Finding the best T-Mobile cell phone plans sounds like an easy proposition, given the wireless carrier's reputation for being customer friendly. But it's trickier than you might think.
1. The quick list
2. The best T-Mobile plan overall
3. The best value T-Mobile
4. The best T-Mobile plan for families
5. The best T-Mobile plan for seniors
6. The best T-Mobile plan for travelers
7. The best T-Mobile plan for streamers
8. Other T-Mobile plans
9. Getting T-Mobile coverage on a budget
10. Is T-Mobile a good carrier?
It's not because of the lack of value. Typically, T-Mobile charges less than its competitors for comparable service. Rather, finding the right plan at T-Mobile is complicated by the fact that there are so many plans — a half-dozen by our count, and that's leaving out the options for customers 55 years and older.
Adding to the difficulty is the fact that not every plan is visible when you look at T-Mobile's website — you've got to know where to look to find every available plan. And the once you've found everything, you've got to dig into the details of the different options to see which plans deliver which benefits.
Have no fear, though. We've already done a lot of those comparisons as part of our research into the best cell phone plans. So we're very familiar with the best T-Mobile phone plans and which ones you'd be better off ignoring.
At least, T-Mobile offers some of the best unlimited data plans out there, and if you need more than one line, you'll find some of the best family cell phone plans, too. There's even choices for people who don't need a lot of data as well as discounts for seniors who are 55 years or older.
T-Mobile plan options may be complicated, but that means a wide range of prices that match up well to what rival carriers have to offer. And as affordable as T-Mobile is, you can enjoy the benefits of its network through mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) like Mint Mobile and Tello that use T-Mobile towers to provide coverage of their own.
If you want to find a great option at T-Mobile, here are our picks for the best T-Mobile cell phone plans for a variety of different customers.
The quick list
Best overall plan
Unlimited data for $75/month
The Go5G plan includes 5G coverage, 15GB of hotspot data and six months of Apple TV Plus. Taxes and fees are included in the $75 rate, too.
3.5GB of data for $15/month
If your data needs are modest, T-Mobile connect offers you a low monthly rate for a plan that includes 5G coverage. You get an added 500MB of data each year through 2025.
Best family plan
Unlimited data for $180/month (four lines)
The best unlimited plan at T-Mobile is also the best plan for families, thanks to escalating discounts as you add lines. Family plans get a Netflix subscription, too.
Best seniors plan
Unlimited data for $55/month (two lines)
Seniors 55 years or older should turn to T-Mobile's Essentials 55 plan for basic coverage including 5G with unlimited data. This is T-Mobile's cheapest option for seniors.
Best for travelers
Unlimited data for $90
Globe trotters will appreciate the more expensive Go5G Plus unlimited data plan, which gives you 5G of high-speed data when traveling in 215-plus countries. In-flight Wi-Fi is included, too.
The best T-Mobile cell phone plan overall
T-Mobile Go5G | unlimited data | $75/month - T-Mobile's best plan plan
With few exceptions, T-Mobile plans mean unlimited data, and the best of the bunch is T-Mobile's Go5G offering. At $75 for a single line, it features a few more perks than the slightly cheaper Magenta plan such as 15GB of hotspot data instead of 5GB and double the data (10GB) you can use when traveling in Mexico and Canada. Go5G customers are also eligible for the same upgrade offers available to new customers, making it easier to switch to a different phone.
Pros: More hotspot and roaming data than Magenta; Easily to upgrade device
Cons: More expensive than Magenta
Best value plan at T-Mobile
T-Mobile Connect | 3.5GB data | $15/month — Best low-cost T-Mobile cell phone plan
T-Mobile's Connect plan is a great option if you're on a tighter budget and don't need a lot of data. Currently, you get 3.5GB of data. (T-Mobile boosts the plan's allotment by 500MB every year through 2025.) That data pool costs only $15 a month. Be aware that with this prepaid plan, once you're out of data, you've hit your cap and can't keep using data, even at slower speeds. You can upgrade to T-Mobile's connect plan with 6.5GB of data instead for $25/month, while there's a 1GB option available for just $10/month. (That latter plan remains capped at 1GB.)
Pros: Low costs, 500MB data boosts annually
Cons: Out of data once you hit your cap
The best T-Mobile cell phone plan for families
T-Mobile Go5G | unlimited data | $180/month (4 lines) - T-Mobile's best family plan
Families should also turn to the Go5G plan, as discounts for every line you add help keep the cost lower than family plans at other carriers, not to mention T-Mobile's own plans. You get the same hotspot and travel benefits a single linge of Go5G enjoys, and once you add two or more lines, T-Mobile includes a free Netflix subscription with your plan. T-Mobile frequently runs a promotion that waives the price of the third line of data, brining the cost of this plan down to $155 for four lines.
Pros: More hotspot and roaming data than Magenta; Includes Netflix subscription
Cons: Families an't mix and match different T-Mobile plans
The best T-Mobile cell phone plan for seniors
T-Mobile | Essentials 55 senior unlimited plan | 2-line plan | $55/month — Best value unlimited senior plan
If you're 55 or over, you can get a T-Mobile unlimited data plan for lower price and with a few changes to some of the perks. The best price for seniors comes with the Essential 55 plan, which includes two lines of unlimited data for $55/month. (A single line costs $27.50.) This comes with unlimited data, calls, and texts with no speed restrictions, 3G mobile hotspot speeds, and scam protection. However, you are limited to SD streaming, and if you're in Mexico or Canada, you can only use 2G data.
