T-Mobile Monthly 4G Review: $30 per Month Bargain

T-Mobile’s $30 Monthly 4G plan is an unbelievable deal. Smartphone users on a budget should definitely take a look at T-Mobile’s somewhat-hidden $30 plan before signing a two-year contract. You will need to bring your own phone or buy an unsubsidized phone from T-Mobile, but the long-term savings are worth it.

I purchased an unlocked Galaxy Nexus from a developer that attended Google I/O last week. I primarily bought it so I could get an early look at Jelly Bean, the latest version of Android.

Read: Jelly Bean Makes Galaxy Nexus Faster, Smoother & Smarter

The phone is unlocked, which means I can use it with any GSM service provider. In the United States that pretty much limits my options to T-Mobile or AT&T.  I already have an iPhone 4S on an AT&T family plan and a Galaxy Nexus on an individual Verizon plan.

Galaxy Nexus Jelly Bean

Unlocked Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean.c

The unlocked Galaxy Nexus will serve as a third phone, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a service plan for it. As with all of my mobile devices, a high data limit and portable hotspot service for the unlocked Nexus are a must. Adding a line to my AT&T family plan would cost $9.99 for voice and SMS, while 5GB of data with hotspot would cost an extra $50.  Taxes and fees would cost an extra $10 or so, bringing the total up to about $70 per month.

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That was more than I wanted to spend and I prefer carrying devices that run on separate networks, especially when I travel. You never know when you’ll be stuck without phone service, as many found out during recent storms.  I took a look at T-Mobile’s pre-paid rates and didn’t see a whole lot of savings compared to adding a line with AT&T, at first glance. Bringing a phone to T-Mobile will save subscribers $20 per month compared to buying a subsidized phone from the carrier. The 5GB 4G plan costs $74.99 per month and does not include the portable hotspot feature. Like other major carriers, T-Mobile primarily pushes post-paid plans.

I found exactly the right plan for my unlocked Galaxy Nexus when I discovered T-Mobile’s pre-paid plan page. For $30 per month, including taxes and fees, I could get unlimited messaging and Web. The plan includes just 100 minutes of voice calls per month, but that’s plenty considering my use-case for this phone. Extra minutes cost just 10 cents each. The mobile hotspot feature is a $15 add-on.

I went to Walgreens and bought a $30 pre-paid T-Mobile phone. I didn’t care about the cheap Samsung  flip phone, I just wanted the SIM card. I popped the SIM card in my Nexus and went through the activation process on T-Mobile’s Web site. I had to call in to confirm my credit card details and just like that I had a plan that wouldn’t break the bank.

Monthly Costs of New Individual AT&T Account

At $45 per month the Monthly 4G plan is more than a third cheaper than adding a line to an AT&T family plan. The price difference is even more dramatic compared to getting a completely new line of service with AT&T. Above is a screenshot of what it looks like to sign up for a 5GB per month plan with mobile hotspot, unlimited messaging and 450 minutes per month, plus unlimited mobile to mobile calling. Add in taxes and fees and the plan is north of $120 per month. Ouch…

Obviously, AT&T’s basic plan offers a lot more voice minutes, but smartphone users often aren’t as concerned about voice minutes as they are with data speeds and limits.  If you fall into this camp, the $30 T-Mobile plan may be for you. You’d have go at least 750 minutes over the 100 per month limit to catch up to the AT&T monthly plan. If you talk on your smartphone a lot, the $30 per month T-Mobile plan probably isn’t for you.

Google Now Card

Google Now cards like this offer fast access to information.

Of course, cheap doesn’t mean a thing if the service doesn’t work well. Fortunately, T-Mobile’s been as reliable, if not more reliable than AT&T and Verizon in Washington DC, New York and everywhere in between. I did notice about a half hour of network downtime Monday evening, which may have been caused by last Friday’s serious thunderstorms and power outages in the Washington DC area. Verizon and AT&T service has also been spotty at times in recent days in some areas.

I used the Galaxy Nexus with T-Mobile service to navigate my way around the capitol by foot. I used it as my portable hotspot at my hotel one night in Washington and was pleasantly surprised to find the connection was still alive and well the next morning. T-Mobile didn’t miss a beat as I used Google’s Navigation app, with satellite view and other layers turned on, to make the five-hour trek from Washington DC to New York.

T-Mobile 4G Speedtest in New York

T-mobile’s download speeds are fantastic so far, clocking in between 7mbps and 12mbps on the Speedtest.net app. Upload speeds are slower, generally clocking in between 1.25mbps and 3.0mbps. That’s plenty fast enough to stream HD video through services such as Netflix, though you’ll want to watch the 5GB cap if you do so. Browsing the web on the Galaxy Nexus and wirelessly tethered laptop is almost as snappy as when using my home Internet connection. The only noticeable difference is when uploading large files.

As much as I like T-Mobile’s service so far,T-Mobile’s HSPA+ service doesn’t come close to besting Verizon’s and AT&T’s 4G LTE services in terms of raw speed in the real world.  But is the steep price premium worth the it? For most users the answer is probably not. $30 per month is just too good of a deal to pass up, especially if you already have a mobile work phone you can use for voice calls.

Comments

  1. JR says

    There is also a internet-only, $30 Tmobile 5gb/100 minute talk, unlimited text monthly plan for new customers only. For a smartphone, that’s even better considering the amount of 4g data it includes.

  2. stephen says

    Im confused..Everytime Ive called or emailed Tmo or gone to their store, Ive been told the $30 5gb is ONLY FOR NEW CUSTOMERS AND ONLY FOR PHONES OR PLANS BOUGHT AT WALMART..Did they change that? It was always a Walmart exclusive plan!?

    • Jason says

      OK so if you have your galaxy nexus or other phone buy a prepaid phone cheapest you can find (mine was $20)and go to a tmobile shop and take the sim card and put in in the cool phone and get it set up at tmobile :-P

      • Corey says

        you could buy a 20$ prepaid phone and take them sim card, or you could go to walmart where you sign up for the plan and they give you one for 10$

    • Petrah says

      This is true of the $30 plan with 100 minutes and unlimited text and data up to 5GB (before throttle). It’s an exclusive promotional deal only available to new customers from their website or from Walmart.

