, unlimited texts and unlimited data. The cost of the various unlimited plans ranges from a low of $60/mo. to a high of $85/mo. In addition, there’s the Unlimited 55, Military (including veterans) and First Responder specific plans, all of which are discounts for specific segments of the population.

The average price for T-Mobile’s unlimited plans is $51/mo., compared to $63 for Verizon, $59 for AT&T and $48 for Sprint.

At T-Mobile you won’t find other plans giving you less than unlimited data, but there are prepaid plans. These are an excellent choice for some people since they don’t have an annual contract, there are no data coverage 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 handset from T-Mobile. 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.

Netflix on Us

T-Mobile has a very popular promotion in which a Netflix subscription is included if you sign up for their Magenta family plan. 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 paid to T-Mobile.

Switch and Save Big

T-Mobile is making a big push to recruit new customers from competitors AT&T and Verizon. Customers coming from these two carriers can save up to 50% off their current monthly bill. The 50% is based on the average cost of $212/mo. for four lines at AT&T or Verizon, which includes an average cost of $72 in equipment charges. T-Mobile’s cost for four lines on their Essentials Unlimited plan is just $105. The savings includes the Keep and Switch promotion.

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 an iPhone 11 for free

New customers who bring their existing number from an eligible carrier can receive a $500 credit on a new iPhone 11, or get the device for free depending on what handset they have to trade-in. Users simply need to switch carriers and bring their existing number along to T-Mobile. Purchase an iPhone 11 64GB on a monthly payment plan, and then trade in an eligible device. To receive a free iPhone 11 trade in one of the following devices:

  • Apple: iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus
  • Samsung: Galaxy S20 series, Galaxy S10 series, Galaxy Note10, Galaxy Note9
  • Google: Pixel 4, Pixel 4XL
  • OnePlus: 8, 8 Pro, 7T, 7T Pro 5G McLaren
  • LG: V60 ThinQ

Or receive a $500 credit by trading one of the following devices:

  • Apple: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus
  • Samsung: Galaxy S9 series, Galaxy S8 series, Galaxy Note8
  • Google: Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, Pixel 3A, Pixel 3A XL
  • OnePlus: 6, 6T, 7 Pro, 7
  • LG: G8 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, V50 ThinQ, V40 ThinQ

Get up to $700 off iPhone 11 Pro

New customers who bring their existing number from an eligible carrier can receive a $500 or $700 credit on a new iPhone 11 Pro. Users simply need to switch carriers and bring their existing number along to T-Mobile. Purchase an iPhone 11 Pro on a monthly payment plan, and then trade in an eligible device. To receive a free iPhone 11 Pro trade in one of the following devices:

Get up to $700 off:

  • Apple: iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus
  • Samsung: Galaxy S20 series, Galaxy S10 series, Galaxy Note10 series, Galaxy Note9
  • Google: Pixel 4, Pixel 4XL
  • OnePlus: 8, 8 Pro, 7T, 7T Pro 5G McLaren
  • LG: V60 ThinQ

Get up to $500 off:

  • Apple: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus
  • Samsung: Galaxy S9 series, Galaxy S8 series, Galaxy Note8
  • Google: Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, Pixel 3A, Pixel 3A XL
  • OnePlus: 6, 6T, 7 Pro, 7
  • LG: G8 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, V50 ThinQ, V40 ThinQ

Get up to 50% off the new iPhone SE

New and existing customers are eligible for this promotion. Simply purchase an iPhone SE on a monthly payment plan and activate a new line of service to receive a $200 bill credit.

Get 50% off iPhone XS

Good for all new and existing customers. Purchase an iPhone XS on a monthly payment plan and activate a new line of service to receive 24 monthly credits equaling 50% of the cost of the iPhone XS.

Buy an Apple Watch and get $100 off a second Apple Watch

This promotion is for new customers who join T-Mobile with two or more eligible lines with DIGITS. Buy one Apple Watch Series 3 or Series 5 and get $100 off a second one.

Get 50% off the new OnePlus 8 5G

This deal is good for all new and existing customers. Purchase a OnePlus 8 5G on a monthly payment plan and activate a new line of service to receive 24 monthly credits equaling 50% of the cost of the OnePlus 8 5G.