Pros: Affordable price; No annual contract; 5G coverage at no extra cost
Cons: Limited to 2G in Mexico/Canada; Only SD streaming
Best T-Mobile cell phone plan for travelers
T-Mobile Go5G Plus | unlimited data | $90/month or $220 for four lines - Best T-Mobile plan for travel
If you do a lot of travelling, you'll want to pay up for the Go5G Plus, a super-sized offering that packs in more perks. Even single lines of data qualify for a Netflix subscription as well as Apple TV Plus, and you get 50GB of hotspot data. Travel perks includ 15GB of data for use in Mexico or Canada, plus the ability to use 5GB of high-speed data in 215-plus countries. (Data is slowed to 3G speeds after that.) In-flight Wi-Fi is also included where available.
Pros: Extensive travel benefits; Free streaming services
Cons: Expensive, particularly for families
The best T-Mobile cell phone plan for streamers
T-Mobile Go5G Next | unlimited data | $100/month or $260 for 4 lines
Go5G Next is T-Mobile's most expensive plan, and it has all the perks of Go5G Plus. So why pay extra? If you're a streamer, you get the ad-supported tier of Hulu with Go5G Next to go along with Netflix and Apple TV Plus. Those extra streaming services can save you money elsewhere in your budget. You also get to upgrade your phone every year under Go5G Next.
Pros: Lots of streaming perks; Extensive travel benefits; Ability to upgrade phone every year
Cons: T-Mobile's most expensive option
Other T-Mobile plans
We're highlighting the best T-Mobile cell phone plans for particular situations, but these aren't your only option at the Uncarrier. Here's a quick summary of the other plans currently on offer at T-Mobile.
T-Mobile unlimited data plans
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
- Magenta Max ($85/month): One of T-Mobile's older offerings, this plan includes the same travel benefits as Go5G Plus, though you only get 5GB of data to use in Mexico and Canada. You're also limited ot 40GB of hotspot data.
- Magenta ($70/month): Essentially, the Magenta plan is just like the Go5G plan, but with less hotspot data (5GB instead of 15GB) and only 5GB of data when traveling in Mexico and Canada.
- Essentials ($60/month): This is T-Mobile's cheapest unlimited data plan, with only 3G speeds for hotspot data and few other perks. Your data speeds can be slowed if you use more than 50GB in a month.
T-Mobile senior plans
- Go5G Next 55 ($120/month for two lines): The senior version of Go5G Next, this plan lets you upgrade your smartphone every year.
- Go5G Plus 55 ($100/month for two lines): Anyone 55 years or older can get a discounted rate on the Go5G Plus plan, while receiving the same streaming and travel benefits included with unlimited data.
T-Mobile prepaid plans
- 12GB plan: T-Mobile's most expensive prepaid plan costs $35/month.
- 6.5GB plan: Like the 3.5GB connect plan, T-Mobile adds 500MB of data every year through 2025. This plan costs $25/month.
- 1GB plan: T-Mobile's cheapest prepaid plan is for people with minimal data needs. It costs $10/month.
Low-cost T-Mobile alternatives
Pricing on the best T-Mobile cell phone plans compares very well to comparable service at AT&T and Verizon, particularly when it comes to unlimited data plans. But there's a way to get T-Mobile service for even less — turn to a discount carrier that uses T-Mobile's network to provide low-cost coverage.
Such a service is known as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), and there are plenty that use T-Mobile for coverage. Our favorite happens to be Mint Mobile (which T-Mobile is actually in the process of buying). Mint offers four plans, ranging in price between $15 (5GB) and $30 (unlimited data) per month. You get those low rates by paying for your service in advance — prepaying for a year of data gets you the very best rate at Mint.
Mint's a popular choice because it includes full coverage on T-Mobile, including 5G speeds if you've got a comparable phone. As with any MVNO, you do risk seeing your traffic slowed if the network is congested and T-Mobile prioritizes its own customers.
Other MVNOs using T-Mobile's network include Tello, TextNow and Metro by T-Mobile. The latter service is owned and operated by T-Mobile.
Is T-Mobile a good carrier?
T-Mobile is not just a good carrier — it's currently the runner-up in our best phone phone carriers rankings. This position comes down to a couple of benefits and factors T-Mobile does very well.
When it comes to terms of plans and offers, T-Mobile is one of the most diverse options. It offers a wide array of prices that span family plans, unlimited data choices, prepaid plans and more.
Past that, our LTE network testing showed that T-Mobile is one of the faster carriers available, and subsequent testing by third parties backs that claim. In Ookla's most recent testing, T-Mobile was rated the fastest mobile operator in the U.S. with the best download and upload speeds.
T=Mobile also ranks well in 5G performance testing by third parties, with RootMetrics currently rating T-Mobile tops for 5G speeds and availability. (Verizon's 5G is judged to be more reliable.) T-Mobile's 5G service reaches more than 330 million people and through its incorporation of Sprint, 5G speeds have increased further by adding Sprints 5G into the spectrum. T-Mobile now offers its fastest 5G to 300 million people after an aggressive upgrade program.
T-Mobile also has weekly giveaways and a host of incentives for its customers. For instance, this year, it's offering T-Mobile customers the MLS Season Pass that streams ever Major League Soccer match through the Apple TV Plus streaming service. Overall, T-Mobile finishes in the runner-up spot among phone carriers thanks to its blend of affordability, features, the number of options and its great coverage; the carrier has been the victim of several embarrassing data breaches, though.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.