T-Mobile Will Pay for Your Netflix: Is It a Good Deal?

If you're a fan of Stranger Things, House of Cards or any of the other original shows or movies streaming on Netflix, T-Mobile suddenly became a much more attractive option.

The carrier announced today (Sept. 6) that it would pick up the cost of a basic Netflix subscription for anyone on a family plan.

Credit: T-Mobile/YouTube

(Image credit: T-Mobile/YouTube)

Specifically, current or new customers who subscribe to the carrier's T-Mobile One plan starting Sept. 12 will be eligible to have T-Mobile pick up their $9.99 per month Netflix subscription. T-Mobile bills the move as a potential savings of $120 per year.

"This is the latest illustration that not all unlimited is created equal," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said, while unveiling the Netflix On Us promotion.

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Eligible T-Mobile One accounts include any plan with two or more lines. T-Mobile's unlimited plan currently costs two people $120 a month, while a family of four pays $160.

To take advantage of the offer, you'll need to go to your Netflix account and associate that account to T-Mobile. The offer extends to existing Netflix subscribers as well as new customers who've been eying the streaming services.

As far as carrier promotions go, this one is pretty straightforward, but there are a few catches to be aware of. If you've got a legacy plan with T-Mobile, you'll have to upgrade to T-Mobile One to qualify for the Netflix offer. That includes recent promotions like T-Mobile's One Unlimited 55+ plan, in which seniors can get two lines of data for $60, as well as the carrier's two-lines-for-$100 unlimited plan.

And customers who've taken advantage of that promotion may want to steer clear of T-Mobile's Netflix on Us offer. To have T-Mobile cover the cost of their Netflix account, those customers would have to upgrade to a $120-a-month unlimited plan for two lines — a $20 monthly increase to save $9.99 on their Netflix subscription. Even Legere conceded that for some customers the lower promotional rate may be more attractive than the Netflix savings during a call with reporters outlining the promotion.

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If you pay for an $11.99 Netflix premium plan, which includes HD streaming and the ability to watch on more screens simultaneously than the basic plan, you're still on the hook for anything above the $9.99 T-Mobile's willing to pay off. That extra money will appear on your monthly T-Mobile bill.

Note that the T-Mobile One caps video streaming at 480p resolution. To get HD streaming, you'd have to pay $10 extra per line each month.

Still, T-Mobile thinks its Netflix offer is more attractive than video streaming bundles provided by other carriers — notably AT&T. which includes HBO with its Unlimited Plus plan. However, at $185 a month for a family of four, AT&T's Unlimited Plus is $25 more expensive than what T-Mobile charges, and HBO isn't included with AT&T's cheaper unlimited plan.

T-Mobile is also using its Netflix promotion to highlight the performance of its network, particularly a recent report from testing firm Open Signal that found speeds at AT&T and Verizon slowing since those carriers began offering unlimited plans. While OpenSignal rank T-Mobile highly, other testing firms like RootMetrics still give top honors to Verizon for performance.

To promote its new partnership with Netflix, T-Mobile is holding a giveaway on its Twitter account tomorrow (Sept. 7). Starting at noon ET, the carrier will post questions, and you can answer with your favorite Netflix show quotes and memes. T-Mobile is giving away free smartphones and other goodies, with the grand prize being 11 tickets and an all-expense paid trip to the Stranger Things season two premier.

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.