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Prepaid Operator Profile: T-Mobile

This is another of Prepaid Phone News' series of comprehensive US prepaid mobile operator profiles. I will be posting new profiles frequently, starting with the best known carriers. Eventually these posts will cover all the major US mobile operators that offer prepaid plans as well as the MVNOs that offer a good value. For new T-Mobile service, dial (877) 479-3502.

Overview: T-Mobile USA is the third largest US mobile operator with 61 million subscribers, including 17 million branded prepaid and 13.6 million wholesale and MVNO subscribers, as of Q3, 2015.


GSM: T-mobile uses the 1900 Mhz band for GSM voice and for GPRS (2G), Edge (2.5G) data.

UMTS (including HSPA and HSPA+): T-Mobile historically has used the AWS band (1700 MHz for uplink, 2100 Mhz for downlink) that few non-T-Mobile phones support for UTMS. As of 2016, T-Mobile has moved UTMS service in most markets to the 1900 Mhz band that most non-T-Mobile phones, including older (pre iPhone 5s) iPhones, support.

LTE: T-Mobile has LTE 4G data on the bands 2, 4 and 12.

Plans: T-Mobile offers monthly plans and a $3/month pseudo pay as you go plan.

Pay As You Go Plan

T-Mobile's current "Pay As You Go" Plan is really a monthly plan. It costs $3/month which includes 30 minutes OR texts. Additional minutes or texts are 10¢ each deducted from the user's cash balance. Data add-ons are available: $5 for 500 MB good for one day; $10 for 1 GB good for 7 days.

Monthly Plans:
PriceTalk MinutesTextsIncluded Data
$3/mo "Pay As You Go"  30 minutes or texts30 minutes or texts $5 500 MB/1 day, $10 1 GB/7 days
$30/mo 1 100  (overage 10¢/min)unlimited Unlimited (throttled after 5 GB/month)
$40/mo Simply Prepaid unlimited unlimited Unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 3 GB/month)
$50/mo Simply Prepaid unlimited unlimited Unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 5 GB/month)
$50/mo Simple Choice 2 unlimited  unlimited Unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 2 GB/month)
$60/mo Simply Prepaid unlimited unlimited Unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 10 GB/month)
$65/mo Simple Choice 2 unlimited unlimited Unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps  after 6 GB/month)
$80/mo Simple Choice 2 unlimited unlimited Unlimited, (throttled to 128 Kbps  after 10 GB/month) 
$95/mo Simple Choice 2 unlimited unlimited Unlimited, (hotspot throttled to 128 Kbps  after 14 GB/month)
1 this plan is available only when activating a new SIM online at prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-activate. If you switch to another plan you can't switch back to the $30/month unlimited data plan except by activating a new SIM and account.
2 For BlackBerry users, BIS is included at no cost on $50 and higher plans

Simply Prepaid or Simple Choice? T-Mobile offers two types of prepaid unlimited monthly plans, Simply Prepaid and Simple Choice. Differences are:

  • Simply Prepaid plans are less expensive than Simply Choice plans with comparable amounts of high-speed data.
  • Simple Prepaid plans lack the following features which are exclusive to Simple Choice plans: unlimited international texts, unlimited video streaming and "Data Stash" rollover data ($65 and higher Simple Choice plans only).
  • Unlimited Canadian or Mexican calling and roaming is a $5 add-on on Simply Prepaid and included at no extra cost on Simple Choice plans.

Legacy Plans - no longer available to new customers!

Legacy Pay As You Go - No longer available to new customers
The legacy Pay As You Go plan was discontinued effective Aug. 17, 2014. Customers who were on the plan before 8/17/14 are grandfathered and can remain on the plan as long as they do not switch to another plan or allow their service to be terminated for non payment.

Domestic and international texts are 10¢ each incoming and outgoing, MMS (picture messages) are 25¢ each. The price per voice minute varies from 10¢ to 33¢ depending on the size of the refill card used as follows:

Top Up  Amount
Cost per Minute
$1030*$0.3390 days*
$30160*$0.1990 days*
$50400*$0.1290 days*
$1001000$0.101 year
* After $100 in airtime purchases you are automatically enrolled in T-Mobile's "Gold Rewards" plan and starting with the next airtime purchase all refill denominations have a one year validity. The $10, $25, $30 and $50 refills give Gold Rewards members more minutes: $10 - 35 min, $25 - 150 min, $30 - 185 min, $50 - 460 min.

There is no data on the legacy pay as you go plan except for access to T-Mobile's prepaid home page that lets you view your balance and expiration date, add funds and switch between plans.

Legacy Daily Plans - No longer available to new customers
The legacy plans were discontinued effective Jan. 25, 2015. Customers who were on one of the plans before 1/25/15 are grandfathered and can remain on the plan as long as they do not switch to another plan or allow their service to be terminated for non payment.

Price*Talk MinutesTextsIncluded Data
$2/dayunlimitedunlimitedunlimited (throttled to 120 Kbps)
$3/dayunlimitedunlimitedunlimited (throttled after 200 MB/day)
* the daily fee is only charged on days when the phone makes or receives a call or text or uses data.

Tethering; Using your phone as a mobile WiFi hotspot is permitted at no extra cost on all plans with data. Tethering data is is throttled to 128 Kbps after 14 GB in a plan month on the $95 unlimited, unthrottled plan.

