T-Mobile offers a free MLB.TV subscription for the 2019 baseball season

T-Mobile offers a free susbcription to MLB.TV

With the start of baseball’s 2019 season right around the corner (Go Yankees!), T-Mobile announced that customers can soon get free subscriptions to MLB.TV. T-Mobile will offer a free subscription through T-Mobile Tuesdays, the carrier’s weekly program that provides deals and free stuff to T-Mobile subscribers.

For those unfamiliar with MLB.TV, the MLB-sponsored audio and video streaming service lets you watch every out-of-market regular season game either live or on-demand. You can also watch select spring training games live, stream the home or away feed in HD, and simultaneously watch up to four games.

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If you’re on the go, don’t fret — the MLB.TV subscription lets you use the At Bat Premium app. In addition to everything included with an MLB.TV subscription, At Bat Premium lets you listen to radio broadcasts, see key plays from every game, watch 60fps video of select live MLB.TV broadcasts, and more.

If you’re a baseball fan looking to save $118.99 on an MLB.TV subscription, make sure to download the T-Mobile Tuesdays app. The free subscription will be available March 26, with no mention of whether that’s the only day the free subscription will be offered.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Which is right for you?

The T-Mobile logo at MWC 2018.

Google Fi — which started out as Project Fi — is an online-only wireless carrier. The big selling point of Google Fi is that you only pay for the data you use, and that the data amount can fluctuate from month-to-month. Like other services from Google, it offers a different approach to an established paradigm — in this case, wireless service.

On the other hand, T-Mobile‘s service is a little more generic. There are physical shops you can visit and you pay a flat fee for unlimited data, which might result in you paying more money than you need for data you’re not using.

Depending on your situation, the Google Fi vs T-Mobile question might be easy to answer. However, if you don’t know much about either service or are currently a subscriber to one with little knowledge of the other, we’re here to help you settle the Google Fi vs T-Mobile debate once and for all!

Let’s talk about each aspect of the two services and see which one works better for you.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Talk and text

Gboard on the Pixel 2XL.

As with most carriers these days, both T-Mobile and Google Fi offer unlimited talk and text when you are in the United States calling or texting someone who also lives in the United States. This unlimited voice/text package is incorporated into nearly every T-Mobile plan and is part of the $20 base fee for Google Fi.

T-Mobile also offers unlimited free calls and texts to and from Canada and Mexico, while Google Fi only offers free texting to countries outside of the United States. Calls to and from both Canada and Mexico will be subject to a $0.20-per-minute rate on Google Fi.

There will be more info on international Google Fi and T-Mobile services a bit further down!

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Data

best video chat apps for android

Our smartphone usage gets more and more data-heavy with every passing year, so how much data you are allowed to use on your wireless plan is of the utmost importance!

T-Mobile keeps things relatively simple: for a flat fee every month, you can use as much 4G LTE data as you wish. That flat fee varies depending on which plan you decide to go with. The basic plan — T-Mobile One — costs $75 per month, with all taxes and fees included in that price. There are more expensive plans (like T-Mobile One Plus) and a few cheaper ones, too (such as T-Mobile Essentials). However, no matter which plan you choose your data will be unlimited.

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Google Fi takes an “a la carte” approach to mobile service, charging you $10 for every gigabyte of data you use, and prorating that charge by $1 increments. For example, if you use 1.9GB of data in a month, you’ll be charged $19 for that data.

If you’re a heavy data user, don’t worry: with Google Fi, charges are capped at 6GB of monthly data for people with just one line. For example, if you use 7.6GB of data one month, you will be charged $60 — not $76 — because $60 is as high as the charges can go.

As we use more and more data, we need a plan that can accommodate that consumption. But we also don’t want to pay more than we must.

Remember though that data charges with Google Fi are on top of the $20 base level fee for talk and text. With that factored in, the most you’ll pay for talk, text, and data on Google Fi is $80, assuming you don’t have any additional international charges. Google Fi also will charge taxes and fees on top of this $80.

