T-Mobile has, once again, upped the bar for wireless carriers. Through their series of “uncarrier” moves, they have changed the way that wireless phones should be used. First it was unlimited music streaming from a plethora of sites. Then they provided customers with “binge on” where you could stream video from a wide range of sites without touching your data.
On September 1, 2016, T-Mobile started offering T-Mobile One. New subscribers won’t have to choose from multiple plans. T-Mobile One gives all new subscribers one plan to choose from.
What does this mean? As a new subscriber, you get unlimited talk, text, data, and tethering. Existing subscribers also have the option to change their plan to the new plan.
To break down the service and cost, I will provide you with my details. I have 4 lines: my wife, two teenagers, and my own. My old plan was Simple Choice Unlimited. We had unlimited talk, text, data, and 7 gigabytes per month of tethering. The total cost of the plan for four lines before tax was $240 per month.
Of course unlimited talk and text is self-explanatory. My teenage daughter would send approximately 15,000 messages per month so it was perfect for that.
The unlimited data was also great. My teenage son, a heavy video streamer and gamer would use approximately 30-50 gigabytes per month. I would also use quite a bit of data, myself, programming and also streaming video.
7 gigabytes of tethering was okay but, as a heavy traveler, I would sometimes find myself needing a little more tethering bandwidth. That was okay too, but I had to pay a little extra for it when needed.
With the new plan, I have an unlimited tethering ability. That is good.
For any of you who had the pleasure of using HughesNet during the second and third generation OR even some of you old school DSL users, you may remember the speeds. While faster than dialup, the speeds were certainly not what you call “high speed”.
T-Mobile One’s unlimited tethering option restricts your speeds to 512 kbps. Just how fast is 512 kbps, you may ask. The LTE download speed on my phone via speedtest.net typically ranges from 10 Mbps to 99 Mbps depending on where I am at. 1 Mbps is equivalent to 1024 kbps. That is basically 20-200 times slower than my typical LTE connection.
The tethering still works and I still can stream videos from Netflix without it stopping to buffer every few seconds but it is not as fast as what I am used to.
Does that mean it is a bad idea to change my plan? Certainly not! They offer an option to provide you with LTE speeds while tethering. It costs $25 more per month.
The new cost of my service for four lines went from $240 per month before tax to $145 per month before tax. Here is the breakdown of the cost.
My line costs $75. This gives me unlimited everything. My wife’s line costs $50. Each of the kids lines are $20 each. That adds up to $165 per month. Add in $5 credit per line for having the account on auto pay and that drops the cost to $145.
If you are looking for another reason to switch your plan or carrier, the Simple Choice Unlimited plan would prioritize your data at 22 gigabytes. For us, this was not really a factor because our location is very rural and the network is simply not congested. However, I have seen times in Houston and Atlanta and even Mobile where my speeds were degraded due to congestion. Under the new plan, the prioritization amount has increased to 26 gigabytes.
Having a Samsung Note 5 (and this trick works for all Samsung devices, or at least all that I have seen), a simple manual band selection would alleviate this by placing the phone in WCDMA only mode. This trick only works where T-Mobile has 4G in conjunction with 4G LTE service. To access this, from the dialer punch in *#2263#, tap band selection, and choose the band that you wish to use. Once out of the area, punch the same code in and put it back into Automatic.
Would I recommend this plan to you? Absolutely.
In conclusion, T-Mobile One along with T-Mobile Tuesdays and all of the other benefits and exceptional customer service makes the choice simple. If you are currently with AT&T, and I was 4 years ago, then you may have a longing to deal with customer service who actually cares about the customer. AT&T customers, you won’t go wrong. Period.