A number of smaller cell phone carriers called mobile virtual network operators partner with T-Mobile to use its towers, but are any of the best T-Mobile MVNOs really worth it?
I’ve tested several T-Mobile MVNOs over the years and will share what I’ve learned in this article.
Can You Save Money With a T-Mobile MVNO?
Let’s use the T-Mobile Connect prepaid brand to illustrate this point.
With T-Mobile Connect, you can get unlimited talk, text and 2GB of high-speed data for $15 a month. For $25 a month, it’s 5GB of data. Taxes and fees are a few dollars extra.
That’s a low price point for the best T-Mobile MVNOs to beat, but some are worth a closer look. Let’s get started!
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- Owned by Dish after the Sprint and T-Mobile merger
- Boost Mobile has more than nine million customers
- Unlimited plans, plus five plans under $50
- Taxes and fees are included in the advertised price
- Boost Mobile has retail stores nationwide
Dish acquired Boost Mobile’s 9 million customers as part of the Sprint and T-Mobile merger. Boost was previously owned by Sprint. The deal gives Dish access to T-Mobile’s network for seven years while it builds a standalone 5G network. Shortly after Dish acquired Boost Mobile, it launched five new plans under $50. The cheapest plan for light data users is only $10 a month. Unlimited plans are available, but you’ll find that unlimited plans for a single line aren’t the best deal. You can get started with Boost Mobile online, over the phone or by visiting a retail store.
- Actor Ryan Reynolds purchased an ownership stake in 2019
- $30/month unlimited plan added in 2020
- Other Mint Mobile plans start at $15/month
- Must prepay for three, six or 12 months of service
- Customer support by phone or live chat
Mint Mobile is next on my list of the best T-Mobile MVNOs. The low-cost cell phone service provider is heavily advertising its unlimited plan that works out to as low as $30 a month. Mint Mobile is different from many prepaid carriers because it doesn’t have a monthly payment option. It offers plans for three months, six months or 12 months. For example, the unlimited deal is $90 for an introductory plan that lasts three months. If you want to renew and keep the $30/month rate, you need to pay for 12 months in advance. As with most carriers, you can bring your own device or purchase a new one. Mint Mobile has no stores, so customer support is handled by phone and chat.
- Founded in 2011 and based in Raleigh, North Carolina
- Partners with T-Mobile and Sprint networks (Check coverage)
- Support for Android devices, not iPhones
- Plans start at $15 a month, plus discounts for annual plans
- No physical stores or 800-number; support available online
Money expert Clark Howard has been talking about Republic Wireless for about a decade. With no unlimited data plan, this service is designed for light data users. You can get unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for $20 a month before taxes and fees. Annual plans are available at a lower rate. Although you can bring your own Android phone or buy a new one, iPhones are not compatible. Customer support is almost entirely online, but you can file a ticket and someone will call you back.
Metro by T-Mobile
- Two unlimited data plans including one with Amazon Prime
- Uses T-Mobile’s nationwide network and 5G access
- Frequent family plan discounts and free phone promotions
- Customer service available online, by phone and at retail locations
Metro by T-Mobile is owned by T-Mobile, so it’s not technically an MVNO like the other carriers on this list. However, I included it because some of Metro’s prepaid plans are slightly cheaper than T-Mobile’s postpaid service. Metro by T-Mobile has two unlimited plans including one that comes with Amazon Prime. Its standard prices aren’t incredibly low, but you can find limited-time promotions that may make this carrier a great way to save. The best deals are for multiple lines of service, and some of them will include free phones when you switch. Unlike many low-cost carriers, Metro by T-Mobile has hundreds of retail stores nationwide where you can get in-person customer support.
- Top-rated “Non-Contract Value Carrier” by J.D. Power
- Two network partners: AT&T and T-Mobile (Check coverage)
- 5% discount for AARP members
- Products and plans available at Target locations nationwide
- Talk, text and data starting at $20/month
- Free activation and no contracts
Consumer Cellular rounds out my list of the best T-Mobile MVNOs. The provider targets the senior population and offers a 5% AARP discount, but it’s available to people of all ages. Consumer Cellular has flexible data plans that are ideal for light data users. There are two network partners with this carrier: T-Mobile and AT&T. You’ll be assigned one or the other when you sign up. If you want to make sure that you get T-Mobile, you can visit a Target retail store and pick up a Consumer Cellular SIM card for T-Mobile’s network. Consumer Cellular has gotten high marks for its 100% U.S.-based customer service.
If you have T-Mobile and want to lower your monthly cell phone bill, consider the MVNOs on this list.
However, expect to make compromises to save money. Even the best T-Mobile MVNOs may have data caps, offer the cheapest rates only for annual plans and limit customer support options.
If that won’t work for you, check T-Mobile’s website for limited-time deals on its prepaid or postpaid plans.
To learn more about options for low-cost wireless service, read Team Clark’s guide to the best cell phone plans and deals. It’s updated several times a month!
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- 9 Easy Ways to Lower Your Monthly Cell Phone Bill
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- The #1 Mistake People Make When Switching Cell Phone Carriers