      There are two $30 plans… the second is for existing customers. 1500 min talk/text with 30MB of data (30MB of data can easily be eaten by just updating default apps on the phone!).

      • Marian says

        It is not for new customers only, it is for existing customers as well. I was a prepaid customer of TM since 2009, don’t mention postpaid plans from 2003. I wanted to get a new Nexus. On the day the price on it dropped to $349 I placed an order for one and ordered a new sim card from TM. The day I received the sim I activated it with my sons phone (he has a $30 plan too) because his phone was purchased from Walmart. The day I got my new Nexus I thought: let me check with TM if I am eligible as the existing customer to get this plan. What was a surprise when a rep said yes and switched it $30 unlimited web/next/100min/ So I saved my # and got a good plan. Guys! don’t listen rumors, just check it out yourself.

        • Mark says

          Well I went into an actual T Mobile store yesterday. They said its for online only, prepaid only, and new customers only.

    • carl says

      I got a .99 cents SIM card from T_Mobile and activated it online, then selected the $30.00 per month plan. I am using it on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Additionally I have added a Skype subscription for 30.00 per year, which gives me unlimited calls to Canada and the US. I have been able to use Skype on both WiFI and T-Mobile data network. Call quality is excellent…Note….Skype is tied in with my Google Voice number.. so I get and make calls without touching my 100 minutes voice allotment.

    • Cairo says

      the plan was only available at Walmart. Tmobile then also made it available online at Tmo website.

  3. Tom says

    Stephen, you can put any tmobile or unlocked phone on this plan doesnt matter if you bought it at walmart or not. If you buy a used phone or unsubsibised phone, you will need to buy an activation kit to get ut running for only $10. I currently have that plan on a samsung galaxy s2. I hope this helped. Btw you can buy the activation kit a tmobile.com or walmart or any tmobile retailer.

    • JR says

      I ordered the activation kit/sim from tmobile.com 3 weeks ago and the cost was only $2 with free shipping.

      • yitznewton says

        I got the online activation kit with the $30 plan back in Feb. Got like-new GS2 on eBay. Worked flawlessly.

        • Ruben says

          Do you only pay $30 or do you need to also pay an extra $15 for mobile hotspot. I’ve heard it might be a mandatory cost.

          • Christian says

            You’re actually not able to order hotspot service with this plan, but the service will work if you have a device that is not required to “see” the service as active before allowing use. The only problem is that T-Mobile is cracking down on hotspotters, and at some point each billing cycle you’d probably begin getting a message on your laptop/tablet saying that you’re not allowed to do it, as I do tethering my nexus 7 to my galaxy nexus, but, so far, it resets at the beginning of each bill cycle.

          • Jack says

            Try HMA Pro VPN, a virtual private network that makes you invisible to TMO.

  4. Tom says

    you can put any tmobile or unlocked phone on this plan doesnt matter if you bought it at walmart or not. If you buy a used phone or unsubsibised phone, you will need to buy an activation kit to get ut running for only $10. I currently have that plan on a samsung galaxy s2. I hope this helped. Btw you can buy the activation kit a tmobile.com or walmart or any tmobile retailer.

  5. pavel says

    you don’t need to buy the hotspot add-on. at least with the G Nexus. I have the $30 plan with that phone and tethered or Wifi spot works great with my NB. I guess T-mobile blocks that function on their phones (until you pay them the extra) but they have no control on unlocked phones.

  6. netscorer says

    I’m pretty novice to smartphones. I already have Samsung Exhibit II 4G that I bought from Wal-Mart with the $30 T-Mobile pre-paid plan. That phone is good for a while but too slow and constantly struggles with lack of memory. If I buy Galaxy nexus from Google Play, can i just pop sim card from Exhibit to this new phone and continue on my plan? Also, will Galaxy support T-Mobile 4G speeds?
    Would really appreciate response.

    • rx says

      I think yes regarding the SIM working. Try it and let us know what happens. Regarding the HSPA+, if you were in their 4G area before with the old phone, it should be the same Nexus has all the radio bands.

  7. Petrah says

    Why did you buy a phone for 30 bucks just to get the sim card? T-Mobile sells sim cards from their web site for 99 cents ($9.99 at a physical walk in T-Mobile store) and they work just fine in the Gnex.

    • Xavier Lanier says

      Bought the phone at midnight at the pharmacy because I wanted it asap. I guess I could’ve saved some money by waiting, but I wanted to really play with the new Nexus.

    • wen says

      Yes, ANY unlocked GSM phone works on Tmobile or AT&T (or any other service that uses one of those carriers like Walmart Straight Talk. Walmart will either choose the sim for you (AT&T or Tmobile) based on the zip code you provide which they think give you the best coverage or you can manually pick the sim carrier from them. Walmart is unlimited talk, text, and data regardless of the sim BUT it’s about 2gig of 4g then throttled some time after that.

  8. Diana says

    If you currently have the $30 5gig/100minute plan and want to keep it if you get a different phone, can you just take the sim out of the old phone and put it in the new one? Or does the sim look for the registration info for the old phone? Thanks in advance to anyone who can answer!

    • Marian says

      Yes, it works with my son’s Samsung Exhibit 2 4g phone as well as with my old good RAZR. It will work with any TM or/and unlocked GSM phone once the sim is activated.

    • carl says

      Yes you can..as long as it is a GSM phone…..I have been playing around with this $30.00 plan , using the SIM in a Nokia ExpressMusic 5800, Galaxy Nexus and HTC My_Touch…

  9. Bianca says

    So it comes down to this plan vs. Walmart’s Straight Talk for $45. Straight Talk has unlimited talk but what many don’t realize is there’s a mystery data throttle after 2gb according to online comments. This T-Mobile plan only gives 100 minutes of talk but it’s only 10 cents afterward which doesn’t seem too bad. I’m willing to pay for more talk minutes to get 5gb of 4g data. Seems like a fair trade-off. Even if I had to pay $10-$20 additional every month more for another 100-200 minutes, the Tmobile plan is still a good deal.

