What carriers run on the T-Mobile network?


T Mobile logo on phone stock photo

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

T-Mobile is known for having some of the cheapest plans out of all three of the major postpaid carriers. Unfortunately, the Uncarrier’s prices have crept closer to its competition recently. While T-Mobile still offers competitive pricing, the cheapest way to enjoy T-Mobile is to use a T-Mobile MVNO.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at the best T-Mobile MVNOs you should consider. Don’t understand what a T-Mobile MVNO is exactly? We explain what it is and why you might want to consider one towards the bottom of this post. 

Consider Metro by T-Mobile

Metro by T Mobile logo on phone stock photo 1

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Metro by T-Mobile isn’t actually an MVNO, as it is owned directly by T-Mobile itself. There are many reasons to consider Metro, including decent pricing and a few potential perks like international texting. Although the carrier offers limited or no data “Heritage” plans, in most cases, we recommend going with an unlimited plan. 

Here are more details on what you get with Metro’s unlimited options: 

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40 Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50 Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60

Cost

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40

$40 for one line
$80 for two lines
$90 for three lines
$100 for four lines
$125 for five lines

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50

$50 for one line
$80 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$140 for four lines
$170 for five lines

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60

$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$120 for three lines
$150 for four lines
$180 for five lines

Unlimited talk and text

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40

Yes

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50

Yes

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60

Yes

Data

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40

Unlimited LTE/5G
May see congestion after 35GB

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50

Unlimited LTE/5G
May see congestion after 35GB

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60

Unlimited LTE/5G
May see congestion after 35GB

International

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40

Not included

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50

Not inlcuded

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60

Unlimited texting to 210+
countries and destinations

Extras

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $40

T-Mobile Tuesdays
ScamShield
1 year access to VIX Premium

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $50

T-Mobile Tuesdays
ScamShield
1 year access to VIX Premium
100 GB Google One
8GB hotspot access

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited $60

T-Mobile Tuesdays
ScamShield
1 year access to VIX Premium
100 GB Google One
25GB hotspot access

Need more reasons to consider Metro?

  • Metro has brick-and-mortar locations across the country. There are only a few prepaid carriers out there, like Cricket, that can match this. 
  • Above-average customer support. Not just because of brick-and-mortar access. Metro is also known for its great online and phone-based customer service.
  • You get T-Mobile extras like T-Mobile Tuesday discounts and other benefits that are typically reserved for postpaid carriers.
  • All the prices include taxes and other fees, so there is nothing hidden to worry about.

 

The best T-Mobile MVNOs at a glance

Google Fi Wireless logo on smartphone with SIM card and SIM ejector next to it Stock photo 7

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There are a lot of T-Mobile MVNOs, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. Here are some of our favorites:

Google Fi Wireless

Flexible Simply Unlimited Unlimited Plus

Cost

Flexible

$20/mo + $10/GB per month for 1 line
$35/mo + $10/GB per month for 2 lines
$50/mo + $10/GB per month for 3 lines
$65/mo + $10/GB per month for 4 lines
$80/mo + $10/GB per month for 5 lines
$95/mo + $10/GB per month for 6 lines

Simply Unlimited

$50 per month for 1 line
$80 per month for 2 lines ($40 per line)
$80 per month for 3 lines (previously $25 per line, now $26.67 per line)
$80 per month for 4 lines ($20 per line)
$100 per month for 5 lines ($20 per line)
$120 per month for 6 lines ($20 per line)

Unlimited Plus

$65 per month for 1 line
$110 a month for 2 lines ($55 per line)
$135 per month for 3 lines ($45 per line)
$160 per month for 4 lines ($40 per line)
$200 per month for 5 lines ($40 per line)
$240 per month for 6 lines ($40 per line)

Talk & Text

Flexible

Unlimited

Simply Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited Plus

Unlimited

Data

Flexible

$10 per GB used until you reach limit

Simply Unlimited

Up to 35GB of free, unmetered data

Unlimited Plus

Up to 50GB of free, unmetered data

Hotspot

Flexible

Full-speed at $10 per GB rate

Simply Unlimited

5GB of Wi-Fi hotspot tethering per person

Unlimited Plus

Full-speed included

International

Flexible

Free calls from US to Canada and Mexico.
On an iPhone, when you travel outside of the US, tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot options are not available.

Simply Unlimited

Free calls from US to Canada and Mexico
No international calls, texts, and data outside the US, Canada, and Mexico

Unlimited Plus

Free calls from US to over 50 countries.
Unlimited data and texts in over 200 countries or regions.

Extras

Flexible

Data free after per-month limit

Simply Unlimited

None

Unlimited Plus

100GB of Google One storage for each group plan member.

One year of YouTube Premium per user at no additional cost.

Google Fi Wireless offers both limited and unlimited data plans. For most users, we recommend Simply Unlimited. At $20 per line for four lines, you’ll get unlimited talk, text, data, and 5GB of mobile hotspot service per device. There’s also free roaming in Canada and Mexico. 