The monthly plans automatically renew every 30 days providing there are sufficient funds in the account.  Daily plans renew automatically at midnight local time. You can switch between plans (except for the $30 unlimited data plan) by calling 1-877-778-2106  on any phone or 611 on your T-Mobile phone or by using T-Mobile's mobile (m.web2go.com) or desktop (my.t-mobile.com) web sites. Changes to monthly plans normally go into effect at the end of your current plan month. You can switch plans immediately by calling customer support.

International Rates: International calling and messaging: 

Simple Choice plans include unlimited calls from the US to Mexico and Canada and unlimited roaming in Mexico and Canada. This feature can be added to Simply Prepaid plans for $5/month.

T-Mobile offers two "Stateside" international calling add-ons which are available with $30 and higher monthly plans only:
  • $15/month unlimited calls to mobile phones in 30+ countries and landlines in 70+ countries, reduced international rates to 200+ countries.
International calls without an international add-on are expensive on T-Mobile: Canada 49¢, Mexico 69¢, Western Europe, Japan, India, China, Philippines $1.99. Most other countries (full list) are even more expensive. On pay per minute plans these rates are in addition to the basic per minute rate of 10-33 cents.

Unlimited international texts are included at no-extra charge on the $30 plan and the, $50, $60, $70 and $80 Simple Choice plans plans and cost the standard 10¢ each on all other plans. MMS are 25¢ each on all plans.

Music Freedom: The $30 plan and the Simply Prepaid and  Simple Choice plans include "Music Freedom", which doesn't count the data used by certain streaming music services against the high speed data allowance. As 8/27/14 Music Freedom includes the following services; AccuRadio, Black Planet, Grooveshark, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Milk Music, Pandora, Radio Paradise, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Songza and Spotify.

Binge On: Is basically Music Freedom for video and gives customers unlimited video streaming that doesn't count against their plan's high-speed data allotment. It's included with Simple Choice Plans priced at $65/month and up. With Binge On video streams are compressed and reduced to 480p quality, which T-Mobile says uses only a third as much data as unoptimized video. Binge On is enabled by default on all plans but users can disable it if they don't want their video degraded and are OK with it counting against their high-speed data allowance. Non-Simple Choice prepaid customers get the data saving benefits of Binge On (unless they opt out) their but video streaming does count against their high speed data allowance.

Binge On currently supports over 100 video streaming services, click here for a list.

Data Stash: The $65 and up Simple Choice plans include T-Mobile's "Data Stash" feature:
  • Unused plan data will roll forward for up to 12 months. Binge On (streaming video that doesn't count against your data) customers are limited to a maximum of 20 GB in their Data Stash at any one time. If you opt out of Binge On there's no limit.
  • Rolled-over data expires 12 months from when it was added to the Data Stash.
Coverage/Roaming: T-Mobile's native coverage is primarily limited to cities and major highways. Thanks to unlimited no-extra charge voice and text roaming T-Mobile does has extensive voice and text coverage. There's also limited 3G data roaming on monthly plans priced at $40/mo and higher. All Simple Choice plans include 200 MB of roaming data per month. The $50 and $60 Simply Prepaid plans include 100 MB of roaming and the  $40 Simply Prepaid plan comes with 50 MB of roaming data.

T-Mobile's coverage (map) is misleading. It does not clearly distinguish between native and roaming coverage. You have to zoom way in and drop a PIN to verify if coverage is native or roaming.

International roaming
Simple Choice plans include unlimited voice, text and data roaming in Mexico and Canada. Data roaming includes high speed data with the same limits as domestic data. Unlimited Mexican and Canadian calling and roaming can be added to Simply Prepaid plans for $5/month

On other plans roaming is available in Canada and Mexico at the following rates:
Canada voice: 59¢/minute. texts: 10¢ each to send or receive. MMS are 25¢ to send or receive.
Mexico voice: 1.79¢/minute, texts: 50¢ each to send, 10¢ each to receive. MMS are 25¢ to send or receive.

Voice and Text roaming is available in a number of other countries at rates ranging from $1.49 to $5.99 per minute (rate sheet). Texts are 50¢ each to send, 10¢ each to receive. MMS are $25¢ to send or receive. International data roaming is not available.

Devices: T-Mobile offers a good selection of phones including Android models. Bring your on device (BYOD) is supported and any T-Mobile or unlocked GSM phone that supports the 1900 frequency can be used for voice, messaging and 2G data, and in some areas 3G data.  850 Mhz support is required for voice/text service in some roaming areas (see map) and 3G AWS support is required for maximum 3G and 4G data coverage.

How to Buy: T-Mobile prepaid phones are available from T-Mobile stores, "big box" retailers like Target, Best Buy and Costco and online.  Basic models can be purchased at supermarkets, convenience stores and chain drugstores.

SIMs To get started with T-Mobile you need a T-Mobile Prepaid SIM Card Activation Kit which includes a SIM and a single use activation code. The code is required to activate a prepaid account.  Do not buy an un-activated T-Mobile USA SIM on Ebay, etc unless it includes a prepaid plan activation code. Without an activation code the SIM can not be activated on prepaid.

