T-Mobile MVNOs List

Many mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) run over T-Mobile’s network. In many cases, these carriers offer wireless plans that are far less expensive than similar plans offered directly by T-Mobile.

List of T-Mobile MVNOs

CarrierEstimated subscribersRecommended?Notes:
Consumer Cellular3,000,000
Mint Mobile1,000,000StronglyMint is owned by Ultra Mobile.
Red Pocket Mobile200,000
Ting300,000
T-Mobile Prepaid2,000,000
U.S. Mobile100,000
NET10 Wireless*3,000,000NET10 is part of TracFone
TracFoneAdditional subscribers may use other carriers that are part of TracFone. An América Móvil (TracFone's parent company) report covering performance in the 4th quarter of 2018 indicates the company had roughly 22 million lines in the U.S.
Walmart Family Mobile1,000,000
GoSmart Mobile*GoSmart Mobile is a TracFone brand.
Straight Talk*9,000,000Straight Talk is a TracFone brand.
Simple Mobile*1,000,000Simple Mobile is a TracFone brand.
Telcel*Telcel is a TracFone Brand
Clearway Wireless*Clearway is a TracFone brand. I believe Clearway works with all of the Big Four networks, but I'm not confident.
Metro by T-Mobile19,000,000
Lycamobile500,000
Republic Wireless2,500,000
SpeedTalk Mobile50,000
TextNow100,000
Ultra Mobile1,000,000
Teltik

Best T-Mobile MVNOs

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile offers ridiculously cheap service over T-Mobile’s network. Mint’s plans offer 3-12 gigabytes of high-speed data along with unlimited talk and text. The plans also include some nice features:

  • Unlimited data at 128Kbps after allotted high-speed data is used[1]
  • Mobile hotspot at no extra charge[2]
  • Option to buy additional high-speed data if you run out during a billing cycle[3]

Pricing

Mint’s prices vary depending on the duration of service that customers pay for upfront.[4]

3GB plan:

  • 3 months: $25/mo
  • 6 months: $20/mo
  • 12 months: $15/mo

8GB plan:

  • 3 months: $35/mo
  • 6 months: $25/mo
  • 12 months: $20/mo

12GB plan:

  • 3 months: $45/mo
  • 6 months: $35/mo
  • 12 months: $25/mo

The prices above do not include taxes and fees. In my experience, those add another 20% or so to Mint’s total cost. At the time of writing, Mint is offering new customers 3 months of service at the typical 12-month rates.

Ting

Ting is a T-Mobile and Sprint-based MVNO (you get to choose which network) that offers a pay-for-what-you-use structure. In my experience, Ting’s customer service is among the best. Ting’s pricing is a bit hard to explain, so I recommend just checking out Ting’s rates page. Ting may be well-priced for customers who want a family plan and don’t use large amounts of data. Heavy users of data and those looking for single-line plans would probably be better off with Mint.

T-Mobile coverage and quality

T-Mobile’s network does not offer coverage as extensive as what Verizon and AT&T’s networks offer, but T-Mobile’s coverage is superior to Sprint’s coverage.[5] I discuss nationwide reliability in far more detail in another article.

Where T-Mobile offers coverage, speeds tend to be solid. In Opensignal’s crowdsourced speed tests, T-Mobile tends to do well.[6] For more information about how you can evaluate the quality of T-Mobile’s network in areas where you spend time, see How to Evaluate Wireless Service Quality.

Phone compatibility with T-Mobile MVNOs

In most cases, unlocked GSM phones and phones that are carrier-locked to T-Mobile will work with MVNOs that use T-Mobile’s network.

T-Mobile’s LTE service generally operates over bands are 2, 4, 12, 66, and 71. If you’re purchasing a new device, I suggest considering a nearly universal unlocked phone so that you have the freedom to switch between major U.S. networks in the future without having to purchase a new device.

Downsides to T-Mobile MVNOs

Subscribers using T-Mobile-based MVNOs may be prioritized behind some direct T-Mobile subscribers. Accordingly, customers using MVNOs may experience especially slow data speeds during periods of network congestion.

Subscribers on MVNO’s that use T-Mobile’s network may not have the same roaming capabilities that many of T-Mobile’s direct subscribers have.

Notes

Some of the MVNO’s listed above offer service over multiple networks, not only T-Mobile. The list also includes some carriers that may not strictly qualify as MVNOs; T-Mobile’s own prepaid brand and T-Mobile’s flanker brand, Metro, appear on the list.

I have financial relationships with many wireless carriers, including Ting and Mint Mobile. Details about the arrangements can be found here.

Footnotes

  1. This is very slow, but it is still useful if you really need to access something online and don’t have high-speed data left.
  2. Mobile hotspot data pulls from your alloted high-speed data pool. As far as I know, there hotspot data is not otherwise capped or throttled.
  3. In April 2019, it cost $10 for an additional gigabye of data or $20 for 3 additional gigabytes of data.
  4. The listed prices are as of 4/21/2019. See Mint Mobile’s plans web page for up-to-date pricing.
  5. See RootMetrics’ national report.
  6. I have serious concerns about selection bias that may affect Opensignal’s results. For more details, see my article on Opensignal’s methodology.