  10. Brian says

    I’m looking at making the switch myself. I’m in Madison, WI and T-Mobile service seems solid at my apartment and where I work (over in Verona). I currently have a Verizon Galaxy Nexus and am dropping $90 a month on it. Even with the ETF and buying an HSPA+ GNex, I’ll be saving money within a few months (after selling my Verizon GNex). Provided the plan works here, I’ll be very happy. I rarely use minutes anyways, most of my time is spent using data and texts.

    Glad I found your site while doing research, too! You’ve now helped a former MyAssist employee — full circle. Keep on keeping on with the reviews and your site! For a gadget nerd like me, there’s lots of good stuff here.

    • Brian says

      Got my HSPA+ Nexus in a couple of days ago, and the T-Mo sim. Activated and, other than work (where the cell connection is spotty), it’s been great. Better than Verizon, even! I just ported my number out of Verizon and in to Google Voice, so I’m going to look into Talkatone or GrooVeIP, so I can use work’s WiFi network to route my calls and texts through.

      A nice side effect — even with the 1700 mA battery on the HSPA nexus, I get better battery life than the 4g LTE w/ 2100mA battery on Verizon. Used both phones equally yesterday and saw that. And this is with the t-mo one holding a weaker signal throughout the day, consuming MORE battery life.

      This is definitely one of the best mobile deals out there.

  11. ismael says

    This plan is great. I have an unlocked nexus from the google play store. I use the built in hotspot at no extra charge and I’m about to add a voip service to the phone to send and receive calls using my data instead of minutes. This is the best plan around.

    • Bianca says

      Question: I just activated my Gnex on this $30 plan a few days ago. As you may know, T-Mobile gives you an automatic balance of $3.34. I was worried I only had 30 minutes of talk so I went online and added $30 a few hours later (got a confirmation text and email from Tmobile afterwards). I thought the account info would then show $33.24 but it still says $3.34 balance and “paid” until 8-23-12 with 93 minutes remaining. Is something wrong? Or am I misreading the account info?

      • B says

        No, that’s right. It immediately deducted $30, and started the billing cycle. In my case, I added $26.66 to the account, and my balance immediately changed to $0, and it was paid for a month.

        • Bianca says

          Thanks, it makes sense now. I’ve also just completed the port of the old Verizon number to this T mobile account! It was fairly easy only took 1.5 days. It’s just that you need to give them the actual account number associated with the account you are moving from and the pin number you enter when you call 611 to check on your billing info. I made a mistake and gave T Mobile the Verizon password that I use to log into their website instead so they called me saying they needed the correct pin to complete the transfer request. They re-initiated the port after hanging up and asked that I do something very important: ***turn off the T Mobile phone for a few minutes***. I turned it off for a few hours just in case (lol). 4 hours later I got a text saying welcome to T Mobile!

  12. Bianca says

    Question for anyone with a monthly Tmobile plan – I just activated my Gnex on this monthly $30 plan. T-Mobile gives you an automatic balance of $3.34. I went online and added $30 a few hours later (got a confirmation text and email from Tmobile afterwards). I thought the account info would then show $33.24 but it still says $3.34 balance but does show “paid” until 8-23-12 (30 days) with 93 minutes remaining. Did my credit payment post correctly? I’m assuming so otherwise it wouldn’t show 93 minutes remaining. Or am I misreading the account info?

    • Xavier Lanier says

      Your plan is set up right. The $30 is for the data service + 100 minutes + texts through 8/23. The 93 minutes indicates you have used 7 minutes. So T-Mobile took the $30 and immediately used it to buy that month of service.

      • Bianca says

        Thanks Xavier! Loving the T-Mobile service so far here in San Diego and paying $25 less than I was paying with a Verizon basic phone even after the employee discount. I’m now going to port the Verizon number over.

      • iva says

        I went to tmobile=. They told that the $30 plan didn’t have have unlimited data
        And told me since I use about /4-5 GB a month To get the $70 one

          • iva says

            Thanx! So if i go there i should be able to get the 5gb with the unlimited txt and 100 min with no problem then,eh? And i dont have to get a new sim card,right? (i dont think so) since i got it from tmobile

  13. Bill says

    I can’t get it activated with the sim card I ordered online. The website will not complete and CS is telling me I have to go to wallmart eventhough I can see the plan on the tmobile activation web page. Any advice?

    • Ismael Pinto says

      If you have the activation code that came with the phone purchased at Walmart, the customer service rep should be able to activate the sim. Also, some CSR aren’t fully trained in the matter. You may want to try different CSR until you find one that can help. That is what I did. :-)

    • JR says

      It’s NOT a Walmart exclusive plan. I know because I got one of the Galaxy Nexus phones from the Google Play website (no affiliation with Walmart) and ordered a sim card directly from the Tmobile website for $2. The instructions that come with the sim in the mail have all the info and the correct link to go to for the activation. Furthermore when you go to the Tmobile activation page and enter in all the numbers from the phone and the card, it lists the $30 5gig plan as one of the options (for new customers only).

      There was a bad batch of sim cards going around a few months ago. Someone that is having a problem could be because of that.

    • ed says

      I would just order a new sim from the tmobile website if you can find the section regarding monthly plans and sim-only stuff and see what happens.

  14. Noctis says

    How can I get 4G speeds on my Nexus? I had the $20 dollar Samsung Phone that I actived from walmart so I just switched the sim into my Nexus I get connection but no 4G? I’m also in 4G Coverage

    • Brian says

      It’ll always show 3G speeds unless you’re currently transmitting data. When you do, it should switch over to an H. A good way to verify this is to run a speed test on it.

      • Bianca says

        Actually my G-Nex shows “H” (HSPA+) regardless of whether data is being transmitted or not if the signal is strong enough in your area. If not, it will show “E” for Edge. There are a few poor signal spots in my building where the phone switches to E on its own just carrying it around and keeping an eye on the bars.

    • Bianca says

      Any GSM phone with HSPA/HSPA+ radios like the G-Nex can connect to the 4G network IF you are in the network’s 4G area of coverage. Check your zip code on the T-Mobile coverage map. Remember to look for a “H” symbol which basically means 4g reception (3g+).