SIMs, including micro-SIMs, can be bought and activated on any plan except the $30/month 5 GB plan at T-Mobile stores (store locator).  SIMs are $15 at T-Mobile stores. SIM activation kits purchased from T-Mobile.com come pre-activated on the $3 pay as you go plan. The pre-activated SIMs can have numbers ported to them and their service can be switched to any other plan except the $30 plan online or by calling customer service. Unactivaed SIMs (which can be activated online on any plan) are available from Amazon.com, eBay and other online merchants and are sold in Target, Walmart and BestBuy stores.

How to Activate: Activate online at prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-activate or by calling 611 from the wireless phone or 1-877-778-2106 from another phone. If you have trouble activating an iPhone or any other device, do an online activation and enter 15 nines as the IMEI.

How to port your phone number to T-Mobile prepaid: Call the porting dept at 877-789-3106 before or after activating your SIM.

Payment Options: PIN cards or codes are available at T-Mobile stores, most convenience stores, supermarkets, chain drugstores and big box retailers like Target. PINs can also be purchased from callingmart.com and other online retailers.

You can top up a T-Mobile account with a PIN or a credit or debit card at my.t-mobile.com or at m.web2go.com using the phone's browser or  by calling *233 (*ADD) on the phone or 877-778-2106 from another phone.

Auto-Pay: Adds a fixed amount of money from a credit or debit card every 30 days You can enroll in Auto-Pay at my.t-mobile.com or by calling 611 from the wireless phone or 877-778-2106 from another phone.

Account Management: You can check your cash, data and minute balances and switch plans at my.t-mobile.com or by calling 611 from the phone or 800-901-9878 from another phone. T-Mobile prepaid doesn't offer call records online or otherwise.

Account Expiration: The rules for account explanation on T-Mobile prepaid for poorly documented and T-Mobile customer support often gives contradictory information as to when funds expire or accounts are terminated. The following is based on user experience and is believed, but not guaranteed, to be accurate

Monthly plans: (including $3/month "pay as you go") Plans renew automatically if there's sufficient balance to cover the monthly charge. When the plan renews the expiration date of any unused funds is extended 30 days.  If the balance is insufficient to renew the account will be suspended. You have 120 days to add money and restart the plan. After 120 days, the account will convert to the $3/month "Pay As You Go" plan for as long as the account has sufficient balance to renew.

Pay By The Day: Service available for 90 days (one year for $100 refills) after refill. Using the phone and incurring the daily charge extends the expiration 90 days (one year for $100 refills) from date of use. If plan expires service is suspended and any cash balance in the account is forfeited.

Legacy Pay As You Go: Service available for 90 days (one year for $100 refills and all refills on Gold Rewards accounts ). If plan expires service is suspended and any cash balance in the account is forfeited. Plan expiration date shown on the PC version of my.t-mobile.com and the My Account mobile site (ma.web2go.com). You can also hear you expiration date by calling 611 or 877-778-2106, saying "no" to "do you want to refill your account now" and then saying "dollars and minutes remaining"

All plans: 90 days after an account is suspended with a zero balance, the account is terminated, the phone number is lost and the SIM is permanently deactivated.

Call Forwarding, Call Waiting and 3-Way Calling

To forward all calls to another number: Not supported

To forward unanswered calls only (conditional call forwarding): Not supported.

Call waiting:  Call waiting is enabled by default. It lets you place one call on hold while you take another call. When you are on a call and have another incoming call, you will hear a short tone. You'll have approximately 30 seconds to answer before the second caller hears a standard message or is forwarded to voicemail. You will be charged for both calls.

To answer Call Waiting: To put the first call on hold, press "SEND." You'll automatically be connected with the second call. To return to the first call, press "SEND" again. To switch between the two calls, press "SEND."

3-Way Calling: Lets you create a conference call between yourself and two other people. You will be charged for both calls if you are not on an unlimited plan.
  • While on the first call, dial the 10-digit number of the second person and press "SEND." The first person is automatically put on hold while the call is made.
  • When the 2nd person answers, press "SEND" to create the conference call.
T-Mobile Prepaid "Secret" Codes:
All are free to use
#225# (#BAL#) - displays account balance on screen
*233 (*ADD) top up
#646# (#MIN#) - shows minutes remaining in $3/mo and $30/mo plans
*686 (*NUM) - tells you your phone number by voice message
#686# (#NUM#) - shows phone number on the screen
#932# (#WEB#) - shows data usage
*3279 (*EASY) or *8646 (*TOGO) - says prepaid balance in dollars
*#67# - displays voice mail divert number
*#06# - displays the phone's IMEI (serial number)

Free information services calls
611 - T-Mobile customer care
711 - Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for the hearing and speech impaired
911 - Emergency services
Other information services like 211 (community information) , 311 (non-emergency police number) and
(511 - highway conditions) are charged calls on T-Mobile prepaid

T-Mobile data settings:

APN: epc.tmobile.com or fast.t-mobile.com (for LTE devices)
MMSC:  http://mms.msg.eng.t-mobile.com/mms/wapenc
MMSC proxy: not set
MMSC port: not set
MMS protocol: WAP 2.0
MCC: 210
MNC: 260

Customer Service:
Phone support: 6 AM - 10 PM local time 7 days a week, automated account management services available 24/7. 877-778-2106 is the T-Mobile prepaid support number. To quickly reach a human, say "representative" at every prompt (three in all) including the initial one for your phone number.

Phone Sales and General Information Web Site: T-Mobile.

