T-Mobile today unveiled Un-Carrier 8.0 in which they announced they will now allow unused monthly data to be carried over to the next month and beyond for a period of up to a year. T-Mobile also claims to be the first nationwide carrier to offer such a feature, although I'm not so sure that this is an entirely true statement, but we'll get back to that in a moment. First, to qualify for this new feature you'll need to be on a post paid Simple Choice plan that includes at least 3 GB of LTE data. That means you'll have to either be on an individual plan for $60 that includes the aforementioned 3 GB of 4G LTE data, or $70 if you want 5 GB of LTE. Family plans are also included in this offer with the same stipulations, any line subscribed to a plan with at least 3 GB of 4G LTE data qualifies. As a bonus, the carrier is giving everyone who signs up for a qualifying plan or is already signed up for a qualifying plan a free 10 GB of LTE data to stash away. The free bonus data must be used up by 12/31/2015 or you'll lose it. Once you do use up this free data stash, any unused data from your regular monthly plan will then start accumulating as part of your own data stash. This new service goes into affect in January of 2015.
Now back to that earlier statement. T-Mobile has claimed to be the first national carrier to offer data carryover, but is that really true? In the way that T-Mobile is doing it, it technically is. However, Verizon Allset prepaid does offer some form of data carry over in the form of "bridge data." Verizon allows you to add on data packs to your prepaid monthly plan that can be banked for up to 3 months before they expire. T-Mobile's unused data however lasts for a year, however, they are forcing you to sign up for one of their higher tiered plans before you even qualify for it. Given the state of mobile data usage though, it's hard to gauge just how much of a deal this really is. You see, Mobile data usage in North America has actually been exploding. In 2012 the average North American consumed 752 MB/month, and in 2013 that number rose to 1.38 GB. Furthermore, a report recently came out that says Americans currently average about 2 GB per month of mobile data usage, however by the end of 2015 the average user is expected to consume 3.3 GB per month. So in the long term, it would seem most people on the 3 GB data plans won't really be stashing anything away. The way things are trending, in just a couple of years the average American may be consuming 5 GB of data monthly so this particular T-Mobile Un-Carrier move doesn't seem all that exciting to me. I was much more impressed with Un-Carrier 6.0 in which T-Mobile unveiled unlimited audio streaming of select streaming providers such as Spotify in which the data used does not count against your cap.
I think now is a good time to revisit RingPlus. I think Ring Plus is really doing something innovative with your unused data. The Sprint MVNO will soon allow you to resell your unused data to other customers. This is one of the things I like about MVNO's they must come up with new and innovative ways to offer no contract cell phone plans in the market in order to stay competitive and separate themselves from their competitors.