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The best T-Mobile plans for 2020

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Allconnect

Aug 11, 2020 — 12 min read

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  • T-Mobile focuses on unlimited data plans and offers Netflix or Quibi for free on many selections
  • Special discounts for seniors over 55, military/veterans and first responders make T-Mobile an excellent choice for many
  • T-Mobile has the first and only nationwide 5G coverage, although download speeds are somewhat slower than competitors
  • Features many special deals on phones, smartwatches and tablets, plus T-Mobile Tuesdays for more savings

T-Mobile focuses primarily on unlimited plans, leaving the prepaid options with its Metro by T-Mobile brand. The unlimited plans from T-Mobile aren’t the cheapest out there, but they also aren’t the most expensive, either. Instead, they are right in the middle.

There are three basic tiers: Essentials, Magenta and Magenta Plus. T-Mobile also has special discounted plans for seniors over 55, military, veterans and first responders. These plans do represent excellent value.

In addition to their basic plans, T-Mobile also offers free Netflix or Quibi for subscribers to the Magenta and Magenta Plus plans. They also offer a free third line and very generous discounts for those coming from competitors Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile also carries a wide variety of phones, tablets and smartwatches, and will frequently run specials such as buy-one-get-one-free or 50% discounts on certain models.

T-Mobile unlimited plans

T-Mobile has three primary postpaid unlimited plans: Essentials, Magenta and Magenta Plus. In addition, it also offers discounted unlimited plans for seniors over 55, military/veterans and first responders. You’ll also get a $5 discount when you enroll in autopay.

The Essentials plan is their basic offering and is the least expensive way to get T-Mobile service. One line is $60/mo., while two lines are $90/mo. Customers get unlimited talk, text and data across the U.S. as well as unlimited texting globally and unlimited 2G data in Mexico and Canada. There are charges for international calls and data. Video streaming is capped at 480p, and while unlimited mobile hotspot data is available it is limited to 3G speeds.

The next level of service is the flagship T-Mobile Magenta unlimited plan. The price for this plan goes up a bit to $70/$120/$120/$140/mo. for one, two, three and four lines. You get everything from the Essentials plan, with some additions such as 5GB/mo. of 4G LTE data in Canada and Mexico and 3GB/mo. of 4G LTE hotspot speed per line. Another perk for travelers is one hour of Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi and unlimited in-flight texting. While those are nice perks, they don’t compare with the addition of a free Netflix Basic subscription (with two or more lines). Video streaming remains capped at 480p for this plan.

The top tier of service is Magenta Plus, which gives you everything from the Magenta plan, plus a bit more. The cost is also higher at $85/$140/$140/$170/mo. for one, two, three and four lines. The plan ups your Netflix subscription to Standard (with two or more lines) and gives high-definition resolutions of 720p. International travelers also get unlimited 256KB data speeds and 20GB/mo. of 4G LTE speed from mobile hotspots. And the Gogo in-flight services include unlimited texting and Wi-Fi. Additional features include voicemail into text and Name ID call blocker.

T-Mobile also offers unlimited prepaid plans, with two options: Prepaid Unlimited and Prepaid Unlimited Plus. Both plans offer unlimited talk, text and data in the U.S. The basic Prepaid Unlimited gives 3G mobile hotspot speed, while the Prepaid Unlimited Plus offers 10GB/mo. of 4G LTE mobile hotspot speed, then unlimited 3G speed. Price is $50/$80/$110/$140/mo. for one, two three and four lines of Prepaid Unlimited and $60/$90/$120/$150/mo. for one, two, three and four lines of Prepaid Unlimited Plus. The appeal of these plans is that no credit check is required and you won’t get charged for overages.

Extra perks

The top perk that most T-Mobile customers will take advantage of is the free Netflix or Quibi subscription. It comes with both the Magenta and Magenta Plus plans and requires a minimum of two lines. It’s also notable that the Magenta plan comes with Netflix Basic, which is standard-definition streaming at 480p to just one device. The Magenta Plus plan includes Netflix Standard, which gives high-definition streaming of 720p to up to two devices concurrently. Netflix Basic account is an $8.99/mo. value, while Standard is typically $12.99/mo. Users are also able to upgrade to Netflix Premium, which is normally $15.99/mo. That plan gives 4K Ultra HD streaming at 1080p and on up to four devices concurrently. The user is required to pay the difference in price.

It’s up to each individual user to decide if it’s in their best interest to choose T-Mobile simply based on the Netflix subscription. Since T-Mobile is already less expensive than AT&T and Verizon, the addition of Netflix could make T-Mobile the better choice, presuming you don’t already have Netflix.

Another neat little perk at T-Mobile is something they call T-Mobile Tuesdays, where users can get discounts and free stuff every week. It requires the download and installation of the T-Mobile Tuesdays app and then simply check the app every Tuesday to see what deals are on tap. Just a few examples: three months of unlimited free deliveries from Postmates; up to 40% off at Booking.com; a free Whopper from Burger King; and $0.25 off per gallon of gas at Shell.