T-Mobile Pros: no extra charge voice roaming, strong retail presence, BYOD.

T-Mobile Cons: No online call records. No call forwarding. Expensive international rates, too many restrictions on the $30/month plan.

Last update: 9/30/2016: Simple Choice Prepaid plan changes rolled back by T-Mobile


Comment Page :
  1. Yep, I got stung with the daily charge even when my phone was switched off. I had hoped that I could have made $100 last for six months or more but oh no that didn't happen. Plus, it's almost impossible to get text messaging disabled on Tmo-bile. Yet another reason for me to keep my Virgin $25 / month option rolling on ;)

    1. It seems that having had a one-night up-the-bum session with AT&T got them in the nickel and diming frame of mind.

    2. Yes, if your number receives a text when it's turned off you will be charged the daily fee. It's always been that way on T-Mobile's Daily plans.

  2. Use a text-free app, this will give your own texting number. use wi-fi to send & read texts. no additional charges.

    1. Not true I have the tmobile $2 Dollar day unlimited plain you can get unlimited texts and even vm sent to your number and you will not be chargrd any thing 0 nothing unless you turn on your phone and start using it.

    2. please up date the information

    3. Others have reported being charged for texts even if their phone was off. Plus unless you never use your phone you are going to eventually turn it on and get charged for those texts.

      Seeing as the daily plans are no longer available for activation it's kind of a moot point and one I can't independently verify.

  3. Is it true that T-Mobile prepaid is the same as T-Mobile postpaid in terms of coverage and call priority? Is T-Mobile coverage significantly worse than ATT even though it is a small carrier?

    1. T-Mobile allows voice and text roaming on most of the same roaming partners as postpaid so prepaid voice coverage is only slightly less. There's no data roaming on prepaid so data coverage is much less. See and Coverage Maps For All Prepaid Carriers and T-Mobile prepaid coverage map

  4. Pardon my ignorance, but what does "throttled" mean?

  5. Throttled means slowed down. In the case of T-Mobile it means data downloadd speeds are reduced from the normal 200 Kbps - 10 Mbps to 120 Kbps or less.

  6. I'm presently using a basic 2G phone. On the screen the letter "G" appears. Sometimes there is a line through the "G." I've checked the owners manual and there is no explanation for what the "G" or the line through it means. I'm guessing this is something rudimentary for most cell phone users but I don't know. Kindly explain if you can. Thank you.

    1. G stands for GPRS and refers to the data connection. I believe it means your getting either 1 or 2G speeds. A line through it probable means you've dropped to EDGE speeds or no data at all.

    2. GPRS is the slower of the two 2G standards. The other "Edge" is quite a bit faster, about 200 Kbps vs 50 Kbps. You should see an "E" if you're getting Edge.

    3. Guess I had it backwards. Either way, realllllllllly slow :)

  7. Hmmm, I just looked up the phone on both the phonescoop and phonearena sites. One says it has EDGE technology and the other doesn't. I'm guessing it doesn't as I have not seen an "E."

  8. Yeswap, how is T-Mobile in the So-Cal San Diego/Los Angeles area? Also how is it in NorCal Davis/sacramento area?


    1. T-Mobile works well for me in San Francisco. I don't get to LA or Sacramento much but I haven't had a any problems there either. I haven't been to San Diego since I've had T-Mobile.

  9. Yeswap, in the SF Bay area, is T-Mobile on par with ATT, sprint, and verizon? Which is best of those, disregarding price? i'm interested in T-mobile and sprint but both companies have bad reputations amongst friends for being "sucky"? Can you please give me some advice?

    1. This is just one persons experience so take it with a grain of salt. I've use T-Mobile and Boost mainly and my wife is on Page Plus. It's been a few years since I've used AT&T. I'm in San Francisco proper and all four have voice coverage virtually anywhere in the city.

      As you get out into the less populated parts on the area Verizon has the best voice coverage followed by AT&T. T-Mobile and Sprint are roughly equal and work in almost as many places as AT&T.

      I got a lot more dropped calls even standing in the same place with AT&T than any of the others. AT&T prepaid data is not very reliable either, even with full bars I would often be unable to use the browser.

      In terms of data speed, T-Mobile is best, followed by AT&T, Verizon and Sprint in that order. But even Sprint speeds, which average about 300 Kbps, are perfectly usable for everything (browsing, amps, Email, Pandora) except video streaming.

  10. I heard that T-Mobile sucks inside public buildings, apartments, and high-ceiling homes, is that true Yeswap?

    1. Not in my experience. It works fine in malls, Costco and other large buildings.

  11. Hi Yeswap.
    How does roaming work on T-Mobile. For example, if there is no T-Mobile but there is ATT reception inside a mall or Costco, will I roam on ATT and be able to call. Or is roaming only available in cities with ENTIRELY no T=mobile coverage? Does roaming allow for T-Mobile users to get reception and be able to make calls everywhere ATT customers are able to? If that's the case, why would people choose ATT over T-mobile given that Tmobile is much cheaper?

    1. You can only roam in areas where T-Mobile has roaming agreements. These are the stripped beige sections (labeled "Service Partner") shown when you zoom in on the Voice/2G tab of T-Mobile prepaid coverage map.

      You can't roam in the green T-Mobile native coverage areas even if the T-Mobile signal is weak or non-existent.

