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Best T-Mobile cell phone plans in 2021

Best T-Mobile cell phone plans
(Image credit: Julian Sullivan/Getty Images)
How to get T-Mobile on a budget

While T-Mobile is one of the more affordable carriers, a number of MVNOs offer better prices on their monthly plans — and one of those is Mint Mobile.

Mint specializes in low cost plans while turning to the T-Mobile network to provide its wireless service. That means you can get T-Mobile's speeds, coverage and 5G power at a much cheaper price by going with Mint Mobile.

Find out more about Mint Mobile at the bottom of this page.

The best T-Mobile cell phone plans rank among the top options available for US shoppers who want affordable monthly wireless service. And there are surprisingly more options at T-Mobile than you might imagine, meaning there's a plan aimed to appeal to all kinds of people.

Price is a big reason for that appear. T-Mobile can usually boast that it's a more affordable option than rivals AT&T and Verizon. Meanwhile, T-Mobile 5G has led the way so far in the early stages of the expanding wireless standard. What's more, since T-Mobile took over Sprint, it's seen an even greater boost to its features and coverage. But which T-Mobile cell phone plans are the best available?

The best cell phone plans from T-Mobile address all kinds of users, though you'll get the most value if you have multiple lines — T-Mobile offers one of the best family cell phone plans. T-Mobile follows a similar system to a lot of its competitors — the more lines you add, the better the overall value.

However, this doesn't mean you have to join as a group to get strong value from T-Mobile. Both the carrier's unlimited cell phone plans and its prepaid plans also offer some of the best value around.

While T-Mobile is one of the more affordable major carriers in the US, you can get its coverage, speeds, and 5G connections even cheaper through one of the mobile virtual networks that use its towers —Mint Mobile. Just keep in mind that Mint won't have all of the benefits of T-Mobile, plus Mint plans can be slowed when T-Mobile's network is busy due to deprioritization.

If T-Mobile cell phone plans sound like something that would work for you, we've broken down the best T-Mobile cell phone plans below.

Unlimited and family T-Mobile plans

T-Mobile offers three different unlimited data plans — Essentials, Magenta and Magenta Max. You can get a plan for just one person or you can add additional lines for the best prices.

If you add extra lines, T-Mobile's different unlimited options stand out as some of the best family plans out there. The Essentials option is aimed at those on a tighter budget, while then the two Magenta plans offer some more luxuries for a higher monthly price.

Finally, T-Mobile also has an unlimited plan for any senior customers that ranks as one of the best cell phone plans for seniors.

T-Mobile Essentials| unlimited data | $60/month or $105 for four lines- Cheapest unlimited plan from T-Mobile
The cheapest of T-Mobile's unlimited data plans, Essentials will only cost you $60 a month (or $105 a month for a four-line plan). For that price, you get unlimited calls, texts and 5G LTE data. However you will only get 50GB of premium data (where you are a prioritized customer getting the fastest speeds). You will also be limited to SD video streaming and while you get an unlimited hotspot, it will be limited to 3G speeds.

Pros: Affordable price; No caps on data; Great family discount
Cons: Only 3G hotspot; Limited to SD video streamingView Deal

T-Mobile Magenta | unlimited data | $70/month or $140 for four lines - Best value unlimited plan
The middle of T-Mobile's unlimited data plans and the overall best value, Magenta will cost you $70 a month for a single line or $140 for four lines. Like the Essentials plan, you get unlimited calls, texts and data and you're still limited to SD video streaming. However, you now get 100GB of priority data, 5GB of high-speed data on your hotspot and Netflix Basic thrown in for free when you have two or more lines.

Pros: Attractive perks; Affordable price; Benefits for additional lines
Cons: No HD video; Limits on premium dataView Deal

T-Mobile Magenta Max | unlimited data | $85/month or $170 for four lines - T-Mobile's feature-filled unlimited plan
T-Mobile's truly unlimited plan costs $85 a month or $170 for four lines. At that price, Magenta Max is quite an investment but you get unlimited calls, texts and data and no limits on premium data. You also both Netflix Basic for one line of data or a Netflix Standard account for two or more lines. Hotspot data increases to 40GB of high-speed data, and you can stream in up to 4K UHD. If you're not worried about costs, this is T-Mobile's best option.