 

 

Mint Mobile

Plan Cost Talk & Text Data Extras
Plan

Mint 5GB

Cost

$75 for three months
$120 for six months
$180 for 12 months

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

5GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint 15GB

Cost

$105 for three months
$150 for six months
$240 for 12 months

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

15GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint 20GB

Cost

$135 for three months
$210 for six months
$300 for 12 months

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

20GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint Unlimited

Cost

$120 for three months
$210 for six months
$360 for 12 months

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

40GB premium data
Unlimited 4G/5G

Extras

10GB hotspot access

Mint Mobile has cheap pricing, though the catch is you have to pay far in advance to get the best pricing. For example, you’ll pay $360 a year for unlimited data, which works out to just $30 a month. This is one of the cheapest unlimited plans on T-Mobile’s network and actually enjoys pretty decent prioritization. All of Mint’s plans aren’t bad, as long as you’re willing to pay for a year all at once.  

Ultra Mobile

Limited data Unlimited data

Cost

Limited data

$15-$39 per month (1 month)
$13-$27 per month (3 months)
$11-$35 per month (6 months)
$10-$30 per month (12 months)

Unlimited data

$49 per month (1 month)
$34.50 per month (3 months)
$45 per month (6 months)
$40 per month (12 months)

Talk & Text

Limited data

Unlimited

Unlimited data

Unlimited

Data

Limited data

250MB up to 15GB

Unlimited data

40GB

Hotspot

Limited data

Hotspot available up to data cap

Unlimited data

Hotspot available as part of the monthly limit

International Service

Limited data

Unlimited talk to 80 destinations
Monthly international long distance credit
One-time $5 international credit

Unlimited data

Unlimited talk to 80 destinations
Monthly international long distance credit
One-time $5 or $10 international credit

Ultra Mobile offers monthly plans as well as steeper discounts for those who want to pay 3, 6, or 12 months ahead. Yearly limited data plans will run you as little as $10-30 per month if you pay for a year in advance. Unlimited plans aren’t quite as impressive, at the equivalent of $40 per month if you pay for the year all at once. We’d recommend Ultra Mobile primarily for those interested in limited data. 

 

Boost Mobile

1GB Yearly Plan 5GB Plan Unlimited Unlimited Plus

Cost

1GB Yearly Plan

$100/yearly ($8.33/monthly)

5GB Plan

$15 per month

Unlimited

$25 a month

Unlimited Plus

$60 a month

Talk and Text

1GB Yearly Plan

Unlimited

5GB Plan

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited Plus

Unlimited

Data

1GB Yearly Plan

1GB per month

5GB Plan

5GB 4G LTE

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited Plus

Unlimited

Hotspot

1GB Yearly Plan

Included up to data cap

5GB Plan

Included up to data cap

Unlimited

None

Unlimited Plus

30GB included

International

1GB Yearly Plan

Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
5GB Plan

Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month

Unlimited

Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International

Unlimited Plus

Todo Mexico included

Special terms

1GB Yearly Plan

New customers only

5GB Plan

Available to new customers only

Unlimited

$15 add-on gets you 12GB hotspot data

Unlimited Plus

None

Boost Mobile offers a range of plans, including a yearly plan for $100 (equal to $8.33 a month) that gives you just 1GB of data each month. The Unlimited Plan is probably the best value at just $25 a month, though be aware it has somewhat aggressive deprioritization during peak times or in majorly congested areas.  

 

 

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our guide to the best prepaid carriers. You can also check out our guides for Verizon and AT&T if you want to consider another network. 

What is a T-Mobile MVNO?

T-Mobile not only provides its plans and services, but it also sells its network capacity in bulk to other businesses. These businesses can then do whatever they wish with this capacity, including creating their own mobile virtual network operator (or MVNO). That’s just a fancy way of saying it’s a carrier that piggybacks off another network.

These carriers typically use the prepaid model for payments, meaning you pay for services ahead of each month instead of receiving a bill for charges at the end of a billing period.

A T-Mobile MNVO might use T-Mobile’s network, but it is still completely responsible for its own marketing, customer service, promotions, phone selection, activations, and more. You can learn more in our guide to MVNOs.

The pros and cons of using a T-Mobile MVNO

So why use a T-Mobile MNVO instead of getting service directly from a carrier? There are several pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros:

  • You can save a lot of money! Prepaid carriers tend to charge significantly less for service.
  • You can easily switch networks if you find a better deal, as there are no contracts or commitments typically.
  • You don’t need good credit to qualify for a plan, though you’ll have to pass a credit check if you want to add a device payment plan (for those MNVOs that offer it).

Of course, there are also some notable cons:

  • There are fewer extras. T-Mobile offers several streaming perks and other incentives with its plans. Most MVNOs won’t be able to say the same. You’re getting fewer extras, but again that’s part of why you are saving money!
  • Throttling and deprioritization could be an issue for some prepaid carriers. While the T-Mobile Essentials plan actually has less priority than some MVNOs, the majority of T-Mobile’s plans have top priority.
  • Customer service is typically weaker than what you’ll get from T-Mobile. Brick-and-mortar stores are a rarity, if available at all, and some carriers only do customer service via the web.
  • Phone options often are weaker on prepaid carriers, though this isn’t the case for all of them.
  • You’ll get better roaming arrangements from T-Mobile directly. Many prepaid options will either have no roaming or very limited options.

Now that you know the pros and cons, let’s take a look at some of the best T-Mobile MNVOs at a glance.

 



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