      • SuperSteve says

        NOT any GSM phone with HSPA/HSPA+ will connect to T-Mobile 4G network. The phone needs to have both 1700mhz and 2100mhz frequency radio built in. Ask me how I know? I have a Galaxy Note International version that is GSM, but missing those frequencies. The best I get is EDGE. I like the Galaxy Note so what I do is use an old HTC Amaze with the 5GB data plan and hotspot feature and connect the note to the hotspot. For calls and texts I use the Galaxy Note with the $30 month 1500 min. plan. which provides plenty of minutes for me. So now I get super fast 4G data at 5GB via hotspot and 1500 minutes talk for $60 month.

  15. Amand says

    Is it possible to use a blackberry bold 9780 for text and web browsing without needing the $10 bb data package?

  16. Housewife Mama says

    Can you use any smart phone to do this? Or, whats the most affordable unlocked smartphone that would work for this? I am happy to buy a used/refurb phone on ebay or something if I need to.

  17. dan says

    Is there any way that a Canadian can easily get set up on this $30/mo, unltd web plan from Canada (I am trying to get set up for my upcoming USA winter travels)? When I go to the Walmart site, it says that the SIM has to be ordered and shipped to a US store.

    Since I don’t have a US address, I can’t order the SIM for pickup at the US store.

    Or do all Walmarts actually have the activation kits (SIM) but just don’t mention it on the website? I am looking to buy just the SIM, as I have my own phone. Thx

  18. jerry says

    Anyone has refill experience on this TM Unlimited Web & Text with 100 Minutes Talk plan? I mean what if you run out of 100 minutes before 30 days? Let’s say can you refill another $30 in 10 or 15 days to prolong the due date (or will you have 200min within 30 days if you refill 2x$30)? In addition, we are on TM postpaid service now. Will TM or Walmart treat us as new TM customer for this plan after 2-year contract expires?

    • Matthew says

      You can’t postpone a due date. If you have funds in your account, T-Mobile will withdraw 10 cents per every minute over the hundredth you use. Every month, you must have $30 in your account so it can withdraw it and list your status as paid. There is an auto refill program you can set up. And no, you will not be treated a a new customer.

  19. dan says

    answered my own question after a few emails/phone calls. As a Canadian looking to set himself up with a SIM card ahead of going into the US……impossible, until I get into the US. The choices are: buy through Walmart online (~$13) and have the SIM sent to a US address (which I don’t have), buy through T-mobile and have it shipped to a US address (~$1), or buy through T-mobile store when in US and pay ~$20+.Or take my chances and buy one on Ebay, shipped to my address in Canada.

  20. Brent says

    For anyone bringing your own device to T-Mobile… you can buy a SIM card, by itself, in a T-Mobile store for $10. Don’t spend an extra $10-20 on the basic prepaid flip phone if you already have your own device.

  21. Majeed says

    I bought my unlocked Galaxy S3 from overseas and bought the t-mobile 4G plan with unlimited web but t-mobile told me that t-mobile 4G network is 9 out 10 times would not be compatible with unlocked phone devices because they customize their network to only work on the devices they sell at the store. So i’m getting Edge network while i’m paying for 4G network, sounds sad right!!? so if someone know what should i do please help me out?

    • SuperSteve says

      That is not true. I use an International Galaxy Note and yes it gets EDGE only, but not because T-Mobile customizes. Any phone that you want to use on T-Mobile must have both the 1700 mhz and 2100 mhz frequencies. It is not necessarily what they sell in the store. Buy it anywhere but make certain the required frequencies are there. I love my Galaxy Note so I use a hotspot on a correct phone to connect and I get 5GB data for $30 mo.

  22. ML says

    I just got this plan myself recently- the $30/5GB/Unlimited Text/100 Minutes- It’s awesome. I love watching people’s jaws drop when I tell them the price and what’s included. I was getting ripped off with Verizon- about $50 a month for a cheap LG slider with 1000 minutes/text and NO data- so glad to get off that plan.

    You definitely need to do the research first and find out which smartphones work on TMo’s Monthly 4G plan. The GNex is awesome. The Samsung Galaxy S2 is also great. Both will work with TMo. If you’re not too squeamish, there is a Chinese wholesaler where you can get the S2 for about $170 and the Gnex for about $270; check it out: http://supplyvideo.info

    About the overseas Galaxy S3- sorry dude- it won’t work on Tmo- that model doesn’t have the correct radio band [you need GSM1900 & HSPA+1700/2100MHz]. You can connect @ 2G or EDGE and that’s only good for basic/slow mobile web… ouch.

  23. Ann G says

    Question. I bought a t mobile phone from the t mobile store last month and signed up for their $50 a month no contract plan. I got the phone at a discount and I am on a no contract plan. I tried to switch to the Walmart $30 plan and keep my same phone number. I was not successful. They told me I had to buy a phone from Walmart to get the plan. The phone I have is a Prism which is supported by the $30 plan. Any ideas? I really hate to have to buy a new phone. I even bought an activation kit through t mobile thinking I needed a new sims card but they said no that was not the problem. This is my daughter’s phone and she DOES NOT want to change phone numbers.
    Thanks for your help

  24. Ali says

    I am so happy I found this site, lot of great info. Thanks Xavier!

    I am currently using a T-Mobile Galaxy S3 with Simple Mobile. I am going to be leaving SM, that’s for sure, cause they throttle you after 2GB, and are very sly about it.
    So I had been thinking about this $30/5GB 4G. Of course the voice limit is a big issue for me. But I’m wondering:
    Currently on my Galaxy S3/Simple Mobile I have it linked to a Google Voice number. Anyone who calls me will be calling my GV number. And when I dial outgoing it is set to go through GV (so people see GV# ID). Now I don’t know what’s going on behind the scene but maybe some of you can she some light on this – is there a way for this to work, to use GV and not eat away at the minutes you get from T-Mobile? Has anyone done it?

