Calling themselves “The Un-Carrier,” T-Mobile is the third largest carrier in the United States. Serving more than 67 million subscribers, the carrier is known for offering affordable prices and features you won’t find on other carriers.
Both prepaid and postpaid plans are available depending on your needs. Their latest postpaid offering, ONE, starts at $75 per month for a single line with discounts for each additional line. Prepaid services range between $3 and $60 per month for a single line of service.
If you need a phone, they offer multiple levels of device financing to help you find the perfect balance between down payments and monthly fees. You can also used most unlocked GSM/4G phones on their network!
Does This Carrier Fit My Needs?
- Affordable pricing
- Unlimited postpaid data plans
- Exclusive data-free streaming with popular content providers
- Flexible device financing
- No-contract plans available
- Bring your own device plans available
- Multi-line discounts
- Data speeds are throttled after thresholds are reached
- Video quality on unlimited streaming is reduced
- Lack of postpaid plan options
Unlimited Everything: No worries about how long you talk, text or browse the web in the continental US, Canada and Mexico.
Unlimited Travel: Worry-free text and data service in more than 140 countries.
Take to the Skies: Frequent flyers will enjoy 1 hour of free data on GoGo-enabled flights.
Get Thanked: Every Tuesday, you’ll find exclusive discounts, giveaways and prizes available on your account.
Awards and Recognitions
How is the Network Coverage and Speed?
T-Mobile claims their 4G LTE network covers 98% of Americans.
Data from OpenSignal breaks down T-Mobile network types as follows:
- 88% LTE (4G)
- 23% HSPA+ (4G)
- 5% UMTS (3G)
- 5% HSPA (3G)
You can check coverage and network types in your area using their Coverage Map.
According to OpenSignal’s crowdsourced data, 4G download speeds on the network average 11.2Mbits per second. Uploads come in at 7.3Mbits per second. On the older 3G network, downloads clocked in at 2.4Mbits per second on average with uploads reaching only 0.7Mbits per second.
Additional data from PC Magazine’s 2016 US study, “Fastest Mobile Networks,” rated 4G download speeds at 19.88Mbits per second and uploads at 18.02Mbits per second--the fastest upload average in the nation.
Ookla’s “US SpeedTest Market Report” showed similar findings with T-Mobile tying Verizon for first place in download speeds (21.02Mbits per second) and leading upload speeds (11.59Mbits per second) by a healthy margin.
Do They Charge Roaming Fees?
Roaming is rare with T-Mobile postpaid service. The new ONE plan includes unlimited data and texting in more than 140 countries around the world. Voice usage has a flat-rate fee of $0.20 per minute for all supported countries.
For other plans and prepaid customers, International Travel Passes help to reduce the fees of off-network usage.
For more information, consult the Roaming page.
Do They Charge Long Distance Fees?
For all plans, domestic calls within the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are always included with your monthly voice allotment.
If you plan to call abroad, you’ll likely want to use the Stateside International Talk add-on. For $15 this enables unlimited calling to landlines in 70+ countries and mobile numbers in 30+ countries. You’ll also enjoy discounted rates to more than 200 countries not covered in the unlimited sections.
You can find more about specific calling rates and options on the International Calling page.
Can I Tether My Phone?
Most of the postpaid plans with this carrier allow tethering at no additional charge. However, with the various throttling and video optimization features used to provide unlimited data, results are not always optimal. Also, when an account reaches the top 3% of usage (currently listed as approximately 26GB) data speeds may be throttled to 128kbps.
Prepaid plans do not support tethering.
Can I Rollover Unused Data?
The ONE plan provides unlimited data, therefore data rollover is not needed. However, they have offered data rollover--branded as “stashing”--in the past.
Prepaid plans do not support data rollover.
What Add-ons or Bundles are Available?
With their latest plans, there isn’t much to add in terms of features or expansion outside of the above-mentioned international calling add-ons.
Prepaid plans allow you to add data to your plan as needed. The $3 plan allows you to pick bundles of minutes, text and data for an additional fee to create a customized plan to fit your needs.
Can I Bring My Own Device?
Yes! You can bring your own device for both postpaid and prepaid plans. Unlocked phones must support band 2, 4 and 12 for optimal service.
You’ll find a helpful Compatibility Tool to help determine if your phone will work. If it is supported, all you need to do is buy a SIM and activate the line of service.
Does This Carrier Require a Credit Check?
There are no credit checks for prepaid service. This carrier also offers a monthly plan without credit checks.
However, their best monthly plans and device financing plans require a credit check. At the time of writing, this is a "hard" credit check. This means the check will likely appear on your credit report.
To run the credit check, the carrier will need:
- Your name
- Current address
In some cases, a government-issued ID--such as a Driver's License, State Identification Card or Passport--is required as well.
NOTE: Credit checks from carriers that pull your credit bureau report may impact your credit score. If you're not sure the best options for your credit profile, we suggest contacting the carrier directly before attempting to obtain service.
For more information on credit check requirements and how they might affect your account, consult their Credit Check FAQs page.
Do They Charge an Early Termination Fee?
Yes and no. While there is no term contract for service, device financing agreements and other commitments may require payment in full at the time of cancellation.
The T-Mobile Terms and Conditions states:
“As the Un-Carrier, we did away with annual service contracts. You are free to go, although we’d be sad to see you leave. You are responsible for all Charges incurred through the end of your Service term. In addition, cancellation of Service may affect other agreements that you have with us, including equipment installment plans or lease agreements where some of your payments may be accelerated upon cancellation.”
Can I Port My Number To or From T-Mobile?
Yes! T-Mobile follows all Local Number Portability requirements allowing you to bring your existing landline or mobile phone number to your new account.
General requirements include:
- The account with which the number is associated must be active and in good standing.
- The number must be in an area in which Local Number Portability regulations are in effect.
They recommend calling customer care to start the process. This ensures a smooth transition between providers.
You can find out additional information about the process at the Transfer Your Number to T-Mobile page.
Will They Unlock My Phone?
Provided you meet unlocking requirements, they will unlock up to 2 locked phones for free in a 12-month period.
Requirements for postpaid phones include:
- The phone must be locked to the T-Mobile network
- The phone must not be reported lost, stolen or blocked.
- The account with which the phone is associated must be active and in good standing
- The phone must be on active with T-Mobile for at least 40 days
- Device financing commitments must be met in full prior to unlocking
Requirements for prepaid phones include:
- Phone must be active for at least 12 months or received at least $100 in service refills before unlocking.
For additional information on the unlocking process, see their Unlock Your Mobile Wireless Device page.
For additional questions about pricing, features and coverage, be sure to check our T-Mobile Q&A Forum. It’s filled with questions and answers from people like you looking to get the most out of their mobile service!
If you spot any errors or missing information, please let us know, it's definitely appreciated and will help make this page better for everyone.