T-Mobile offers three postpaid, unlimited plans: Essentials, Magenta, and Magenta Plus. While all three plans include unlimited data, minutes, and texts, the more expensive plans include additional features.
T-Mobile also offers two prepaid, unlimited plans. I discuss those plans on a different page.
Differences between the plans
Pricing per line
Per-line prices vary depending on the number of lines on an account. The prices for the Magenta and Magenta Plus plans include taxes and fees. The prices for the Essentials plan do not include taxes or fees. Taxes and fees on the Essentials plan will vary by location.
If you’re 55 or over, you qualify for discounted pricing on these plans.
On the Essentials plan, subscribers are always deprioritized. As a result, Essentials subscribers will experience slower speeds than other T-Mobile subscribers during moments of network congestion. Magenta and Magenta Plus subscribers will experience regular prioritization for their first 50GB of use each month. If a subscriber on either of the Magenta plans exceeds 50GB of use in a billing period, they will be deprioritized for the remainder of the period.
Essentials subscribers that exceed 50GB of use in a billing period will be deprioritized even further than they were initially.
All three plans allow unlimited mobile hotspot access at 3G speeds. I haven’t seen T-Mobile explicitly state what “3G speeds” mean, but I’m guessing access at 3G speeds is throttled to about 0.5Mbps. On the Magenta and Magenta Plus plans, subscribers receive a monthly allotment of regular-speed hotspot data that they can use before experiencing a drop to 3G speeds:
- Magenta: 3GB of regular-speed mobile hotspot
- Magenta Plus: 20GB of regular-speed mobile hotspot
On the Essentials and Magenta plan, video traffic is throttled to standard quality (sometimes called 480p or DVD-quality). On the Magenta Plan, HD streaming is permitted.
Netflix and Quibi
The streaming services Netflix and Quibi come free for the first year on Magenta and Magenta Plus accounts with two or more lines. Magenta subscribers receive Netflix Basic (one device at a time can stream standard-quality video). Magenta Plus subscribers receive Netflix Standard (up to two devices at a time can stream high-definition video). After the first year of service, subscribers can continue to receive one of the two video services for free.
The Magenta plan includes free international data roaming in about 200 countries at a maximum of 128Kbps (a sluggish speed). The Magenta Plus plan allows international data roaming in the same places at 256Kbps (still a slow speed).
Canada & Mexico roaming
While the Essentials plan does not come with the extensive international roaming access mentioned above, it allows unlimited minutes and texts along with data at 128Kbps while in Mexico and Canada. The Magenta and Magenta Plus plans allow unlimited calling and texting in Mexico and Canada, as well as up to 5GB of full-speed data. Magenta and Magenta Plus subscribers that run through their full-speed data can continue to access the internet in Canada and Mexico at 2G speeds (128Kbps).
The Magenta and Magenta Plus plans both include free texting on planes with Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi. The Magenta plan allows 1 hour of Wi-Fi access during these flights. The Magenta Plus plan has no restrictions on the duration of Gogo Wi-Fi access.
The Magenta Plus plan also includes some caller ID and voicemail to text features that are not offered on either the Magenta or Essentials plans.
- During periods of network congestion, mobile hotspot use will be prioritized below on-device data use.
“On-device usage is prioritized over tethering usage, which may result in higher speeds for data used on device.”
From T-Mobile’s Unlimited Plans page on 4/15/2020.