The essential takeaway here is that if you use a lot of data, T-Mobile offers you all the data you could want at a flat rate of $75 per month, taxes and fees included. Google Fi, however, will charge $80 for unlimited data with additional taxes and fees, clearly making T-Mobile the better option when it comes to data.

If you are not a big data user, then Google Fi is likely the better option, as you’ll only pay for the data you use. For example, if you use less than 2GB of data in any given month, your Google Fi bill could be half of what you’d pay with T-Mobile.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Throttling

Galaxy-S6-Speedtest-1

There’s more to the story here when it comes to so-called “unlimited” data. Both T-Mobile and Google Fi will throttle your data service if you use more than what each company considers an appropriate amount. “Throttling” means your service is still active — i.e., you can still access the internet using your mobile data — but your experience will be quite slow.

With T-Mobile, your service might get throttled after 50GB of use in one month, while Google Fi could start throttling you after only 15GB of use.

This shows once again that if you are a heavy data user, T-Mobile is the better option. If you often find yourself going over 15GB of data per month, you’re going to have a bad time on Google Fi.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Service

A map of T-Mobile coverage in North America as of February 2019. T-Mobile

Believe it or not, Google Fi’s primary network is exactly the same as T-Mobile’s. That’s because Google Fi is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), meaning that it doesn’t own its own network towers or spectrum. Instead, it buys network access from T-Mobile and then sells that to consumers for a profit.

In other words, a coverage map of T-Mobile’s network and a coverage map of Google Fi’s will look the same.

However, there is one crucial difference when it comes to Google Fi, which is that it also buys wireless spectrum from other carriers, including Sprint. This means that if you are in an area where T-Mobile service is spotty, but Sprint service is good, Google Fi will connect you to a Sprint tower instead at no additional charge — and without you even knowing. This is something T-Mobile does not offer.

Unless you use a Google Fi-certified device, Google Fi’s service map is exactly the same as T-Mobile’s.

Unfortunately, this ability to switch back and forth from one network to another is not compatible with all Android phones. Instead, this feature is only available to “phones designed for Fi,” and that list is quite small.

To be clear, if you do not own a phone designed for Google Fi, you will only have access to T-Mobile towers, making Google Fi and T-Mobile network service exactly the same.

Consult the next section for more on devices.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Devices

T-Mobile is a GSM network. You can read more about what that means here, but the general gist is that its service is based on a globally-recognized technology. As such, you can buy a phone from pretty much any source and it will likely work on T-Mobile.

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The only thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that some international phones won’t be able to access 4G LTE speeds on T-Mobile’s network. However, this isn’t something you have to worry about if you’re buying your device in the United States.

If you don’t want to bring your own device to T-Mobile, you can visit a T-Mobile store and buy a phone directly from the carrier. You can also buy phones online from T-Mobile.com.

Google Fi is more complicated. As mentioned in the previous section, to take full advantage of Google Fi’s network-switching capabilities, you’ll need to own or buy a phone designed for Fi. As of today, the entire list of supported phones is here:

If your device is not on that list, you won’t have the ability to switch between networks on Google Fi. You will be using T-Mobile towers exclusively, almost as if you were a T-Mobile customer.

If you don’t want to use one of those phones, you can consult this list to see the full range of devices that work on Google Fi. There are phones from Samsung, Huawei, HTC, OnePlus, and even Apple on the list. However, they won’t be designed for Fi and won’t get to seamlessly switch networks.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Group/family plans

Both T-Mobile and Google Fi encourage you to add more lines to your account to take advantage of discounts. The more accounts you add, the more you can potentially save.

For the T-Mobile One plan, your first line is $75. Your second line is $55, and your third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth line will be $25 each. For a family of four, you’d pay $180 per month, or $45 per line if you split it evenly.

Keep in mind those prices reflect paying your bill manually rather than using autopay. If you use autopay, your bill is lower (see Billing section below).

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As with a single-line T-Mobile plan, a family plan gets unlimited text, talk, and 4G LTE data. However, keep in mind that data throttling could begin if your collective data usage goes above 50GB. In other words, each line’s data is combined and then compared to the 50GB limit — it’s not 50GB per line.

