The best MVNOs that use the T-Mobile network deliver great data speeds and solid coverage on one of the nation’s fastest-growing networks. The T-Mobile network has been one of the biggest surprises in recent years especially with its huge focus on 5G deployment. Metro by T-Mobile manages to be one of the best prepaid carriers to use the network with tons of data and even great roaming partner access.
Best Unlimited: Metro by T-Mobile
Metro by T-Mobile has three main plans starting at 10GB with unlimited music streaming for $40 per month for one line. This is a great plan for most people with regular access to Wi-Fi and even comes with $10 off each additional line. This works out to $70, $100, $130, and $160 per month for two, three, four, and five lines, respectively. Users will also get access to T-Mobile’s 5G network if they have a compatible phone.
The next plan up is an unlimited plan with 5GB of hotspot data and 100GB of Google One cloud storage. Coming in at $50 per month for the first line, this is ideal for heavier users that don’t want to worry about how much data they use. There is a $20 per line discount meaning that the prices come out to $80, $110, $140, and $170 per month for two, three, four, and five lines.
Finally, there’s a $60 unlimited plan that comes with 15GB of hotspot data, 100GB of Google One storage, and an Amazon Prime membership that instantly pays for itself if you use Amazon. For two and three lines, the price comes out to $90 and $120 per month. For four and five lines there is a promotion bringing the cost down to $120 and $150, respectively, meaning you can actually save money with this plan if you have four or five lines.
There is a smaller 2GB plan for $30 per month but there are cheaper carriers for this amount of data including T-Mobile Prepaid’s T-Mobile Connect plan at $15 per month.
- Full T-Mobile network with roaming partners
- Great phone support
- Tons of plans to choose from
- Not much hotspot data
- 480p video streams
- 2GB plan isn’t a great deal
Metro by T-Mobile
Unlimited multi-line discounts
Though owned by T-Mobile, Metro is one of the best values if you need a lot of data on several lines.
Best for Travel: Google Fi
Google Fi isn’t trying to have the lowest prices around, but it is keeping things as simple as possible. If you have a Google Pixel phone or one of a few other Android phones, you can access not only the T-Mobile network but the Sprint and U.S. Cellular network. This unique approach keeps its customers connected in most of the county without issue. If you don’t have one of these phones, you’ll just use the T-Mobile network but you’ll have access to 5G. You also get to travel to 200+ countries without worrying about data prices.
If you want, you can also use all of your data on Google Fi as a hotspot at full speed.
Google Fi’s main plan is a flexible plan starting at $20 per month for one line with data, but increases by $10 per 1GB until 6GB. After that, the cost freezes at $80 per month with a feature called Bill Protection. With 2-6 lines, the starting price comes down to $35, $50, $65, $80, and $95, with data staying the same price. Bill Protection kicks in at 10GB, 12GB, 14GB, 16GB, and 18GB. If your group is blowing through a lot of data, this plan gets expensive fast.
An unlimited plan is available with 22GB of high-speed data and video streaming at 480p. Pricing is a bit simpler with one line coming in at $70 per month with 2-6 coming in at $120, $150, $180, $225, and $270. You do get a 100GB Google One cloud storage upgrade for each member but prices are still high compared to most MVNOs.
- Multiple networks with certain phones
- Free roaming in 200+ countries
- Flexible or unlimited
- Hotspot on every plan
- Expensive for high data usage
- Most unlocked phones only use one network
Best for Travel
When you don’t know where you’ll go next
Google Fi’s big draw is freedom with no restriction on travel and full-speed data for your hotspot.
Best for Light Use: Tello
Tello is designed in a way that lets you buy as little or as much data as you need. If you are a light user, it will be hard to beat Tello’s 1GB plan with unlimited talk and text for just $10 per month. There are no contracts or fees to worry about either so there won’t be any billing surprises. An unlimited option is available for $39 per month with 25GB of high-speed data. You can add up to four lines to an account if you want to bring your family but there are no additional discounts.
Tello is a great option if you have family or friends in Canada, Mexico, China, or Romania thanks to included support for calls to those countries. Calling to other countries is supported, though you’ll need to pay by the minute. Texts are typically 1 cent each.
You can bring your own phone as long as it’s unlocked and works with the T-Mobile network. You can check your IMEI to be sure. Tello sells a few phones on its site including refurbished flip phones and cheap smartphones. If you want something higher-end, you’ll need to bring it.
- Great prices on small plans
- Plenty of data on custom plans
- Use your data in a mobile hotspot
- Calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania included
- No discounts on family plans
- Small phone selection
Best for Light Use
A low barrier to entry
Start small or go all the way up to unlimited with Tello’s custom plans whether you need 1GB or 25GB of data.
