T-Mobile Sprint merger

Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC-BY)

T-Mobile kills off data plans, goes all-in on unlimited

It's unlimited (with some limits).


AJ Dellinger


Published Aug 18, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 5:50 am CDT

T-Mobile has officially killed the data plan. The mobile carrier announced on Thursday that it will be going all-in on unlimited data starting in September with its new T-Mobile One plan.

Instead of offering tiered data plans—the standard practice for most carriers today—T-Mobile will offer unlimited everything: call, text, and data alike. 

The change comes as the 12th installment of the company’s “Un-carrier” movement, which has previously done away with contracts and overage fees for data, as well as provided exceptions to certain apps and services, allowing people to stream content without having it count against their data cap.

T-Mobile One will start at $70 for the first line. A second line can be added for $50. Up to six more lines will cost $20 a piece, and lines nine or higher will cost $30 each to add. For a family of four, the average cost per line will come out to $40. Tablets can also be added to the plan for $20 per device.

There are some noteworthy catches to T-Mobile’s unlimited offer that are worth taking into account. First and foremost is that it’s only unlimited to a point; surpass 26GB of data in a month and you may be subject to throttling—or as T-Mobile describes it, though heavy users “may see their data traffic prioritized behind other users.” 

The 26GB mark is set by the highest three percent of users—a figure determined by the current data consumption practices from the company’s Simple Choice plans, which throttles data speeds if users exceed their monthly cap.

Subscribers to the new T-Mobile One plan will also be subject to the standard definition video quality—480p. It’s the same quality given to Simple Choice customers when T-Mobile announced its Binge On plan that exempted streaming video from data plans. If you want high definition video, it will cost $25 extra per month for each line.

A T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Dot that all video on T-Mobile One plans will be at standard definition, regardless if a user has reached the 26GB data mark or not. “Approximately 98 percent of customers kept Binge On activated and they streamed two times the amount of video – 765 million hours worth,” the spokesperson said.

Video isn’t the only feature with an artificial cap, either. T-Mobile will be keeping tethering to 2G speeds. An extra $5 per month per line is required to unlock 5GB of tethering at 4G LTE speeds. 

Existing T-Mobile customers will be able to continue on with their current plans, data caps and all. “What changes on the 6th is that Simple Choice Unlimited goes away,” a T-Mobile spokesperson explained, “meaning we will stop selling it to new customers as of September 6th.” 

The spokesperson did not specify if capped Simple Choice data plans will also be discontinued for new customers.

Share this article
*First Published: Aug 18, 2016, 1:57 pm CDT