T-Mobile now highlights the more expensive $40 and up prepaid plans, but Connect plans that start at $10 per month are still available. In addition, they also link to Ultra Mobile, which runs on their network and has some lower-priced plans as well.
1 - Plan Description
2 - Feature Phones
3 - Smartphones
The regular T-Mobile prepaid plans offer unlimited talk and text plus 10GB data, or unlimited data, or unlimited data plus 10GB hotspot data. These are priced at $40, $50 or $60 per month respectively for one line. If you have multiple lines, you get some discounts. Listed below are the costs with the per line amounts highlighted. There are some "taxes and fees" on top of these prices which will vary by state.
Number of Lines
Unlimited Data plus 10GB hotspot
Other advantages of these plans include things like Music Unlimited which allows you to listen to music from your favorite streaming service without it counting against any data allowance.
T-Mobile introduced the Connect plans in March 2022. The plans range from $10 to $35 per month depending on the amount of high-speed data you need. In fact the $35 plan offers 12GB data which is more than the 10GB you get in the $40 regular prepaid plans (though you don't get the additional services like unlimited music). However, tethering is included and counts against your data. You can sign up online or in a T-Mobile store.
Talk and Text
1000 Min/1000 Texts
The texts are domestic only, and you can roam domestically for up to 100MB. There is no international roaming. You can have up to 5 lines on an account, but there are no discounts for having more than one line. The data allotments on the $15 and $25 plans are schedule to increase by 500MB per year until March 2025.
If you want to pay even less than $10 per month, T-Mobile recommends you try Ultra Mobile, which offers 100 minutes, 100 texts and 100 MB of data for only $3 per month! They also have more expensive plans for $12, $15.20, and $39.20 per month.
The refill cards, for the $3 plan at least, are available on eBay only it seems, but you can sign up for the other plans online.
With a $3 per month plan, you get 30 minutes or texts and you make sure that you keep your phone number and service active. This is one of the lowest monthly rates available if you just want to use your phone for emergencies.
The Gold rewards program is retired, but if you had already signed up for it, you still get its benefits. You receive bonus minutes once you buy the $100 airtime refill card or any combination of $100 in airtime refills. This gets you Gold status and a 15% airtime bonus.
Refill cards are available all over the place: at convenience stores such as Circle K and 7-Eleven, pharmacies like Eckerd and Walgreens, and superstores like Walmart, Costco and Office Depot.
Most people refill online or go to a T-Mobile store and pay cash to refill.
You can check your airtime balance from your phone by calling #999# from your handset. You will get a free text message back with your airtime balance. You can also dial 1-877-778-2106 from any touch-tone phone. You can also login to your online account and check your balance there.
Messaging options include text messages, picture messages and instant messaging.
You can keep your number if you refill your account within 90 days after your minutes expire. This is really good. Other plans recycle your number pretty quickly.
You can even buy minutes online for someone else, a convenience if you've got children away in college or summer camp.
Phones available range from a basic flip phone, to smartphone starting at less than $100 for a basic model up to more than $1000 for the latest iPhones.
There is a separate charge for the SIM card kit (which may soon go up). Actually, I was both curious and a little annoyed about the separate charge for the SIM card for one of their own phones, so I hit up the chat box on T-Mobile's site:
The support rep was nice enough and straight-forward, but I wasn't that happy with the answer. I guess one should just consider it a kind of activation fee, with the advantage that you could later on use another phone on it. I actually forgot to ask her if there was a way to avoid paying for the starter kit if you already had a t-mobile SIM card from another phone.
You can get just a prepaid SIM card and activate your unlocked phone.
You get free overnight shipping on these Starter Kits. So buy them online and save on gas.
Plus online activation is easy.
I just wanted to add a quick note about coverage. T-Mobile coverage used to be somewhat lacking, but they've improved it. In my case, the area where I used to live used to be in their roaming area, but now has great coverage. You can check your own street-level coverage for on either their 5G or 4G LTE networks by punching in your address and zip code.
For example, I used a borrowed T-Mobile prepaid phone on a car trip from Western New Jersey to Buffalo, New York. We went through some pretty rural areas, and the coverage and signal strength were quite good.
There is a separate Prepaid Hotline to Contact Customer Service.
T-Mobile prepaid plans offer a good range options that fit most budgets.