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Friday
Jan272012

Why T-Mobile $30 - Monthly 4G 100 Minutes, Unlimited Data & Text Makes Sense

I recently changed carriers due to AT&T throttling me at 2 GB ($30 unlimited plan), even though the same price can get me 3 GB of data. That didn't make sense to me, and seems like this is how AT&T is trying to snuff out their remaining grandfathered customers.

Instead of going with a limited data plan, I jumped ship and gone T-Mobile. They have prepaid plans called Monthly 4G. There is one plan that is very interesting for people who don't talk all that much but instead rely on data and text. I'm talking about the $30 plan that only have 100 minutes but gives you unlimited data (5 GB high speed) and text.

If you rely on nights and weekends, this isn't for you. However if you make calls mostly in the day, the math makes sense. You get charged $0.10 a minute beyond the allotted 100 minutes. So if you add the usual $40 for voice (what AT&T and T-Mobile charges for 500 minutes usually) into the bucket, you get an additional 400 minutes. With the 100 minutes you already get, you're Even Steven with the other plans - same price, same minutes (again, with the disadvantage of no free nights and weekends).

And like with AT&T, your unused minutes "roll over". Well, actually, because it's prepaid, what you didn't use for the month stays in the bucket in dollar amounts.

Because of this, even if you talk more than the 100 minutes, you might still end up saving more than the T-Mobile $70 plan that has 500 minutes.

The only time this $30 plan will cost more than the $70 plan is if you talk more than 500 minutes a month. And remember, this plan doesn't have free nights and weekends.

For me it works. Even including day, nights, and weekend minutes, I don't ever go over 500 minutes. I'm usually just under 400 minutes. If I cut it down by using VoIP (such as Google Voice via GrooVe IP), I save even more. Now that I have more data, VoIP is a choice I can easily make.

Just a word of warning though: VoIP (at least with Google Voice via GrooVe IP) doesn't work consistently on the 3G network. Even when both up and down throughput is fast, some people say I am coming through crackling. Sometimes I am clear but a few seconds delayed, making conversations awkward. Sometimes I can hear them, but they can't hear me. An vice versa. Of course sometimes it works great.

Even on WIFI, it can get bad, but the experience is better and more consistent than 3G. Strangely, it can work as well as 3G when you're throttled (tested it on my throttled AT&T SIM card) which is to say hit or miss.

So this plan is essentially a data and text plan for $30. It is a very compelling plan for a niche demographics, but I'm glad it exists.

Thank you, T-Mobile. Good bye, AT&T.

 

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