      Roaming is usually voice only.

  12. Thank you Yeswap! Just to clarify, there is very little roaming in California, right? Almost none except near San Diego/the very south of CA?

    1. You didn't look very hard. There's roaming in quite a few other places; east of Redding, along I5 near the Oregon border, east of Calistoga, east of San Luis Obispo, and in spots along Hwy 1 between Monterey and San Simeon.

  13. Hi Yeswap!Since you use T-Mobile, can you please do me a favor and tell me what the standard voicemail says? Does it say "Please leave your message fore XXX-XXX-XXXX?" Or does it say "Please Leave your message for XXX=XXX=XXXX. Record your message after the tone. TO send a numeric page, press X now?" If it does not have the ending part "record your message," is there an option to enable it? Please if you dont mind can you give me the exact wording? THanks you so much Yeswap!

    1. I have a custom greeting so it plays my greeting and then beeps and the caller can leave a message after the beep.

      Did you set up your voicemail box? People won't be able to leave messages unless you do. To set it up:

      On your phone press and hold the 1 key or dial 123.
      If prompted for a password, use the last four digits of your mobile number.
      When prompted, create your new password, and record your greeting and name.

  14. Hi Yeswap, phone/sim card question for you.:

    Some GSM phones take 2 sim cards. My question is are both sim cards required for the phone to operate OR is there a "main" sim card which is required for the phone to operate with the other sim card only needed if one wants more memory?

    Thank you.

    1. Dual SIM phones let you use two SIMs. They will work fine with just a single SIM

      They are popular in the developing world when phones are often shared. You can also use them with SIMs from two different operators to have more coverage or if one operator has a better rate for voice and the other has cheaper data.

  15. Tmobile has now refarmed 37 areas so that unlocked AT&T phones like iPhone can get 3G/4G service on the 1900 channel. Here is a list of areas:

  16. Hello Yeswap!

    Just wondering if you have checked out "Ultra Mobile"?
    Couldn't find anything on your site about them...


  17. Hi Yeswap,
    We were thinking about switching to the Tmobile Value family plan, since it would actually be cheaper for us. Is there anything I should know about tmobile value plan service? Also, do you happen to know how much mobile taxes are percentage wise in california? also, if i want to use an iphone, would i be able to have 3g/4g in the bay area? If I don't use the iphone, which phones do you recommend for 300 or less, cheaper is best, but i don't want an outdated/bad quality/ ugly handset, unlocked, but the nexus is out of stock. lets say i buy an andoird att unlocked, will i be able to use wifi calling?

    1. I haven't had a postpaid plan in six years. When I did, taxes and fees on a $30 plan where about $10. T-Mobile should be able to estimate how much taxes and fees will be on any plan they sell.

      The iPhone will get 3G in a lot of places in the Bay Area but right now you will get better coverage with a T-Mobile phone. Use the map at airportal.de to check coverage. When T-Mobile's 1900 Mhz rebanding is complete later this year the iPhone should get coverage as good as any phone.

      For my money the best current sub-$300 T-Mobile phone is the LG L9.

      The L9 and most T-Mobile Android phones support WiFi calling. For non-T-Mobile Android phones you can use the Vonage app to make (but not receive) calls over WiFi or the Talkatone app to make and recieve calls over WiFi using a Google Voice number. I don't know if WiFi calling options are available for the iPhone.

    2. Vonage and Bobsled (from Tmobile) work well on my iPhone over WiFi.
      Bobsled gives you a phone number.
      You can receive calls from other Vonage users. They show up in your contacts list with a V symbol.

  18. Yeswap I have always wondered why Tmobile prepaid was so popular and had so many customers, even more than gophone. I mean, att is a bigger company than tmobile and has much more postpaid customers, but why is tmobile more popular for pay as you go? i see that they have the same pay by minute rate, but tmobile does have more plan tiers. Is this why it is more popular?

    1. T-Mobile prepaid is not more popular than GoPhone. T-Mobile prepaid has 5.3 million prepaid subscribers. GoPhone has 7 million.

      T-Mobile's advantages over GoPhone include:

      T-Mobile's monthly plans are much less expensive than AT&T's especially if you use a smartphone and data.

      For light users T-Mobile's monthly minimum cost is $3.33 (83¢ with Gold Rewards) vs $8.33 for GoPhone.

      AT&T has more coverage overall and more 3G coverage. Choose whichever works best for you

    2. I like the free roaming that Tmobile provides. I did not get that with Ptel or Virgin Mobile. Tmobile prepaid is very flexible and has many plan choices when your needs change.

  19. Hi Yeswap, I'm currently choosing between a used iPhone 4 or an android phone on Tmobile. I know that iPhones only have edge on tmobile, but that does not matter to me. However, my question is if tmobile phones would be better voice/coverage wise? I also don't care for wifi calling, as I'm rarely in places with wifi. I prefer iOS and apple products, however i also prefer new products. I cannot justify the price of a new iphone 4. also, if I dont plan on using data, would there be a significant difference between the 4/4s? they look the same, but is the speed difference/ siri really worth the extra hundred bucks? i can justify paying 100 extra for a 4s if it's really that much better. i also don't care for camera.

    thanks in advance

    1. Voice coverage should be the same with an iPhone or T-Mobile device.

      Besides the differences you mentioned, the 4S has a better antenna design (no "Antennagate" issue) and is supposed to get better reception. The extra speed of the 4S is noticeable in games and likely means the 4S will be supported with new iOS versions longer than the 4. To me the $100 difference is worth it but the choice between the iPhone 4 and 4S is really up to you.

