Disclosure: I receive absolutely nothing for writing this post. Just thought the information would be useful to some. Although, if T-mobile wants to pay me, I’d be happy to take their money and update this disclosure accordingly!
I made the switch to T-mobile a few months ago and have been pretty happy. My dad (of all people) just alerted me to an offer that expires tomorrow (9/30). Normally I wouldn’t talk about this kind of stuff, but T-mobile offers free data and texting (albeit at slower speeds) abroad which was the main reason I made the switch. Not only is this a chance to save money, but it’s a case where you can save money and get a feature that would cost you more on other networks.
The Simple Choice Family Plan
Here are the relevant details (and link):
4 Lines cost $100/month total ($10 for every additional line after that up to 6 total)
2.5 GB high speed data PER LINE through 2015, 1GB after 2015 (data limited to 2G speeds if you go over) <= This is the special deal that expires tomorrow
Unlimited talk, text, and data in network (except throttled data after a certain point as I said above)
Unlimited data and text internationally (in a bunch of countries)
What I Like About this Offer
There are a bunch of things I like about this offer. First of all, the international data and text is why I switched to T-mobile in the first place. I had been using Straight Talk, but for $5 more per month ($45 vs. $40) I would get free international data and texting. This was mostly a luxury during my trips to Brazil and Germany this summer, though the data actually helped me out of a bind in customs in Canada (print out your onward ticket if you’re transiting Canada, FYI).
Another thing I like is you don’t have to share data as a family or between devices – everyone gets their own data. Makes the math a lot easier. There are also no contracts so you can move on whenever you like. Which brings me to the real kicker of the current deal – the 2.5 GB high speed data through 2015. With my current usage (I only get 1 GB high speed), I generally get throttled about a week before my service month ends. With 2.5 GB through 2015, I would never even approach that.
Actually, I guess the real kicker is the price – if you go in with 6 people, you are each paying $20/month. That’s more than half what I’m paying right now! For 4 people you pay $25 each so that’s still a great deal. At 2 people the math is trickier and up to you ($40 per person). Anyway, at $20/month for 2.5 GB high speed data (and no overages even if you surpass that), you could save a ton of money.
For reference, a plan at Verizon for four lines and 10 GB of shared data is $160 at the cheapest (with Verizon Edge whatever that is), or $15 more per person than the equivalent T-mobile plan. Plus you’re stuck in a contract.
What I Dislike About this Offer
Well, what I dislike is really what I dislike about T-mobile. I live in metropolitan Boston, where service is fine, but out in the suburbs it can get spotty at times. I don’t talk on the phone much but I definitely feel less at ease at times when I’m hiking and stuff – you need service to call 911. Then again I am naturally quite paranoid. The international data and texting is great in theory, but only good in practice – there are definitely times when I didn’t have enough service. And after the data gets throttled, it really can be slow, though patience is a virtue! Also, I don’t expect that to be a problem with 2.5 GB.
Things to Know Before You Sign Up
When I signed up for an individual T-mobile plan, I just moved my phone over because it was compatible. To really save money, you really want to come with your own device or buy something cheap. Since there is no contract you often need to buy fully priced phones, so make sure you factor that into your calculations. I like the Nexus line of phones which you can find on the Google Play store. But any compatible phone will do. You can of course buy a phone from T-mobile, but that will set you back more money.
Also, while it’s probably too late for this particular offer, T-mobile offers a free test drive of their products and network. So could be worth checking out if you are a careful consumer.
Oh, and this will require a credit check for the primary user – so plan accordingly (have the family member who hates applying for credit cards do it!)
T-mobile is a good, not great, wireless carrier, but I feel like the value trumps the spotty service. If you can swing it for $20/month (which we’re about to do), I think it’s a really good deal. But that’s just one man’s opinion. Either way, hopefully at the very least this post is a reminder that you can cut costs in a lot of places if you’re willing to give up a little bit. In this case, you get international data and text in return – so personally I’d be inclined to pull the trigger.