Should you upgrade to T-Mobile One in September? We break it down


T-Mobile recently introduced a single plan to choose from called “T-Mobile One” — a plan with unlimited data, talk, and text. The first line costs $70, and the second adds an extra $50. Any additional line thereafter will cost an additional $20. So a family of four, for example, will see a total cost of $160 in return for unlimited data on each line.

There are a few catches, though. First, and perhaps most importantly, all video playback on this new plan will be limited to a 480-pixel resolution. Of course, this doesn’t affect you if you typically watch videos on Wi-Fi. Second, good luck tethering data from your phone to another device — the feature will only operate on 2G networks. Finally, to get the listed price for the T-Mobile One plan, you have to sign up for Auto Pay, which automatically pays your bill each month. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay $5 more a month than what’s listed — so technically a family of four would pay $165 for unlimited data without Auto Pay. Yes, we agree that this is a stupid charge.

There are two options for people who desperately want to watch HD (720p or higher) videos on 4G LTE, or need better tethering service. T-Mobile will charge $25 per device for HD video playback, and $15 for tethering up to 5GB.

For all its claims and promises to be the “un-carrier,” T-Mobile’s new One plan is a characteristically two-sided carrier move. There are a lot of limits to the unlimited plan, and while the magenta company has done away with overages and two-year contracts, it is now charging for the simple choice to play a video in 720p, and you’ll have to cough up a lot of money if you want to even think about tethering.

Still, the new plan primarily affects new customers looking to grab an unlimited data plan. A T-Mobile spokesperson told Digital Trends that “there will always be a Simple Choice option; Simple Choice Unlimited will go away after Sept. 6.” This means the current unlimited tier is being replaced with the new T-Mobile One plan. Existing customers can choose if they want to upgrade or keep their current plan, but new customers will only be able to choose between the fixed data plans in Simple Choice and T-Mobile One. But the spokesperson also said the following:

“The best way to think about this is to remember the days of talk-time phone minutes,” the spokesperson said. “Customers used to have to pay for the number of talk minutes they wanted every month, until those plans went away and unlimited talk and text became standard. When those unlimited talk/text plans were first introduced, the ‘talk time’ minute plans didn’t immediately go away. It took customers some time to adjust.”

Clearly, the inevitable goal is to phase out the Simple Choice fixed data rate plans in lieu of the T-Mobile One offering. When exactly this will happen is unclear. It also seems contradictory, seeing as the spokesperson also said there will “always” be a Simple Choice option — perhaps something else is down the road for the magenta company. For now, we’ll focus on both plans seeing as Simple Choice will still exist alongside T-Mobile One in the near future.

Related: T-Mobile is giving unlimited data to every customer, but there’s a catch

While the new plan may seem pricier for people on a fixed data rate, it does offer slashed prices across the board for some current subscribers on the unlimited data plan. Let’s take a look at the T-Mobile One, how it compares with the Simple Choice plan, and whether you should upgrade when it launches on Sept. 6 or not.

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