    2. The 4S comes with at least 16GB of memory; many of the used 4 phones only come with 8 GB. The dual antennas on 4S do help reception. Siri on the 4S is useful and fun, but it uses a lot of data, so be careful.

  20. Thanks Yeswap for running this great site and this article in particular!
    I read recently that T-Mobile is increasing it's unthrottled data on the $50 monthly prepaid from 100MB a month to 500MB. Do you know when it will take affect?

    Thanks, Reuven

    1. It may already be in effect. T-Mobile hasn't announced anything but a number of people have reported that they got 500 MB with a recent top-up.

      With no official word from T-Mobile it's not something I would count on. It could be a one-time bonus only or it might not be available to everyone.

  21. Hi Yeswap,
    A 2G Edge AT&T Samsung Sunburst that is currently on TMobile. Would call quality or signal reception improve if the phone was upgraded to a 3G or Tmobile native device?

    1. A 3G or T-Mobile phone won't necessarily be any better. A different phone, whether 3G or not, might have better reception and/or voice quality or it could be worse.

    2. Then what is the benefit of having a 3G device? is it only better for web speeds?

  22. DISH may buy Tmobile USA/MetroPCS to offer wireless service. Or buy Leap Wireless:

  23. Softbank may also buy Tmobile USA/MetroPCS if the Sprint deal falls through or is not affordable.

  24. Tip for keeping your grandfathered $1/day Tmobile plan balance:
    MyTmobile does not list your airtime expiration date for either of the old $1/day plans. If you have these, put a couple of calendar reminders on your computer with repeating events (e.g., every year for Gold Status). This way, you will not lose your balance when you run out of service days.
    Tmobile does list the expiration date in MyTmobile for their current paygo plans. Verify the date is correct (I have seen mistakes), and make a recurring calendar entry for these plans tool

  25. Here is a bonus if you sign up for Tmobile Simple Choice no contract vs Prepaid:
    -No global data roaming fees in more than 100 countries starting 10/31; and
    -20c calls from US to overseas, and when roaming in "Simple Global" countries from Europe to India and China. Calls to landlines in over 70 of its Simple Global countries are unlimited and included at no extra cost.


  26. Hi Dennis,

    Do the PRE-PAID $50 & $60 T-Mobile plans still support tethering/hot-spot. I read somewhere that the PRE-PAID $70 Plan does NOT support tethering/hot-spot. Is that because T-Mobile does NOT want you to go crazy on the Un-Throttled/ Un-Limited data? ( Is it REALY Unlimited, though?).
    Thanks for your insight!

    1. The $50 and $60 plans support tethering. The $70 one with unlimited data doesn't. The $70 plan's data is supposed to be unlimited and unthrottled and I haven't heard of anyone being cut off or throttled on it.

    2. On some Tmobile phones, you can even tether with the $30 100 min, 5GB plan, no special app required.

  27. Thanks for the info PREPAIDPHONENEWS Friends! Always a great source for Information!

  28. Dennis, have you done an article on which unlocked T-Mobile phones work on AT&T; which unlocked AT&T phones work on T-Mobile? Do both T-Mobile & AT&T use the same 4G LTE bands now? So, if an unlocked T-mobile phone can connect with AT&T's 4G LTE network, does that mean that THAT unlocked T-Mobile phone will also connect with AT&T's 2G/3G/3G HSPA+ network as well? ( Same questions go for Unlocked AT&T phones running on T-Mobile's network...). I guess my great confusion ( and possibly others' ) lies in how to figure out what frequencies run on which devices?
    Thanks for any help!

    1. You just need to verify that the phone you want to use supports your prefered operator's bands:

      2G, voice, SMS - 850, 1900 Mhz
      3G, HSPA+ 4G - 850, 1900 Mhz
      LTE - mostly band 17 with some band 4

      2G, voice, SMS - 1900 Mhz
      3G, HSPA+ 4G - 1700 Mhz (aka AWS), with additional 1900 Mhz in re-farmed areas
      LTE - band 4

      You can check which bands a phone supports on a number of sites. Three that I find generally accurate are

  29. OldNorseBruin in SF, CAOctober 22, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Hi Dennis,

    If, say your unlocked AT&T phone can connect with T-Mobile's 3G/HSPA+4G on the 1900mhz ( say here in San Francisco) , does that mean that THAT unlocked phone will connect with the 3G/HSPA+4G networks for PTEL, ULTRA MOBILE, and SIMPLE MOBILE? ( I'm assuming that PTEL, ULTRA, and SIMPLE use T-Mobile's 3G/HSPA+4G as their "high-speed '4G' "...)
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Yes, all T-Mobile MVNOs can use T-Mobile's HSPA+ on both 1700 and 1900 Mhz.

  30. OldNorseBruin in SF, CAOctober 23, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Thanks for the help DENNIS! Do you think the T-Mobile MVNOs ( other than Straight-Talk, which is too shady to be trusted...) will eventually get 4G LTE? I'm guessing it depends on T-MOBILE's decision..

