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.
|Price||Talk Minutes||Texts||Included Data|
|$3/mo "Pay As You Go"||30 minutes or texts||30 minutes or texts||$5 500 MB/1 day, $10 1 GB/7 days|
|$25/mo Unlimited Talk and Text||unlimited||unlimited||Data not available|
|$30/mo 1||100 (overage 10¢/min)||unlimited||Unlimited (throttled 2 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, (throttled to 128 Kbps after 14 GB/month) 3|
2 For BlackBerry users, BIS is included at no cost on $50 and higher plans
3 $95 plan is unadvertised but is offered as an option when activating service or switching 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
* 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 Minutes||Texts||Included Data|
|$2/day||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited (throttled to 120 Kbps)|
|$3/day||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited (throttled after 200 MB/day)|
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.
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 all Simple Choice Plans that come with 3 GB or more of high-speed data, including $50 month and higher Simple Choice Prepaid plans. 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 $80 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.
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.
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.
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 proxy: not set
MMSC port: not set
MMS protocol: WAP 2.0
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