The rumors were true, as T-Mobile quietly unveiled data only plans for smartphones today. The new Simple Choice Data Only plans are even more mysterious than T-Mobile's unadvertised $30 prepaid smartphone plan in that the plans are nowhere to be found on T-Mobile's website. At least with enough digging you can find the $30 plan on T-Mobile's website, although the carrier keeps the plans full feature set under wraps.
With the release of data only plans for smartphones, T-Mobile became the first major wireless provider in the USA to offer such a plan to the masses ((anyone can signup for Simple Choice Data only plans although they are primarily aimed to serve those that are hearing impaired)). Sprint and Verizon also offer similar data only plans, however they are only available to those with speech disabilities. Recently launched Sprint MVNO Charge Mobile Data was the first MVNO to exclusively launch data only plans for smartphones.
Pricing and Availability
The new Simple Choice Data Only plans can only be purchased in store or by calling T-Mobile directly at +1(855)-408-7784. Pricing for the plans are as follows:
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- 2 GB - $20
- 6 GB - $35
- 10 GB - $50
- 14 GB - $65
- 18 GB - $80
- 22 GB - $95
All plans include unlimited texting and E911 service. Data stash is also included with the plans. Other T-Mobile features such as, Binge On and Music Freedom are thought to be included as well. Binge On will require a plan with 6 GB of data or more to have data that doesn't count against your cap. For those that need a phone to use with one of the plans, T-Mobile is offering financing through its equipment installment plan.
I am glad to see at least one carrier break away from the antiquated model of forcing talk and text plans on smartphone users given that alternative services such as Google Voice/Hangouts allow free voice calls and texting over mobile data and Wi-Fi connections.
Whether or not these plans appeal to you will depend on how much data you need, how you feel about signing up for wireless service with an MVNO or how you feel about using an app to make free phone calls. Using the BestMVNO cell phone plan comparison tool we can see that there currently is not a cheaper T-Mobile based offering out there for 2 GB of data. However, some may feel more comfortable paying roughly $5 more per month (depending on how much in taxes your location requires you to pay) for traditional and unlimited talk capabilities through a provider such as TPO Wireless.
The 6 GB for $35 plan is also in a sweet spot as you can't get more LTE data for less on T-Mobile with another plan. However, those that want some traditional voice minutes may prefer T-Mobile's $30 plan which includes 100 minutes but only 5 GB of LTE data or T-Mobile MVNO Walmart Family Mobile's plan priced at $39.88 which includes unlimited talk, but only 5 GB of data.
Beyond the 2 GB and 6 GB data plans, things become a bit murky as to whether or not the remaining plans provide better value than a traditional cell phone plan. Walmart Family Mobile for instance offers unlimited talk, text and 10 GB of data for $49.88, essentially the same price as T-Mobile's 10 GB data only plan but without any voice minutes. MetroPCS offers unlimited data for $60/month.
So what do you think of these new data only plans for smartphones? Have any BestMVNO visitors already switched over to one?