  31. Tmobile will pay $2.4B to buy Verizon's A-block 700 MHz spectrum, and the companies will trade other spectrum to improve coverage and speeds. This will mean major improvements in Tmobile LTE coverage and speeds by the end of this year. Tmobile LTE now covers 209 million POPs in 273 Metro Areas. T-Mobile said it is deploying 10x10 MHz LTE in 43 of the top 50 metro areas.

    Read more: FierceWireless http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/t-mobile-buys-verizons-700-mhz-block-spectrum-24b/2014-01-06#ixzz2pdfbdhKB

  32. Postpaid plan competition is still heating up. T-Mobile Simple Choice Family plan is $80/month plus taxes. Online, you pay $10/month for each additional line, a good price. Click on the 'More Info' box, and see that if you go to a T-Mobile store, you can add up to 3 lines for $5/month, or only $21/month average with 500MB high speed/line (then unlimited 2G). You can add data to each line individually ($10, $20). This beats the Sprint Framily Plan by a lot, where you would pay $35/line for 5 lines ($55 minus $5 for each line added up to 6 more). Framily gives 1GB per line before overage charges kick in, but you can upgrade to 3GB or unlimited for each line ($10, $20). T-Mobile Pay In Advance for Unlimited TnT with 500MB? $250/month for 5 lines, and no data roaming. You would go with MetroPCS to lower this price, or pick a MVNO.

  33. T-Mobile now has more smartphones in use than Sprint, and is close to AT&T. Un-Carrier is working for them. http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/report-t-mobile-overtakes-sprint-q1-no-3-us-smartphone-carrier/2014-05-22

  34. "On monthly plans all cash balances expire 90 days from the last date that funds were added."

    I just added $200 to my $30 UL Web & Text plan, does that mean I have to keep adding funds every 89 days to my account or else I will lose all my money?

    1. That verbiage was on the T-Mobile site at one time. It doesn't seen to be there anymore.

      I've seen a several social media posts claiming that the funds expiration date is extended by 90 days every time a monthly account renews from the balance. But I can't find any confirmation of that on the T-Mobile site either and I don't trust T-Mobile's customer support to give accurate answers.

      You can see your expiration date on https://my.t-mobile.com or by dialing *3297 and pressing 2 when prompted. I recommend checking it after the first few refills to verify if it's extending or not.

  35. Can anyone confirm this: can you use wifi calling on the $40/month plan? Thanks in advance!

    1. WiFi calling is available on all T-Mobile plans, including PayGo and the $40 plan.

  36. You write:
    UMTS 3G and HSPA+ 4G: historically has used the AWS band ...

    Does this mean that AWS band use is no longer be used, or will it be phased out ?

    1. No AWS is T-Mobile's main UTMS band and isn't being based out. They have added UTMS on 1900 Mhz in major markets to better support unlocked AT&T and international model phones.

  37. Univision & GoSmart soon available @ Target.

  38. T-Mobile and Dish are in merger talks, according the Wall St. Journal.

  39. T-Mobile's Moto E got its LTE Band 12 back.

  40. I suggest you add the T-Mobile number to call if you want to check your voicemail from another phone: (805) 637-7243

    1. Is there any advantage to calling (805) 637-7243 vs calling your T-Mobile number to retrieve voicemail from another phone? I rather not have to remember another number when I can use my own.

    2. You don't have to remember the other number. Just enter it once in your phones' contacts.
      The advantage is that some people can't remember what button to push after they call their cellphone number from another phone ;-)
      When you call this number, the recording tells them what button to push.

  41. I ported a number to Tmobile using a prepaid SIM as an intermediary step to port to Google voice. I thought the $3 monthly fee would be covered by the $3.34 credit that comes with prepaid SIMS. Apparently Tmobile no longer offers this credit or didn't in my case.
    Must I pay the $3.00 monthly fee before I can port to Google? If so, is there a cheaper way than buying a $10 refill? Thanks

    1. You can port out of T-Mobile Prepaid with a zero balance.

  42. Thank you Dennis

  43. Hello Dennis. I am thinking on buying an unlocked or Tmobile used iphone in Gazelle.com and buying a sim card from Tmobile to activate the $30/100 minutes, unlimited text, 5GB data plan. Do you think I can do that? Also, will the iphone have the 4G speed?

    I ask because when you go to the Tmobile web page and try to buy an iphone you cannot choose the online only/Walmart $30-100mins-5GB plan.

    Thank you for all your help.

    1. I forgot to mention that the phone I am planning on buying is an iphone 5S or 6. Does anybody know if I can get the awesome Tmobile $30 plan 100 mins/5GB?

    2. Yes, just buy a SIM and activate it and activate it online at prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-activate. During activation choose the $30 plan.

      The T-Mobile or the unlocked GSM iPhone 5s and 6 support all of T-Mobile's 4G bands except LTE band 12 which is new.

  44. Tmo just brought back its most popular promo ever: Simple Choice, 4 lines of Unlimited TnT with 10GB of hight-speed data per line. Extra 10GB for each line adds $10/line. With postpaid taxes in my area, this would cost ~$150/month. Cricket group save 4xPro would cost $180/month, and they charge *$100* extra to add 10GB to one line. This Tmo promo is a great way to test the greatly expanded Tmo network with a Band 12-capable phone. Enjoy average LTE speeds that are 4X-5X times what you'd settle for on Cricket, and save a chunk of money every month. Simple Choice extras like no-charge mobile music streaming and extensive, free roaming is an additional bonus.