    • XYZ says

      Assuming you have the T-mobile version of the S3 with the correct HSPA+ Band [1700/2100MHZ] then what you can do is go over to Google Play and buy Groove IP [$4.99] and log into it with your GV credentials- be sure to enable 3G/4G under settings. And that’s it. Use Groove IP to make and receive all calls- then you only would use the data allowance instead of your TMobile minutes since you would technically be making VOIP calls instead of mobile calls. Play around with the Groove IP settings especially the audio and echo settings. Use echo cancel or your party will get annoyed with the echo. You may want to NOT forward your GV calls to your TMobile # once you get Groove IP working since I’ve had it ringing both Groove IP and my TMo # at the same time and it gets confusing and annoying. Hope that helps

      • Mark says

        Are you sure about that? Im reading everywhere people unlock iphones and use them on T Mobile.

  25. Eddie Acuna says

    The Samsung Nexus HSPA+ works awesomely on the new Solavei unlimited Talk Text and 4G Web service and for only $49 a month! Check out http://www.free4Gtoday.com and find out how you can earn residuals that can even make your service FREE after you refer only 9 friends.

  26. kendra says

    When i get the sim card kit do i have to get the $30 a month refill card? or could i use the $50 one?

  27. Jeff says

    Can I possibly pop the SIM card into a tmobile mobile hotspot device and have it still work just using the data or you think the network would figure it out and lock me out? My device doesn’t support tmobile 3G/4g and only does edge and all I wanted it for was tethering in android, now that I find out it won’t do what I want it to I’m wondering if this other option is possible

    • SuperSteve says

      Here is what I did when I discovered that my phone only supported EDGE on T-Mobile’s network. I have a Galaxy Note International version that is GSM, but missing those frequencies. So the best I get is EDGE on T-Mobile. I really like the Galaxy Note so what I do is use an old HTC Amaze (or any cheap 4G phone that can do a hotspot on t-Mobile frequencies) with the $30 5GB data plan and hotspot feature and connect the Galaxy Note to the hotspot. For calls and texts I use the Galaxy Note with the $30 month 1500 min. plan. which provides plenty of minutes for me. So now I get super fast 4G data at 5GB via hotspot and 1500 minutes talk for total $60 month. Plus I can use the hotspot on the device with the 5GB of data to connect my iPad and laptop as well all for $60/mo.

      I was going to go with Straight Talk but being that it is AT&T as the choice. They suck.
      I can’t get any data signal in my home while I get between 7-9mbps with the
      T-mobile setup mentioned above in my home or anywhere else.

    • NJ4 says

      The answer is no. TMo’s mobile broadband hotspot needs a “data sim” which is different from a “voice sim”- or at least, that is what TMo Customer Service says- although the plans for 4G mobile broadband aren’t that bad- check them out. I think you can get 1.5GB for $25 or 3.5GB for $35 per month. You would have to carry around 2 devices if you want to keep using your current device.

  28. chezzle says

    I pre-ordered an AT&T iPhone 5 (which has yet to be shipped) and just found out about the T-mobile $30 plan. I hate being tied to a contract, especially w/AT&T, so am seriously considering cancelling my order, waiting for the unlocked i5s to be available and going for this T-mobile plan. Does anyone know if it will work with an unlocked iPhone 5?

    • MI6 says

      As long as the i5 has the 1900mhz band, Tmo is rolling out 3G HSPA+ in some markets around the US in the 1900mhz band- There is no firm schedule [and TMo won't tell you even if you ask Tech Support] but it might be completed by the end of the year depending on where you live- or it could be by the end of 2013- nobody knows except TMo. But, if you absolutely have to have the i5, you’ll more than likely have to enter into a 2 year contract with the big boys- sorry

      • MI6 says

        I should clarify that yes, you can use the New iPhone 5 on this plan as long as you have the 1900 mhz band but currently, it will ONLY be able to access TMo’s 2G or EDGE data network which is considerably slower than 3G and HSPA. You can still use voice of course like usual but your data experience will be considerably stifled until your TMo cell towers get upgraded to 3G/HSPA+ in the 1900mhz band

  29. BreN says

    This service is really tempting. Does anyone know what is different about the phones from T mobile that require extra $ to create a hotspot and the unlocked phones that offer this feature? Has anyone gotten the hotspot by using a particular phone without the plan? And, can the plan be added or dropped like other data plans? Thanks.

    • Will I Am says

      TMo’s phones are pre-programmed by TMo to NOT have mobile hotspot activated. They charge an extra $15/month to activate it- not really worth it when you consider that extra charge will really add up over time – $180 over the course of 12 months. If you are technically inclined, you could figure out how to root your phone, but that’s for another forum, another day…

      Now, you’ll be tempted by some of their smartphone offerings which can be under $200 but add in the extra price of the mobile hotspot and it quickly approaches or surpasses the price of say, a Samsung Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ [$349 on Google Play] which is unlocked and already has mobile hotspot capabilities without having to pay extra for it. As far as dropping it or re-activating it- not sure about that- you’ll have to ask TMo…

      Hope that helps

  30. Galaxy Note 2 says

    I’m thinking buying a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and use this monthly 4G plan but not sure what the band of this phone is. It just says that network generation is 4G and network technology is HSDPA, HSPA+, HSUPA, LTE. Would this phone work with 4G speed if I purchase the monthly 4G plan? Thank you!

    • Galaxy Note 2 says

      I just found this out! 3G: HSPA+21Mbps (HSDPA 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps), can i expect this phone to be 4G speed?

      • BDaddy says

        HSPA+ is considered 4G as per ATT and TMO. Verizon calls their 4G “LTE”. 4G and LTE are not the same. ATT and Verizon LTE will be much faster than HSPA+, but then again most users will not required the extra bandwidth and/or pay the price premium.

    • BDaddy says

      TMO just announced today (10/9) that they are going to offer the G Note 2. Not date and pricing announced yet. You would have to pay full price fo the phone and it should would just fine on the $30/month plan.

      • Galaxy Note 2 says

        Thanks BDaddy! I have a question, do you think the International version of GN2 would work fine on the $30 plan as well? Or is only Tmobile branded GN2 working on this plan? I’m considering buying the international version from ebay or amazon and use the $30 plan cuz i can’t wait to use it! Should I wait until the tmo version comes out?