Save $350 on the OnePlus 7T

This promotion is good for all new and existing customers. Simply purchase a OnePlus 7T on a monthly payment plan and activate a new line of service to receive 24 monthly credits equaling $350.

Buy one Samsung Galaxy phone and get a second for free

New customers who join T-Mobile with two lines of service or more are eligible to receive a free Samsung Galaxy device when buying another of the same device. The models available for this offer include: Samsung Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy Note10+ 5G, Galaxy Note10, Galaxy S10 or Galaxy S10e. The devices must be purchased on a monthly payment plan and T-Mobile will give a $1,000 bill credit or the value of the second device, whichever is lower.

Get 50% off the new Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

This is an easy one. Simply join T-Mobile with an eligible plan, purchase a Samsung Galaxy A71 5G on a monthly payment plan, and T-Mobile will pay out 24 monthly bill credits equaling $300.

Get a free Samsung Galaxy Tab A

For this deal, good for all new and existing customers, you need to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Tab A on a monthly payment plan and activate a new line of service to receive 24 monthly credits, equaling $264.

Buy a Samsung Galaxy Watch, get a second one free

Getting a free Samsung Galaxy smartwatch from T-Mobile is as simple as joining with a new plan that has at least two lines that are paired with DIGITS. Purchase two new 40mm, 44mm or 46mm Samsung Galaxy Watches on a monthly payment plan and you’ll receive monthly bill credits over 24 months equal to the cost of the lower-priced watch.

Get a free 4G LTE tablet

All new and existing customers can take advantage of this deal. Add a new line and buy the Alcatel JOY TAB on a monthly payment plan with a 2GB or higher rate plan. You’ll receive a $7 bill credit each month for 24 months.

Get 50% off the Alcatel JOY TAB Kids when you add a line

This promotion is good for all new and existing customers. Add a new line and buy the Alcatel Joy Tab Kids on a monthly payment plan with a 2GB or higher rate plan. You’ll receive a $4 bill credit for 24 months.

Get a free smartphone for new lines

Customers who activate a new line on a qualified plan (all but Select Choice) can receive a free smartphone. Eligible handsets are the LG Aristo 4+, LG Aristo 5, LG K40, LG Stylo 5, LG K51, Samsung Galaxy A10e, T-Mobile REVVLRY or Motorola moto g7 power. The phone must be purchased on a monthly payment plan and the customer will receive 24 monthly bill credits equalling the value of the device.

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. 

How do T-Mobile’s cellphone prices compare?

T-Mobile has a huge array of mobile devices available, including smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. It carries devices from the following manufacturers:

  • Alcatel
  • Apple
  • Google
  • LG
  • OnePlus
  • Samsung
  • T-Mobile

When considering the prices charged for these phones, T-Mobile falls pretty much right within the middle of the pack. However, they also have frequent discounts on their devices, which means you can often find good deals that include buy one get one free, as well as 50% discounts on devices and in some cases entirely free devices.

T-Mobile’s average phone price after discounts is $800, compared to $501 for AT&T, $761 for Verizon and $820 for Sprint.

Looking at the popular Apple iPhone models shows that without discounts T-Mobile is at the higher end of the price spectrum when compared with the other large carriers. The same is true for Samsung phones, although the prices for LG devices are slightly lower than many of T-Mobile’s competitors. Basically, you will want to wait for a sale when buying devices from T-Mobile, or bring your own.

T-Mobile coverage and speed

While T-Mobile doesn’t have the very best wireless coverage and speed, it is still one of the best overall providers.

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 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. In research by OpenSignal T-Mobile was found to have the best 5G connectivity of any U.S. provider by far. 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, which is far greater with T-Mobile than with its competitors.

So, for example, Verizon has the best download speeds by far at 506.1 Mbps, however users are only connected to 5G and able to take advantage of that download speed 0.5% of the time.

By contrast T-Mobile’s 5G download speeds are just 47.0 Mbps, but users are connected to 5G to take advantage of the 5G downloads 19.8% 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 in 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 the only 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:

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 for T-Mobile ONE Plans.

Can I use my current phone number if I switch to T-Mobile?

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.

Is 5G service available in my area?

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.

What is Scam Shield?

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.

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.

By Steven Walters