MetroPCS is getting a new name as T-Mobile rebrands its prepaid phone service, and as a result, MetroPCS customers are getting a whole new array of plans and benefits.
Starting next month, MetroPCS will change its name to Metro By T-Mobile, emphasizing its ties to the Uncarrier. (MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile and uses it cellular towers for its wireless service.) T-Mobile touted the change as a way to eliminate the distinction between prepaid and postpaid service.
The new Metro by T-Mobile branding is certainly more than just cosmetic if you look at the new unlimited plans the company plans to offer in October. Metro will offer two unlimited by options for $50 a month and $60 a month respectively. The cheaper of the two plans features 5GB of LTE hotspot data, while the $60 plan ups hotspot data to 15GB and includes an Amazon Prime membership.
The Amazon Prime perk is a significant one. Annual memberships for Amazon's service cost $119 a year — roughly the extra $10 a month you'd pay Metro by T-Mobile for the more expensive of its unlimited plans. A monthly Amazon Prime membership costs $12.99 a month.
Both unlimited plans get another perk: a Google One plan offering cloud storage. T-Mobile tells us that customers will get 100GB of storage with Google One, a plan that costs $1.99 a month. Customers will be able to share storage with family members.
|Monthly Plan||Data Allotment||Hotspot Data||Additional Perks|
|$30||2GB||From LTE Data||Includes taxes & fees|
|$40||10GB||None||Includes taxes & fees|
|$50||Unlimited||5GB||Includes taxes & fees; Google One|
|$60||Unlimited||15GB||Includes taxes & fees; Google One; Amazon Prime|
Unlimited plan prices are unchanged from MetroPCS's old offerings, and the less expensive $50 monthly plan gains LTE hotspot data. MetroPCS's $60 offering used to offer unlimited hotspot data. Both new plans restrict video streaming to 480p.
Another thing that hasn't changed with the switch from MetroPCS to Metro by T-Mobile is the cost of adding extra lines. It cost $30 per line before the Metro got its new name, and it will be $30 afterward. That's a good value if you're adding lines to one of Metro's Unlimited prices, but there's less of a price discount for the carrier's tiered data plans.
The $40 monthly plan gets a big data boost under the Metro by T-Mobile branding. Before, you got a fairly generous 5GB of LTE data each month under that plan. Metro is doubling that to 10GB, topping AT&T's 8GB allotment for its similarly priced prepaid plan. Metro's cheapest plan continues to offer 2GB for $30 a month.
As with T-Mobile's T-Mobile One Unlimited Plan, all the new Metro plans have their taxes and fees baked into the monthly rate.
T-Mobile hopes that the new name removes some of the stigma associated with prepaid service, where customers feel they're making a trade-off for the lower monthly rates. One of the big trade-offs remains, however: T-Mobile says network speeds could still slow for Metro customers if T-Mobile's network gets congested. In other words, T-Mobile traffic gets priority. Still, when we've tested network speeds, we've noticed that MetroPCS phones tend to mirror the download and upload speeds of T-Mobile handsets.
T-Mobile says it's also going to expand the phone selection at Metro, one of the prepaid carrier's more noteworthy shortcomings. While not providing specifics, T-Mobile said the new Metro brand would feature "a wide variety of both Android and iOS smartphones for every price point, including the absolute latest releases."
MetroPCS currently ranks as our top pick for best discount carrier, so it will be interesting to see whether Metro by T-Mobile can improve upon that position — and how other carriers will respond with their own prepaid offerings.
Editors' Note: Updated at 2:18 p.m. ET to include additional info on Google One.