If you’re looking for a great T-Mobile alternative, there are a ton of options with a wide variety of plans. A lot of MVNOs use T-Mobile’s network, either exclusively or in combination with other carriers, thanks to its growing coverage, 5G, and great compatibility with unlocked phones. These carriers even work with 5G if you have a compatible phone. Metro by T-Mobile is a great fit for most people, thanks to plenty of data options and multiline savings.
Best overall: Metro by T-Mobile
Metro by T-Mobile isn’t technically an MVNO since T-Mobile owns it. However, Metro operates independently and has different policies, pricing, and features. Metro offers plans with unlimited calling and texting. The price differences come down to the data packages available at 2GB, 10GB, or unlimited. Plans start at $30 per month, which includes all taxes and extra fees.
All plans come with unlimited talk and text, and the 10GB comes with unlimited music streaming. The cheapest unlimited plan comes with 5GB of hotspot data and 100GB of storage on Google One. The top unlimited plan ups the hotspot data to 15GB and comes with a subscription for Amazon Prime.
The T-Mobile network has grown a lot in the last few years, and if you have a phone that supports all of its LTE bands, you should have great coverage in most places. Like most T-Mobile-based carriers, Metro even works with 5G if you have a phone that supports it.
- Large data plans
- Multi-line savings for families
- Hotspot options
- Few cheap plans
- No hotspot on limited plans
Metro by T-Mobile
- From $30/mo. at Metro by T-Mobile
More plans for T-Mobile
Metro by T-Mobile offers a low barrier to entry and is a great option for someone that doesn’t need to jump up to unlimited data.
Best value: Walmart Family Mobile
Walmart Family Mobile has leveraged T-Mobile’s network with a storefront presence unmatched by any other MVNO. With a huge marketing presence both in and out of stores, it’s likely you’ve already heard of this service, even if you don’t shop at Walmart.
The low-cost $24.88 per month plan offers unlimited talk and text combined with 2GB of LTE data with a reduced download speed if you go over. For $29.88, you get 5GB of data, and $39.88 gets you 40GB. If you need truly unlimited data, it will cost you $49.88 per month.
Walmart Family Mobile really pulls ahead with multiple lines. While its unlimited plan is a bit pricey compared to some other carriers, it’s a much better value if you add a few lines. Each additional line you add to your account shares your plan and comes in at a flat $24.88 per line. If you need to get a few lines connected, you can save a lot of money.
- Flat rate for additional lines
- Available in store
- Unlimited available
- Customer service is lackluster
Walmart Family Mobile
- From $25/mo. at Walmart Family Mobile
In store or online
A low introductory price with room to grow makes this one of the least expensive plans for a data user.
Best unlimited family plans: US Mobile
US Mobile’s plans look a bit confusing with a lot of upgrades and options available for each, but it’s really pretty simple. You can build your own custom plan, starting with just a few minutes and texts. If you only need a few minutes on a backup phone, you’re not going to find a better deal. For most people, unlimited talk and text come in at $10 per month with anywhere from 50MB to 15GB of data.
US Mobile uses both Verizon and T-Mobile for its network, so you can choose the option that has the best coverage for you. Both networks also support 5G on US Mobile.
US Mobile’s unlimited plan starts at $45 per month, with discounts given when you add more lines. Two lines are $30 per line, and three or more lines come in at just $25 per line. If you have at least three lines, you can choose from a free streaming service such as Netflix or even Playstation Plus. Adding the fourth line gets you another streaming service as well.
- Custom and unlimited plans are available
- Free subscription service with three lines
- Discounts on lines two through four
- Family plan savings require unlimited plans
Best unlimited family plans
- From $10/mo. at US Mobile
Free subscriptions with three and four lines
US Mobile has good unlimited plan prices even with a speed upgrade when you add up to four lines. You can even get a free streaming service with three lines.
Best data plans: Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile is an MVNO much like the others, with a special twist on how you buy service.
While you can buy a package of talk, text, and data for a month, you can also buy extended service for as long as one year for significant savings. Plans come with unlimited talk, text, and 2G data with 4GB, 10GB, 15GB, or unlimited data options. You start out with three months at Mint’s lowest rate and can choose to renew for a year if the service works out, or you can pay a bit more per month to choose a shorter term.
$45 gets you a three-month plan with unlimited talk and text as well as 4GB of LTE data (which drops in speed once your limit is reached). $300 gets you a full year’s worth of service, including 15GB of LTE data. Even if you don’t want to pay for the full year upfront, you can still get some great rates on data plans.
If you know how much service you’ll need, buying in bulk can offer considerable savings. Mint Mobile uses aggressive pricing to provide long-term value and is compatible with most unlocked GSM phones.
- Lots of data
- Save with a longer-term buy
- Multiple plan options
- Hotspot included
- No multi-line discount
Best data plans
- From $15/mo. at Mint Mobile
A fresh take on cell service
Mint stands out by selling services in large chunks to save money. This is a great option if you know how much data you use.
Most flexible: Tello
Tello lets you completely customize your plan with a choice of minutes and data. Texting is always unlimited. You can start as low as 100 minutes for $5 per month and add more minutes and data as needed. Adding 1GB of data, for example, takes your monthly cost up to $7 per month. Unlimited data is available though it will be slowed down at 25GB of usage.
Tello has a promotion that reduces your cost for the first six months as well. The unlimited plan, for example, normally costs $39 per month though it’s down to just $29 per month for the first six months. Speaking of cost, all fees included are included, so there are no surprise costs. You also get free tethering with Tello, so if you want to hotspot all of your data, you can.
- Cheap, flexible plan available
- Plenty of data options for most people
- Tethering is included with every plan
- Easy to change plan
- No multi-line discounts
- From $5/mo. at Tello
Any size plan
Tello starts small with just 100 minutes but can be upgraded to unlimited talk, text, and data so anyone can find a good fit.
Best for travel: Google Fi
Everything about Google Fi aims to be simple for users. It makes use of T-Mobile’s network for most unlocked GSM phones and is capable of using even more networks with a Designed for Fi phone that supports UScellular as well. A compatible phone will still get the same plan but will only access T-Mobile’s network.
Starting at $20 per month for unlimited talk and text, Google Fi can be cheap. If you want to use data, you are billed at $10 for each 1GB used, although if you only use 500MB, you’ll only pay $5 at the end of the month. Best of all, data is only billed up to $60, which means if you need to go over, your bill won’t get higher. If you know you will use a lot of data, you can get an unlimited plan that doesn’t slow data until 22GB is used.
On the Flexible and Unlimited Plus plan, you can travel internationally with data prices staying the same in over 200 countries. The cheaper Simply Unlimited plan does away with tethering and international roaming to come in $10 per month cheaper than Unlimited Plus.
- Simple plans
- Free international data
- Great phone compatibility
- Unlimited available
- 5G on the full network
- Flexible plan can get expensive
- Only certain phones work with the whole network
Best for travel
- From $20/mo. at Google Fi
Simple pricing and international usage
One of the biggest reasons to get Google Fi is if you travel abroad. Even if you don’t, upfront pricing makes it a great option.
If you have good coverage with T-Mobile, you have a ton of options to get connected. T-Mobile’s highly compatible GSM network also makes it a breeze to find a phone that will work. T-Mobile has also been moving quickly on its 5G network and is letting most MVNO customers connect to it without paying any more or picking a special plan.
If you want to try out the T-Mobile network but don’t want to get stuck in an expensive plan or sign any contracts, Metro by T-Mobile is the best bet for most people. With competitive plans and tons of data available, it’s a great contract-free option for a heavy data user.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It’s the Pentium 3.