T-Mobile is certainly on a roll with consumer friendly disruptions to mobile pricing. Two days ago it announced it was giving prepaid tablet users 200 MB/month of free data for life. Today it's shaking things up again with free mobile hotspot and data roaming on prepaid monthly plans!
Although T-Mobile hasn't made a formal announcement, one of Android Central's editors discovered that the My T-Mobile online account management page for his $30/month T-Mobile prepaid phone was displaying a new category for "Smartphone Mobile Hotspot". Up to now hotspot has only been available on the $30 plan as a $15/month add-on which the Android Central writer had not purchased. He contacted T-Mobile and was told that since Oct. 20, T-Mobile prepaid monthly users could now use their phone as hotpots at no extra charge. In addition data roaming has been enabled for users on T-Mobile's $50, $60 and $70 prepaid monthly plans.
There are limits on both hotspot use and data roaming; 500 MB of hotspot and 10 MB of data roaming on the $50 plan, 2.5GB of hotspot and 50MB of data roaming on the $60 and $70 plans.
Update: Android Central originally reported that the $30, 100 minutes, 5GB plan would also get 2.5GB of hotspot data but no data roaming but later updated their post with a statement from T-Mobile i saying that the $30 plan doesn't get any hotspot allowance. However multiple users have reported seeing a 100MB hotspot bucket on their $30 accounts.
To go along with these changes T-Mobile monthly prepaid plans will soon be getting a rebranding as "Pay-in-advance Simple Choice plans.
These are great changes, extra charges for hotspot and tethering has never made any sense to anyone except maybe the mobile operators. If you pay for data you should be able to use it any way you want. And getting even a little data roaming will go a long way toward keeping T-Mobile prepaid users happy when they stray off the carriers rather small coverage footprint.
Source and image: Android Central