Best Flexible Plan: US Mobile
US Mobile saves you money by only making you purchase exactly what you need. Starting as low as 75 minutes for $2 per month and making its way up to unlimited high-speed data with 10GB of hotspot data at $50 per month, it’s easy to save with US Mobile no matter how much you use your phone. Many people will like the $40 unlimited plan that doesn’t include hotspot data and has a speed limit of 5Mbps.
If you’re looking for a family plan, US Mobile offers discounts for up to four lines on its unlimited plan. Line one comes in at the standard $40 per month with line two costing only $30 per month. Lines three and four are $20 per month each. With three lines you can add a perk such as Spotify, Disney+, or even a gaming service like PS Plus. You can select two perks if you have four lines.
With a choice between the T-Mobile and Verizon LTE networks, you’ll get to pick the network that works best for you and your phone with no difference in cost. While you can add multiple lines to your account, there are no discounts for doing so. If you intend to go unlimited on every line, the cost can get high quickly. The best way to save here is to decide how much data, minutes, and texts you need and to avoid overbuying.
- Wide range of plans
- International roaming
- Works with two networks
- Pay for what you need
- Slow speed cap on the base unlimited plan
- No multi-line discount
Best Flexible Plan
Pay only for what your need
Whether you only need a few calling minutes or high-speed unlimited data, you can build a plan at US Mobile.
Best for the Family: Walmart Family Mobile
Walmart Family Mobile offers four plans and only uses the T-Mobile network for service. All plans come with unlimited talk, text, and 2G data. The cheapest plan at $25 comes with 2GB of data at LTE speeds. You can get 4GB for $30 and 14GB for $40 per month. There is also a $50 plan with unlimited LTE speed data and a 10GB hotspot. The real trick comes when you start adding lines.
As the name implies, this MVNO is focused on plans with multiple lines with every additional line costing just $25 per month extra. This includes the unlimited plan, meaning you can have five unlimited plans with 10GB of hotspot data for just shy of $150 per month. If you’re looking to save some money on big data plans on the T-Mobile network, there aren’t many that can match this price. You also get to buy at one of the huge numbers of Walmart storefronts in the U.S.
- Hotspot on all plans
- Flat rate for more lines
- International add-on available
- Lots of storefronts in the U.S.
- Unlimited video at only 480p
Best for the Family
Walmart Family Mobile
Flat rate for additional lines
With lines two through five coming in at $25 per month for unlimited data, Walmart Family Mobile is a great value for families.
Best Value: Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile gets a lot of attention for a good reason. If you’re willing to buy a year of phone service, you can get 12GB of data for $25 per month with only one line. You also get hotspot data on every plan. You can also go for an unlimited plan that comes with 35GB of high-speed data and 5GB of hotspot data. This unlimited plan is even a bit cheaper than the 12GB plan at three or 12 months.
If you can make do with 3GB per month, the price comes in at $25, $20, or $15 per month for three, six, and 12 months, respectively. For 8GB, the prices come up to $35, $25, or $20 per month. If you need 12GB, your price is $45, $35, or $25 per month. The unlimited plan is $40, $35, or $30 per month.
Keep in mind that you will need to pay for all the months upfront so the cost can be a bit high right at first. One nice thing is that you can try the first three months for the 12-month price so you don’t commit for a whole year if it turns out you don’t love the service. You can also upgrade mid-cycle, so if you find you need more data partway through your extended plan, you can pay the difference to get the larger plan.
- Save with longer terms
- Simple plans
- Upgrade mid-cycle
- Hotspot on all plans
- Only 5GB of hotspot data on the unlimited plan
- No multi-line discount
Small, medium, or large?
With Mint Mobile, you can save a lot of money by buying up to a year in advance whether you need 3GB, 8GB, 12GB, or 35GB of data.
There are a lot of great MVNOs on the T-Mobile network that offer a range of plans from just a few minutes to unlimited including some of the best MVNOs overall. While more and more people are using a large amount of data on their smartphones, the availability of Wi-Fi has continued to grow to allow a lot of people to get by on a much cheaper plan. If you find you can get by on this small amount of data, there is a plan on most carriers with two or three gigabytes for a great price.
For most people, having unlimited data is still a great option thanks to being able to forget about whether you have Wi-Fi or not and just stream. It’s also nice to have your own hotspot data so you can keep your laptop or tablet connected even when public Wi-Fi is at a crawl or requires a purchase. Metro by T-Mobile offers a great balance of large amounts of data with hotspot included. If you have a few lines, the value gets even better.
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.