Pros: Netflix Standard; Unlimited priority data; 4K UHD streaming
Cons: ExpensiveView Deal

T-Mobile | 55+ senior unlimited plan | 2-line plan | $55/month - Best value unlimited senior plan
If you're 55 or over, you can get one of the above options for a lower price and with a few changes to the features on board. The best-price comes on the Essentials plan. You can get two unlimited lines for just $55 a month ($27.50 per line). This comes with unlimited data, calls, and texts with no speed restrictions, a 3G mobile hotspot, and scam protection. However, you are limited to SD streaming, and if you're in Mexico or Canada, you can only use 2G data. Seniors can upgrade to Magenta or Magenta Max 55+ too for an added cost.

Affordable price; No annual contract; 5G at no extra cost
Cons: Limited to 2G in Mexico/Canada; Only SD streamingView Deal

T-Mobile prepaid plans

If you don't need unlimited data, T-Mobile also has some great prepaid options. These come at much lower costs but not surprisingly, you will also receive a lot less data and fewer perks.

T-Mobile Connect | 2.5GB data | $15 - Low cost cell phone plan from a big name carrier
This is a great option from T-Mobile if you're on a tighter budget. You'll get 2.5GB and only have to pay $15 a month to get it. While that is quite a limited amount of data, you will get an additional 500MB added to your plan annually. 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 5.5GB of data instead for an extra $10 a month.

Pros: Low costs, 500MB data boosts annually
Cons: Out of data once you hit your capView Deal

T-Mobile prepaid plan | 10GB data | $40 or $130 for four lines - A strong amount of data for the cost
This prepaid plan boosts your data up to 10GB instead of the 2.5GB found above. And while the cost is quite a jump to $40 a month, there are a few key differences in plans. You get scam-blocking protection and caller ID, plus you get Music Unlimited allowing you to stream certain music streaming services without eating into your data cap. Finally, you get a mobile hotspot, though it draws from your 10GB data allotment. Like the unlimited plans further up, you can also add lines for a family plan.

Pros: Music unlimited; Affordable price
Limited data; Mobile hotspot and regular data sharedView Deal

T-Mobile Unlimited prepaid plan | Unlimited data | $50 or $140 for four lines - Unlimited data at a reduced cost
While similar to the unlimited plans above, this prepaid option holds a few key differences. While you still get unlimited data, calls and texts, you'll save $10 a month with this plan compared to T-Mobile's Essentials plan. You don't get international texting or unlimited data in Mexico or Canada though — a feature found on all three unlimited plans further up this guide. You can also upgrade to the Plus version of T-Mobile's unlimited prepaid plan. This is almost identical except a boost of 10GB 4G data on your mobile hotspot.

Pros: Affordable unlimited; Security features; Unlimited hotspot
Expensive; Limited to 3G mobile hotspotView Deal

Is T-Mobile a good carrier?

T-Mobile cell phone plans

(Image credit: Oscar Wong)

T-Mobile is not just a good carrier but in fact, it takes the top spot on our best phone phone carriers guide. 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. It also ranks well in 5G performance testing by third parties. T-Mobile's 5G service reaches more than 287 million people and through its incorporation of Sprint, 5G speeds have increased further by adding Sprints 5G into the spectrum.

T-Mobile also has weekly giveaways and a host of incentives for its customers, as well as one of the market's better trade-in schemes. Overall, T-Mobile takes our number 1 spot among phone carriers thanks to its blend of affordability, features, the number of options and its great coverage.

Getting T-Mobile on a budget: Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile coverage map

(Image credit: Mint Mobile)

T-Mobile itself is an affordable carrier but you can get its services cheaper. As we said above, Mint Mobile is a popular network that uses the connections, coverage and speeds of T-Mobile to provide wireless service at a discount.

This means that you will experience the exact same coverage and speeds as T-Mobile customers both for 4G and 5G. However, Mint customers could get throttled in peak times.

The benefit of choosing Mint over T-Mobile is its affordability. Mint for example can offer unlimited data for $30 a month, 15GB for $25 a month or even 4GB for $15 a month. However, Mint does its contracts slightly weirdly. You actually pay for your service upfront. When you get Mint, you get a 3-month intro price which, for example, would be how you get the unlimited data for $30 a month.

While the 4GB plan says $15 a month, you are actually paying $45 for that period. When that time period's up, you then sign up for three, six or 12 months and pay the cost upfront. The longer you sign on for, the better the price.

If you can afford to pay for your cell phone plan upfront, Mint offers some of the cheapest prices out there.

Alex is an editor at Future with a focus on phones and broadband. With an eye on the best prices across both of these areas, Alex is bringing you the must-have bargains right now.