T-Mobile Offers Kickbacks to Data Dieters

Your only option for a new data plan at T-Mobile will soon be the carrier's unlimited-data deal. But even low-data users might now have an incentive to switch, thanks to a new rebate plan in which customers get money back for using less than 2GB of data each month.

Specifically, T-Mobile says it will give a $10 bill credit to each line that uses less than 2GB per month as part of its new KickBack program. The program could appeal not just to users who balk at unlimited data plans they don't need, but also families in which some members gobble up less data than others.

T-Mobile has plenty of reason to remind would-be subscribers that there's no penalty for signing up for unlimited plans, as starting Jan. 22, it will offer only its T-Mobile One plan to new subscribers. Introduced last year, T-Mobile One provides subscribers with unlimited LTE data on top of unlimited talk and text.

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Since launching T-Mobile One, the carrier has kept a handful of tiered data plans, but those will be dropped as of Jan. 22. Existing customers will be able to keep their tiered Simple Choice plans if they prefer.

A T-Mobile One subscription costs $70 for a single line, with a second line costing another $50; additional lines cost $20 each, so a family of four pays $160 for unlimited data.

There is one limitation with T-Mobile One: You're restricted to streaming video at 480p. If you prefer higher-resolution streaming, you can either pay for a $3 24-hour HD pass, or you can opt for the T-Mobile One Plus plan for an extra $15 a month. In addition to high-resolution video streaming, One Plus also gives you unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi through Gogo, 3G data speeds when you travel abroad, and other perks.

T-Mobile is throwing in another incentive to attract new customers. It's vowing to eliminate access and regulatory fees so that the amount T-Mobile advertises is the amount that appears on your bill at the end of the month.

"Our dream is turn the internet into a simple monthly subscription," T-Mobile chief operating officer Mike Sievert said at a CES press conference announcing the carrier's new changes.

As a final prod to attract new customers, T-Mobile will offer a $150 rebate for switchers. There's no trade-in required as part of that offer.

T-Mobile's $150 per line rebate begins tomorrow (Jan. 6). The KickBack program for unused data launches Jan. 22; subscribers will need to opt in to KickBack on the T-Mobile app.

Philip Michaels

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.