T-Mobile Is Taking the Reins off 5G with the First Truly Unlimited Plan

T-Mobile Nationwide 5G Credit: T-Mobile
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Although it may not provide the fastest 5G network on paper, iPhone 12 users on T-Mobile can rejoice in the fact that the carrier is now offering the first truly unlimited 5G plan in the U.S.

It sounds too good to be true, but not only does T-Mobile’s new Magenta MAX smartphone plan offer unlimited data with no overage charges, but it also promises not to throttle your speeds at all, regardless of how much data you use each month.

In its press release, T-Mobile notes that this is “the first and only 5G consumer smartphone plan that can’t slow you down based on how much data you use,” while also adding that it’s offering a new “Zero Cost to Switch” deal to make it even easier for customers to move over from other carriers.

While many carriers offer “unlimited” plans, these often include an asterisk — in this case, “unlimited” means you won’t ever pay any charges if you go over, but at the same time, there are still data caps, and when you exceed them your speeds may be significantly slowed down for the rest of your billing cycle — often to a level that’s akin to the lower performance end of the 3G scale.

‘Unlimited 4K UHD’

While the new Magenta MAX plan technically applies to both the LTE and 5G networks, T-Mobile is naturally marketing its advantages for those on its higher-speed 5G network. For instance, it promises that users will be able to enjoy “unlimited 4K UHD” video streaming, as opposed to the DVD-quality that many other so-called “unlimited” plans reduce users to once they hit their usage caps.

To help drive this point home, T-Mobile is also extending its “Netflix on Us” promotion to single-line customers.

Magenta MAX is made for video streaming with UHD (ultra-high definition) streaming up to 4K resolution and Netflix on Us on all MAX plans, now including single line customers.

T-Mobile

It’s worth noting that the new Magenta MAX plan does come with one small catch — for obvious reasons T-Mobile isn’t giving away Mobile Hotspot tethering data, so you’ll be limited to 40GB per month when using your laptop or other devices through your iPhone. After this, mobile tethering speeds will be limited to the equivalent of 3G.

T-Mobile Performance

While T-Mobile has yet to deploy any of the ultra-fast mmWave 5G technology that its rivals AT&T and Verizon have already been rolling out, chances are that most iPhone 12 users aren’t able to take advantage of those faster speeds anyway, since not only are they limited to major urban centres, but they’re also extremely short range, making them hit-and-miss even if you’re fortunate enough to live in downtown Manhattan or Chicago.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile already boasts the largest 5G network in the U.S., and according to recent studies rivals its competitors in terms of real-world performance by actual users.

Further, when you consider that even the most bandwidth-hungry streaming services still only require 40Mbps of data at their absolute peak quality, it’s hard to argue that most people really need mmWave 5G on an iPhone anyway; the 200Mbps+ speeds that almost all U.S. 5G carriers offer is going to be more than enough for streaming — assuming you’re not worried about hitting data caps, and that’s where T-Mobile’s new plan comes into play.

5G can deliver more data, faster, but consuming more, faster can quickly run afoul of rules found in plans built for 4G networks. Redesigning the traditional wireless service plan to take advantage of what 5G can do will create customer enthusiasm for a truly meaningful 5G experience.

Jason Leigh, 5G and Mobile Services Research Manager, IDC

The Details

The Magenta MAX plan replaces the previous Magenta Plus, and it will be available starting tomorrow, February 24, for $57 per line per month for three lines with autopay and monthly fees and taxes included, although for a limited time, you can get in on it at $47 per line per month. The price for single-line customers will be $85 per month.

Magenta MAX also includes all the other usual T-Mobile perks, such as free in-flight Wi-Fi from Gogo and free Scam Shield protection. It also includes unlimited text, talk, and data roaming in Canada and Mexico, except that high-speed data remains capped at 5GB when roaming in those countries.

T-Mobile has also beefed up its core Magenta plan, which now includes 100GB of high-speed data before throttling — double the previous amount, while also upping the high-speed tethering allotment to 5GB.

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