        • September says

          That version doesn’t have the correct band for TMobile [1700mhz].
          I would wait for TMobile’s version to be most compatible

  31. Mojtaba says

    I tried to get 30 dollars 100 mins and unlimited text nd web plan. but i had to buy a phone from walmart and take its simcard and put it on my phone . i couldnt just buy the simcard and get that plan on my iphone :/

    • SuperSteve says

      All you needed to do was go to a T-Mobile store and buy a prepaid sim card for $10. Dont let them activate since they do not have that plan available to them. Activate it yourself at home and choose the $30 5GB Data 100 Minute Plan. That is what I did.

  32. Dan says

    Here’s my experience with this plan. Activation was a piece of cake, I bought the sim card on eBay, then bought a $30 prepaid card at a Walmart. Then I went to a McDonald’s and used their wifi to sign up for the $30 monthly prepaid plan. All went without a hitch……except that according to their website advertising, I should be getting 4G speeds with my Google Nexus S. I have yet to get faster than Edge speed, regardless of location (Spokane, Los Angeles whee I am now, etc). IOW, whenever I am in their 4G coverage, I can’t get anywhere close to those speeds. Calling CSR is as useful as asking the cat I have found, by calling them many times……..any advice? I checked the APN settings, and they seem fine. Multiple reboots, nada. Same with standing on one leg brandishing an arm in the air. thanks

    • sjspinner says

      Does the phone have working frequencies of 1700mhz and 2100mhz. The phone requires that to get better than EDGE ON TMobile.

        • sjspinner says

          Check it for yourself, if you only get EDGE. TMobile will say it will work and it will overall but with slow data. Lookup the specs. Quad band does not mean it has 1700/2100mhz. My Galaxy note is quad band but EDGE speeds on TMobile and yes TMobile said it would work.

        • September says

          There are 5 variants of the Nexus S. The quad band that you are referring to is probably the GSM bands [for voice]. Check your phone’s device info and it should give you the model #. If it is GT-I9020[T], GT-I9023, or SHW-M200. then it should have the 1700mhz UMTS band which will work with TMobile for 3G/4G.

          • sjspinner says

            I was under the understanding that both 1700 AND 2100 it’s required for TMobile.

          • Dan says

            September…..according to the Samsung website, my GT-i9020-A has the following frequency specs:

            “The GT-i9020A (Nexus S) is a quad band dual mode handset. It supports GSM frequencies of 850, 900, 1800, & 1900. It supports UMTS 900, 1700, and 2100 frequencies. There is a possibility the phone may be used with a wireless operator outside the United States however this is not guaranteed. GSM frequencies used most overseas are the 900, 1900 and UMTS 2100 bands.”

            Since it supposedly has the must 1700 and 2100 bands, why am I only getting 2g speeds. Thx.

          • SuperSteve says

            It needs to be paired to provide HSPA+ on TMobile however it is not automatically. My Galaxy Note had 2100 but was missing the 1700 frequency therefore I only received EDGE. I had to go to AT&T because it had 850/1900 as well but Straight Talk was cheaper with the same towers being AT&T towers and I got unlimited voice, text,data for $45 mo no contract.

        • September says

          That’s the AT&T version [850 / 1900 / 2100 MHz UMTS].
          You do have some options:

          1. Keep it- TMobile is upgrading their 3G HSPA+ into the 1900mhz band over the next year; chances are, at some point, your phone will show an “H” instead of “E” and your speeds will be much faster

          2. Sign onto Straight Talk [uses AT&T bands] for $45/month unlimited Talk & Text with up to 2GB of AT&T 3G HSPA [throttled down to 2G/EDGE when you hit 2GB]

          3. OR buy a Samsung Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ [$349 on Google Play]

          If I were you and since you live in LA, I would keep it, your upgrade to 1900mhz 3G HSPA+ is probably coming soon… but don’t hold me to that.

          • SuperSteve says

            Straight Talk does not throttle data speeds. They claim unlimited data but they give a warning at 2-3gb and cut and drop you completely if you fail to heed the notice. No throttling though.

        • September says

          Supersteve:
          Sorry, what I meant was that whenever you have 1700mhz [AWS] it is automatically paired with 2100mhz. Actually, AWS or 1700mhz is a split band [1700 and 2100]. It uses one band spread for uplink and the other for downlink.

          • SuperSteve says

            Exactly. Yours was a perfect explanation. Many people don’t understand spectrum and related frequencies so thanks for this explanation.

  33. tp253155 says

    Just an FYI for anyone that is interested in this…I just bought and am awaiting my shipment of the Samsung Galaxy S 2/with included $30 sim card and plan activation. So you really are getting the phone for 299.00 and the first month with sim card. Once it arrives you set it up with tmobile and boom, you have a high end(super phone!) on a 30/month plan. I am excited! If you intested, you must type it in Walmart.com search bar..otherwise it is difficult to find. GREAT DEAL!!! Walmart also has the same phone, for straight talk for 20 bucks more, also a great service at $45/month unlimited, sort of. I opted for tmobile for its 5g of data. You’re welcome:)

    • SuperSteve says

      Just to clarify.
      The TMobile 5GB plan only gives 100 minutes talk time per month, with .10 minute overage. It is a good plan for someone wanting lots of fast data, and occasional talking.
      The $45 Straight Talk Plan is actually AT&T HSPA+ towers with unlimited talk, text, and data (although actually 2-3GB data)
      I am on both plans currently.

      Always important to check the phone’s frequency because to get other than slow EDGE speeds it must have 1700 mhz and 2100 mhz, and Straight Talk 850mhz and 1.9 ghz (1900 mhz) or the speed will be VERY slow.

      The phone was bought outside of the prepaid plan for $299 I would imagine.
      It is always better to avoid the contracts because you pay so much in monthly, and so much higher for the phone subsidy than purchasing the phone outright.
      I bought my Galaxy Note and my iPhone 4S off contract.

      Have fun.

  34. H says

    1. 1. when you get the new sim card, how do you keep your old number?
    2. can the $30 plan be lapsed? say if you are out of the country, but still would like to keep the number, the phone and the plan

    • SuperSteve says

      When you activate it online, it will ask if you would like to keep an existing number. The number and account must still be active with the other carrier. The $30 plan will lapse if not paid every 30 days. You must pay before the 30 day plan period is expired otherwise you will need a new sim card with activation. If your number was ported to the $30 plan and it lapses, you will lose your number. Keep it active and pay it on time and not late and you will have no problem. Prepaid plans work differently than regular contract post paid plans. They do lapse if not paid.