  45. T-Mobile announced 3Q 2015 numbers. 2.3M net new customers added; more than 1M net new branded postpaid customers; service revenue up 11% and total revenue up 7% over last year. More than 18M new customers were added over the past 10 quarters, which mean that Tmo has 61.2M customers now. They exceeded their LTE coverage expansion targets, reaching 300M POPS more than 2 months early. Wideband LTE is up in 245 markets, and is expected to exceed 260 markets by the end of 2015. Band 12 LTE is now in 204 markets and is on schedule to cover more than 350 markets by the end of 2015.

  46. This Uncarrier X move will drive the competition nuts:
    "T-Mobile's Uncarrier 10 to offer unlimited high speed data for watching select streaming video services like Netflix, HBO, etc.," - reputable mobile news leaker Evan Blass, known as @evleaks on Twitter. Blass added that after speaking with another source, "this seems to actually just allow unlimited video on 4G without making you churn through LTE data first."

  47. T-Mobile added 2.1M subscribers and net profit almost tripled in 4Q 2015 vs 2014, $297M.

  48. New T-Mobile data-only phone plans coming on March 30. Starts at $20/month for 2GB.

  49. I want to save a number that's on the T-Mobile $30 plan by porting it to Google Voice. Can I port it back to T-Mobile later on and re-activate the $30 plan?

    It's for an international traveler who's in the US once a year. So the plan is to do this every year.

    1. Your plan should work. It will cost $20 every time you port to Google Voice and you will need a new SIM every time you port back to T-Mobile.

    2. That's no problem at all. Thanks for the reply, Dennis. Keep up the great work!

  50. Does the $30 walmart plan include the free international roaming in mexico and canada?

    1. No. Only the Simple Choice plans include North America roaming.

    2. Simply Prepaid plans can have the same roaming for $5/month extra. So you can add it only for months you need it.

  51. Tmo earnings beat analysts' estimates by 25%, sending the stock up 4%.
    Tmo stock is up 15% for the year.
    1.9M new customers added in Q2, the 13th consecutive quarter Tmo gained more than 1 Million new customers.

  52. Does the $30 walmart plan include tethering?

    1. Yes. All T-Mobile, Metro PCS, and GoSmart plans do.

  53. I was thinking i could use it for a temporary home wifi. Any reason that wouldnt work?

    1. Well, the $34 walmart sim package activated fine on my unlocked att zte maven, however, when i turn on the hotspot, i get error : "thereis a temporary network problem that prevents the enablement of the mobile hotspot function. Please retry later." it sort of appears that att has locked down the option so that you have to pay to use this built in function. Any clues what to try next? Or did i just get taken for $35!?

  54. I have a $30 plan right now, which I'm going to let lapse. I want to do PAYG with 1GB of data; two questions:

    1. Do I need to buy a $10 refill or $13?
    2. Do I need to call in to get put on the PAYG plan <120 days after expiry or will my account automatically get converted due to insufficient funds for a $30 plan?

    1. You can switch to $3/month Pay As You Go plan at my.t-mobile.com using a PC or ma.web2go.com using your phones browser or by calling T-Mobile. The $10/7days 1 GB data add-on must be purchased separately as needed using the web sites or by calling.

      You need to have a $3 or greater account balance to switch to Pay as You Go and when when the plan renews every 30 days. You need a $10 balance to purchase the 1 GB data add-on.

      You can add funds to your balance in $10, $30. $50 or $100 increments using a credit or debit card or a top-up card or PIN code online or by calling.

  55. David I have been with Mobile for 10 years I have 2 Legacy plans I started my $2 Dollar a Plan in 2014 I have gotten text messages on my phone. And even tested with my friends phone sending text. Nothing was deduced of course if I turn on my phone I will be charged but not until then Buy the way I will even post my phone number and every can text me I Will not be charged thanks Steve

  56. Dennis I read your blog every week and I really enjoy them you give great information the only reason why I bring this up is because I have the $2 a day plan even though it's no longer offered I just know how it works the only reason why I have it is because I'm not charge unless I use it on the days I use it by the way even though it has been discontinued if you push it hard enough you can still get it I just got it last week for my friend and that I believe was October 14th or 15th of 2016 it's not easy to get also that it's the only way that they will be deducted as if the phone is on you have to keep it on airplane mode or off not to be charged thank you

  57. Dennis, I'm trying to figure out when T-Mobile outright terminates service and releases a number. Tell me if this sounds right:

    -If a customer's monthly plan balance runs out, the account is immediately suspended. The customer has 120 days to refill and resume on that same plan. During these 120 days, the account is NOT converted to PAYG and just lies dormant.

    -AFTER 120 days the account is converted to PAYG, assuming there's enough to cover the conversion. PAYG goes on until there's sufficient balance.

    -Once the balance dips too low to even cover PAYG, the account is suspended again, and 90 days from suspension, account is finally terminated.

    So essentially you get to save your number in an unfunded account for 4 months, and $3 buys you an additional 3 months?

  58. Dennis, are you hearing anything about a lineup revamp? It's reddit so take it with a grain of salt: https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/60kxtk/new_tmobile_prepaid_plans_starting_0326/

    Not like the comments re: the $30 "Walmart" plan...

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