The T-Mobile One family plan is an attractive option if you, your partner or your kids burn through data. There are other, less expensive unlimited plans out there, but T-Mobile’s plan also allows unlimited mobile hot spot use. However, if you’re outside a major metropolitan area, T-Mobile’s network might leave something to be desired.
AT A Glance
- Plans start at $130 per month for two lines
- Strengths: Good value if you use tons of data; unlimited 3G speed mobile hot spot
- Weaknesses: Relatively expensive, one-size-fits-all plan may not fit your usage
T-Mobile family cell phone plans
The T-Mobile One plan offers unlimited minutes, texts and data for $75 per month and a discount on each additional line. You can sign up for as many as eight lines online. Call T-Mobile if you need more than eight.
- Line 1: $75 per month.
- Line 2: $55 per month.
- Lines 3-8: $25 per month.
That shakes out to $180 for a family of four. Signing up for automatic payments gets you a discount of $5 per line, per month, for a $160 per month total. You can also save $10 per month, as a bill credit, on lines that use 2GB of data or less when you sign up for the new kickback feature.
Unlike T-Mobile’s previous unlimited plan, T-Mobile One’s video streaming is restricted to standard definition (480p). If you want to stream in high definition, you can bump up to the One Plus plan for an additional $15 per line. You can then switch over to HD streaming at any time. You can get HD video streaming on the standard One plan, but you’ll have to buy an HD day pass for $3 per line.
The standard One plan allows unlimited hot spot usage, albeit at 3G speeds. If you upgrade to One Plus International for an extra $25 per month, you get unlimited hot spot usage at 4G speeds, along with other international roaming perks and unlimited HD video streaming.
For new customers, T-Mobile One’s advertised price now includes most monthly taxes and fees, the kind that might otherwise inflate your bill beyond what you expect. It doesn’t include taxes or fees for add-ons like insurance or phone payments. Many prepaid carriers already have similarly inclusive pricing.
Current T-Mobile One customers can opt in to the new inclusive pricing but may have to sacrifice any promotional deals they’re receiving.
» MORE: Best family cell phone plans
How T-Mobile’s family plan compares on prices
Here’s a comparison of the monthly price per line for the major unlimited data plans on the market. You’ll see that T-Mobile One usually ends up on the more expensive side.
Remember, though, that you can get a $5 discount each month on each line if you sign up for autopay. You can also get a $10 monthly discount on lines that use 2GB of data or less — but then why are you on an expensive unlimited plan?
|Price per line||1 line||2 lines||3 lines||4 lines|
|*Offers discount when you auto pay your monthly bill.
†LTE download speeds limited to 3Mbps and video limited to standard definition.
|AT&T Unlimited Plus*||$95||$77.50||$58.33||$48.75|
|AT&T Unlimited Choice†*||$65||$62.50||$48.33||$41.25|
You’ll want to take a look at how more traditional plans compare as well. If you don’t use too much data, you may be able to find better value among carriers offering limited data plans.
|*T-Mobile now offers its One plan only with unlimited data.
**Pricing for Unlimited Plus plan.
|1GB or less||$110 (1GB)||$120 (1GB)||N/A||N/A|
|2-3GB||$120 (3GB)||$130 (3GB)||$115 (2GB)||N/A|
|4-6GB||$140 (6GB)||$145 (6GB)||$130 (4GB)||N/A|
|8-10GB||$160 (10GB)||N/A||$150 (8GB)||N/A|
|16-20GB||$170 (16GB)||N/A||$170 (16GB)||N/A|
|21-25GB||$190 (25GB)||$180 (24GB)||$190 (24GB)||N/A|
|26GB+||$260 (40GB)||$200 (40GB)||$260 (40GB)||N/A|
How T-Mobile’s family plan compares on features
T-Mobile One renders the usual data-saving features obsolete, since it’s all unlimited anyway. Data speeds slow down if you reach 28GB of data in a month, but few people will use that much.
|*T-Mobile now only offers the One plan with unlimited data, rendering these features unneeded.
†Streaming video is only unlimited on Verizon's go90 app.
|Unlimited 2G data||Yes||Yes||N/A||Optional|
|Unlimited video streaming||No||No||N/A||Yes†|
|Unlimited music streaming||No||No||N/A||No|
T-Mobile One includes unlimited mobile hot spot tethering at 3G speeds, a feature difficult to find among unlimited plans. Most will offer you unlimited data on your phone but cap how much data you can pull down through your hot spot.
T-Mobile is also keeping its attractive international service features as standard with T-Mobile One. That means unlimited calling, texting and 2G data in Mexico and Canada. You also get unlimited texting and 2G data in over 140 countries abroad; calling is extra.
Is T-Mobile’s family plan right for you?
If you have a large family of heavy data users, you can make a case for T-Mobile One, especially if you frequently tether other devices to your phones. Just make sure everyone is cool with streaming only standard definition video.
One other thing to note: T-Mobile’s network isn’t on par with Verizon and AT&T in data speed and reliability, though it performs well in major metropolitan areas. If T-Mobile works well in your area, its family plan is one to strongly consider.
Call T-Mobile’s customer service at (855) 253-0992.
Updated Feb. 1, 2016.
Stephen Layton is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.