  35. Randy says

    mononaphone.com (promotes solavei) offers unlimited talk, text, internet with T-mobile backbone for $49 a month. tethering for mobile hotspot is no charge at this time. Bring your phone before Oct 31, 2012 and get free sim card for activation, and 1 month free.
    It is the best of all these plans, as an included bonus you can get paid by referring others, thus free cell phone service. How great is that?!

  36. Yanshuf says

    Today I wasted about 2 hours on the phone with t-mobile after last week, when I got the Galaxy Nexus (unlocked GSM), I was told in order to get the $30 unlimited data/text plan I have to get a NEW SIM Card even though I’m already a t-mobile postpaid customer for the last 7 years. They sent it to me for a dollar something. I asked them specifically if I can get that plan even though it says “new activations only” and “web” walmart blah blah. They said yes they can do it on the phone. But today… well they couldn’t. They said they don’t have that option. I talked to so many people who said different things. Eventually a guy that knew something said I have to get the activation code from Walmart (which is 10 miles from where I live… no thank you), or t-mobile.com (no idea where exactly to order it from them. I don’t want to pay money if I’m not 100% sure I’ll get the plan I want.

    I told the guy I will leave for some other provider (straight talk, att, etc), but he still was not willing/able to help me.

    So I guess I’m going for Straight Talk $45 unlimited everything, just to punish t-mobile for making this so annoying and wasting my time and money.

    Maybe I made a mistake by ordering it from them on the phone? But I trusted their sales people. Big mistake. But they don’t seem to care about losing customers. Why would they not simply let me get that plan? Because I didn’t buy that sim (and some reps I talked to today said I didn’t need a new sim, unlike what I was told last week) from their site? What’s the difference? Why are they so difficult? What are they gaining? That people would buy shitty flip phones from Walmart and throw them away ruining the environment even more?

    • SuperSteve says

      There is nothing hard about doing this. You just need to follow directions, as I posted before.

      “Activate it online by following the directions. Don’t let the store activate it, because you will get the wrong plan. It is only available online. Buy the sim card at the store and activate it online.
      Place it into your existing phone. Follow these directions.”

      http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-activate

      Don’t call to activate. Don’t go to the T-Mobile store to activate. Don’t go to Walmart to activate.You will get the wrong plan or just get frustrated by the employee’s stupidity and lack of training. Activate it on line, once you have your UNACTIVATED sim card. It does not matter where you bought the card, T-Mobile website or a T-Mobile store. The key here is to activate it online. The stores can’t do it, and some reps online don’t have a clue how to do it.

      I have both T-Mobile and Straight Talk currently. Each has it’s advantages and whether you can use your particular phone on T-Mobile or AT&T (Yes, Straight Talk uses AT&T towers).

      Let me know how you do. It is easy and all of 5 minutes to activate in yourself online.

      • Yanshuf says

        Thanks for trying to help. The phone rep I talked to last week said that if I get a new SIM at the store it would cost me $30 or $40, I forget the exact number he told me, but at least 30). Is that true? That is why I let him order it for me since he said it’s only a $1 from them (and they will refund the dollar!). Whatever.

        Also I’m afraid since I already talked to them about the new SIM and they activated it (since one rep later told me to activate it online and I got a message saying the activation code is invalid and that the sim card was already activated) – that I would not count as a “new activation only”. It’s “funny”, the only reason I called them to beging with was to ask what the hell “new activation only” means. Does it count if I’m already on t-mobile POST Paid or not? I still don’t know.

        And all those talks about ordering it online only? Are they really not true?

        Or ordering it from t-mobile website only?

        Here’s another thing – the SIM card that I got came with instructions, and there the only option for $30 was that ridiculous one with the 20mb data and 1500 text/talk – that’s when I started to get really nervous that I can’t activate it with that plan online and would have to call them and see if they will still agree to do that like they told me last week when I ordered the SIM.

    • SuperSteve says

      Yanshuf, watch these guys hawking Solavei, etc. The motivation is that they make commissions and want to make some money off your activation with them. Stick with the major carriers and you can’t go wrong.

  37. James says

    The frequency for T-Mobile’s new Galaxy Note 2 is listed as:

    850 MHz;900 MHz;1800 MHz;1900 MHz;UMTS: Band I (2100);UMTS: Band IV (AWS);Band II (1900)

    So will I get 4G speeds if I put my Exhibit 4G sim in the Note 2? (I did notice that I would also have to cut the sim down to micro-sim size.)

  38. RDA says

    I love this plan. I have a VOIP account set up on the phone so I can use the data for my voice calls. Essentially this gives me unlimited everything for $30/month.

    My only question to the writer is: Why would anyone need 3 cell phones? That doesn’t seem very practical for the everyday user, and really doesn’t do this plan justice at all. I use this as my only cell phone and have found it to be more than adequate for my needs.

  39. nubwaxer says

    “The mobile hotspot feature is a $15 add-on.”
    ok, i want it when i buy the nexus 4 but i want to be absolutely sure this info is correct. i want my phone as modem for my laptop by usb tethering. i don’t understand the wifi hotspot. is that using my phone as a wireless router?

    • Christian says

      For this plan you don’t need, nor are you able to, purchase the mobile hotspot service, but since you have a nexus it is by default able to use this service. There is the possibility that they will block the option and put a page on your browser telling you what you’re doing is not allowed, and will last for the rest of the bill cycle, buy you can get around this with a UA switcher on chrome browser. Wi-Fi Hotspot is using your phone as a Wi-Fi router.

  40. alan says

    Hey guys i was thinking about leaving my family plan for sprint with my galaxy s2 yearly i would pay 950 dollars and with monthly plan for 30 dollars i would pay 350 or so . Thing is would it work for the Nexus 4 ? GSM:
    850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz ; UMTS:
    850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz

  41. darkpollo says

    Hi, Somebody could tell me if the minutes count also when receiving a call? What happen if i use the 100 minutes? Will i be able to still receive and make calls? Thanks

    • aswede1013 says

      DID YOU NOT BOTHER TO READ THE INFORMATION ON THE PLAN THAT IS LISTED, THE INFORMATION IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU WHEN YOU “READ” THE INFORMATION.