T-Mobile prepaid plans

There are two prepaid plans under the T-Mobile Connect branding. These are low-cost plans that offer basic amounts of data. The most basic is $15/mo. for 2GB of monthly data. This also includes unlimited talk and text. Users can get 5GB of monthly data for just $25 too, which also includes unlimited talk and text. T-Mobile is also offering an annual data upgrade of 500MB every year for the five years after the plan launches.

For those who need a bit more data and are willing to pay for it there is a prepaid plan that offers 10GB/mo. of 4G LTE data for $40/$70/$100/$130/mo. for one, two, three and four  lines. The plan includes mobile hotspot access and shares the 10GB/mo. data access limit. Talk and text is unlimited.

One final offering is the Simple Choice Mobile Internet plan that offers just 4G LTE and mobile hotspot data for your devices. The data amounts and costs per month are as follows:

  • 2GB – $10
  • 6GB – $25
  • 10GB – $40
  • 14GB – $55
  • 18GB – $70
  • 22GB – $85

T-Mobile discounts

T-Mobile offers many different discounts, particularly on hardware. Deals are always changing, so check the T-Mobile deals hub for the latest offers.

Senior discount

There are also discounted Essential, Magenta and Magenta Plus plans for seniors over 55. Besides the obvious price differences the Unlimited 55 for seniors only includes Netflix at the Magenta Plus level. These plans are also capped at a maximum of two lines. Pricing for one and two lines is as follows: Essential $40/$55/mo., Magenta $50/$70/mo. and Magenta Plus $90/mo. for two lines (no one line option available).

Military, veterans and first responders discount

Besides these plans, T-Mobile also offers discounted Magenta and Magenta Plus plans for military, veterans and first responders. These plans are essentially the same as the base plans, but with discounts. The plans cost $55/$80/$90/$100/mo. for Magenta and $-/$100/$120/$140/mo. for Magenta Plus based on two, three and four lines. Note that it isn’t possible to get Magenta Plus coverage for just one line.

Switch and Save Big

T-Mobile is making a big push to recruit new customers from their 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 Keep and Switch. With this promotion, 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 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. 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 in 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 seies, 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

This promotion is good for all new and existing customers. 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

All new and existing customers can take advantage of this offer. 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 one Apple Watch and get $100 off another one

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 promotion 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

New and existing customers can 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 are: 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 all new and existing customers:  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 price of the lower-priced watch.

Get a free 4G LTE tablet

This promotion is good for all new and existing customers. 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

All new and existing customers can 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 plans compare to other carriers?

As you can see from the table below T-Mobile has the cheapest unlimited plan, although Sprint matches them. With the current promotion offering a free third line T-Mobile becomes the cheapest for two- and three-line packages, however Sprint is cheaper if the plan includes four lines. Of course these are all the most basic unlimited plans, without considering any other discounts or perks. 

Where T-Mobile really shines is in its special offerings for seniors, military/veterans and first responders. Those plans basically shave $15/mo. per line off the cost of the Magenta and Magenta Plus plans and are an excellent bargain for those that qualify. T-Mobile also outshines its competition when it comes to data throttling, with most competitors beginning to throttle after 20GB, while T-Mobile doesn’t throttle until usage hits 30GB. That’s a big deal.

Here’s how the cheapest unlimited plans compare from the major wireless carriers:

T-Mobile FAQs

Does T-Mobile pay the early termination fees from competitors?

In many cases users who switch from AT&T or Verizon can get their early termination fees reimbursed up to $450 by T-Mobile in the form of a virtual prepaid card. This is the T-Mobile Switch and Save promotion. See https://www.switch2t-mobile.com/ for more details.

Can I bring my old device and phone number to T-Mobile?

Not only can you bring your old phone, but with T-Mobile’s Keep and Save promotion you can get reimbursed if you still owe your old carrier money for your phone. You can find all the details here. You can also bring your old number with you to T-Mobile in most instances. In some rare cases T-Mobile may not have a transfer agreement with the company that issued the phone number originally, in which case the number cannot be transferred.

What are T-Mobile Tuesdays?

This is a special customer appreciation event held every Tuesday by T-Mobile. It features discounts on a variety of different products such as dining, travel, hotels and fuel. There are also weekly contests and drawings for even greater savings and prizes. Every T-Mobile customer is eligible to participate. But you must download the T-Mobile Tuesdays app and sign-in with your T-Mobile phone number.

Do I have to pay more for 5G service?

T-Mobile includes 5G service in all of its unlimited plans for free. There is no extra charge. And with the largest 5G network in the U.S., they have the best coverage, with users connected to 5G roughly 20% of the time.

By Steven Walters