T-Mobile Essentials vs. T-Mobile Magenta

April 2023 Update: Some content on this page is no longer accurate. The “Essentials” plan mentioned on this page is the older (though still available) Essentials plan. Not the newer “Essentials Savings” plan.

T-Mobile’s Magenta plan includes a lot of features, but it is more expensive than the Essentials plan. For subscribers that want the best possible experience, T-Mobile’s Magenta plan may be the preferred choice.

I don’t think the Essentials plan offers good value. Those considering the Essentials plan may want to look into carriers like Mint Mobile that run over T-Mobile’s network but offer better prices.


The Magenta and Essentials plans are priced based on the number of lines on an account. The table below shows monthly prices per line after a discount for automatic payments. Note that T-Mobile includes taxes and fees in the list prices for the Magenta plan. Taxes and fees are extra on the Essentials plan. When I tried the Essentials plan, I paid $4.58 in taxes and fees on a base price of $60.1

LinesEssentialsMagentaMagenta Plus


When T-Mobile’s network is not congested, Essentials and Magenta subscribers should experience similar speeds. When T-Mobile’s network is congested, Essentials customers may experience slower speeds than other users on the network. Magenta subscribers avoid the worst of congestion-related speed decreases thanks to a 100GB per month allotment of high-priority data.

Mobile hotspot data

The Magenta plan includes 5GB of full-speed mobile hotspot data each month. After the full-speed data runs out, T-Mobile allows Magenta subscribers to use additional hotspot data at significantly reduced speeds. Essentials subscribers are allowed to use mobile hotspots, but data is always throttled to low speeds.

Other differences

Subscribers with two or more lines on T-Mobile’s Magenta plan are eligible for free access to Netflix’s single-screen plan.

Essentials or Magenta?

I recommend T-Mobile’s Magenta plan for those who want solid performance. If you’re looking to save some cash and don’t care about mild performance limitations, you may want to skip T-Mobile’s Essentials plan and instead opt for another carrier like Mint Mobile.


  1. Taxes vary based on location. In my case, I was based out of Boulder, Colorado.