  42. Rick says

    Minutes are always rounded up to the next minute, and you get charged when making or receiving calls and when checking voicemail.

    If you use your 100 minutes, you get charged .10 cents a minute. All you have to do is make sure you have money in your account to cover it. You can refill your account with any amount you wish, and your plan will not change unless you change it.

    If you change your plan to a different one, you cannot go back to this one because it’s a promotional plan and could be discontinued at any time.

  43. alan says

    So i can connect the nexus 4 for 30 dollars a month that’s a sweet deal i don’t use minutes so im good with the unlimited text and data

  44. traveader says

    I feel compelled to post my experience with this plan with T-Mobile. I used it for a month; it was okay till I renewed the plan. It’s been outrageous and horrible. Folks who are attracted to this plan are most likely like me who do not make a lot of phone calls but like the unlimited data service, and of course the reasonable monthly charge. But reconsider your options and read all the online reviews on T-Mobile before you sign up. Basically, never bother, or you’ll get totally pissed off. I’ve lost data service for 4 days and am still counting. I’ll cancel plan asap and will never use T-Mobile ever again.

    The online sign-up process did not go well, but I had read from somewhere other folks’ experiences so I was not really surprised. I got some weird error message while trying to make the payment with my credit card. When I tried again the activation code became invalid. Basically you have to call them to get the plan. The coverage was not great, but it was OK. So I decided to renew the plan and paid for it two days before the due date. In the morning of the day when the plan was supposed to be renewed, I noticed that there was no data service. I signed into the online account and it showed the plan had been renewed. I called the customer service number and the automatic message said the account was inactive. The representative said there was an error on my account and promised the data service would be resumed in 2 hours. At around 10 am I did get the activation text, however, there was still no data service. A few hours later I called again and got the same inactive account message. This time the rep said they were upgrading their system and promised the service would come back in 24 hours. The error message in my phone says I have to either renew the plan or upgrade to a plan with data service. I did not really believe the excuse, which sounded just another generic excuse when they screwed up, but I had no choice but to wait. 24 hours later I called again. This time I was told they were doing system upgrading on my account. I had no idea wtf he was talking about. I was told to wait for another 24 hours. Well, I’ve waited for another 72 hours, got a promise some supervisor would call me back which did not happen, left a post on T-Mobile Facebook wall and exchanged a bunch of emails with their FB page people who got me nothing but sickening promises. It is madness. The company is mess. Sign up T-Mobile if you think you can put up that kind of f***ed up customer service.

  45. nschu45 says

    You can use an at&t phone on tmobiles network. But it’s Impossible to get 4g. In fact you really can’t get 3g. Surprised the author doesn’t have a basic understanding of cell phones and their networks.

    No wonder he complains about speeds.

    • FTL says

      Did you actually read the article?
      “T-mobile’s download speeds are fantastic so far, clocking in between 7mbps and 12mbps on the Speedtest.net app.”

  46. hmp49 says

    I’m getting between 15-20mbps down and 3-5 up in Asheville NC on my new Nexus 4 with the $30 unlimited plan (depending on the server I choose for speedtest, this after forcing a fresh Android 4.2 download that “optimized” all my apps including speedtest), although HSPA is registering either HSPA 10 or HSPA 15.

    Groove IP (paid version) working fine over HSPA, so I’m set.

  47. Sal Marciano says

    aswede1013, thanks very much. Did not know about that app until you mentioned it. Thanks a million.

  48. eggypadua says

    I am happy with this plan, just get a new sim card and go online and activated, I using att skyrocket and my download speed is between 12 to 16 mbs and upload speed 1 to 3 mbs. thanks tmobile

  49. tomshoots says

    I’m interested in this $30 Tmobile plan. But before I invest in a new phone, I decided to get Skype and Google Voice on my net10 LG Optimus 3G. Also got GrooVe IP. Just wanted to check them out first.

    Call quality is good at home over WiFi. Cool! At least now I can use my cell at my rural home where cell coverage is pretty iffy, especially after dark.

    But in other areas(I work in Houston, TX) where I may not get full 3G or WiFi, neither is completely reliable. I’m wondering if 4G is really THAT much better for Skype or GV. I’d hate to spend hundreds just to find out I’m little or no better off. 100 minutes goes pretty quickly I can use half that on one conference call.

    • Christian says

      Technically this plan is for phones, but I’m 99% sure it would work for a tab. Then again I’d recommend just going for the new unlimited plans if you have a cell that will tether.

    • January says

      Yes, most tables will work… especially the 4 legged ones- even the 3 legged ones. 2 legged tables are much less stable… and 1 legged tables… well, that’s just madness

  50. Heather JoLi says

    The author didn’t need to buy a $30 phone from Walmart. You can just order the SIM card on the T-Mobile website, I paid $1 for the card (including shipping). It arrived about 1.5 weeks later, I popped it in my phone and activated it online, selecting the $30 plan. The author also incorrectly stated that the $30 includes taxes and fees, to put $30 in my account costs about $32 from my St Louis zip code credit card, $33.50 from my Chicago zip code credit card.

  51. Douglas says

    I don’t see any information on the T-Mobile website about adding the mobile hot spot for $15 on the “monthly” plans….

    • Christian says

      The T-Mobile Huawei prism and any T-Mobile compatible phone will work for this plan, 2g, 3g, or HSPA+.

  52. RDA says

    edjman, Solavei can not have 4G LTE if they use the T-Mobile network. T-mobile network is HSPDA+, not LTE.

  53. edjman says

    You are correct, my bad. It is HSPDA+ But it is extremely fast and I find the service very satisfying. I apologize for the incorrect information. But really HSPDA+ and LTE are only 2 different technologies used to acheive 4G Speed. The difference would be the type of phone that would be usable on the network to get 4G speed. For example an AT&T phone (LTE) would not work on the Solavei network (you would only get 2G EDGE speeds). I apologize for the error.

  54. RDA says

    I have T-Mobile as my provider, and have found the speeds to be more than sufficient. But it is not true 4G at all. LTE is much much faster. That is why T-Mobile is investing billions to upgrade its network

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