With Google Fi family plans, the company sticks with its a la carte approach to data. Each line you add is an additional $15 on top of the $20 base, and then your data charges amount to $10 for every GB of usage.

However, the limit for how much data you can use before billing caps out goes up with each new line. For one line, this is 6GB (as described in the Data section above). For two lines, that limit goes up to 10GB and up to 12GB for three lines, and so on. In other words, how much data your family uses on Google Fi makes a huge difference for your bill.

Once again, if your family uses a lot of data, Google Fi will likely be much more expensive than T-Mobile.

For example, if your family of four uses a collective 20GB of data every month on T-Mobile, your monthly bill will be $180 (without autopay). If that same family uses 20GB collectively on Google Fi, the monthly bill will be $205 plus taxes and fees ($20 base + $45 for three lines + $140 for over 14GB of data). If your family of four uses 10GB collectively over one month, your Google Fi bill will be $165 — less than T-Mobile. However, that Google Fi price doesn’t include taxes and fees and using autopay on T-Mobile will make your bill much cheaper.

The ultimate takeaway here is, once again, that Google Fi’s service becomes more expensive than T-Mobile if you use a lot of data. Only frugal data users will see a financial benefit to Google Fi.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: International service

International service on a United States carrier used to be a nightmare. Nowadays though, things are a lot more straightforward and service is a lot cheaper.

On the T-Mobile One plan, you can use wireless data and send text messages as much as you like at no additional charge in over 200 countries. However, that data will be very slow, capped at 128KBps. At that speed, it would take about six minutes to download one 5MB file, such as an MP3 or a large PDF.

The T-Mobile One Plus plan doubles those international speeds to 256KBps, which is better but still much slower than the speeds you’ll likely be used to in the U.S.

Google Fi offers the same free international texting as T-Mobile but handles international data roaming a bit differently. Instead of capping your use at any one speed, your data speed varies depending on where you are. For example, your speeds in a place like London might be just as fast as the LTE speeds you enjoy at home, while the speed on a small island like Corsica might be more in line with the 128KBps speeds T-Mobile One subscribers will see.

Frequent international travelers will likely love Google Fi’s speeds when in faraway countries.

Regardless of speed, international data costs the same as domestic data on Google Fi: $10 per gigabyte.

If you are using a non-Fi device (see the Devices section above), you may or may not see the same speeds internationally as a Fi-certified device. It varies.

As for phone calls, both T-Mobile and Google Fi will charge you for calling either to or from international destinations. The rates can vary, but $0.20 per minute is the average charge. As mentioned before, T-Mobile will not charge you for calls to or from Canada and Mexico, while Google Fi will.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Additional perks

T-Mobile LiveNation partnership

Both T-Mobile and Google Fi offer perks in addition to your regular service.

All T-Mobile One customers get access to T-Mobile Tuesdays, an app that gives you free and discounted stuff every Tuesday (naturally). The free stuff can vary from incredibly cool (like a free subscription to Pandora Plus for a year or a free taco from Taco Bell every week) to incredibly lame (a free drink with purchase of a full meal at a restaurant, for example). The app also offers discounts on devices, free T-Mobile swag, and the ability to enter giveaway contests.

Additionally, any group T-Mobile plan with two lines or more gets access to free Netflix. T-Mobile calls this Netflix On Us, and it effectively subsidizes your Netflix subscription. The base Netflix plan is free, and higher-end Netflix plans get discounted. You can read more about how it works here.

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T-Mobile One also offers free in-flight data and texting if your flight supports Gogo and free unlimited mobile hotspot tethering at 3G speeds. For T-Mobile One Plus plans, you get 20GB of 4G LTE hotspot data.

Google Fi has a few perks as well. The biggest is that, if you’re using a phone designed for Fi, your service will not only automatically switch between carriers but also automatically switch to millions of secure Wi-Fi hotspots. This helps save you data, as your Wi-Fi use doesn’t count towards your data charges.

Google Fi also offers free data-only SIM cards to use your data on additional devices. This is helpful if you want the benefits of Google Fi but don’t want to switch your phones. You could, theoretically, buy a Motorola Moto X4 (the cheapest Google Fi-certified device) and make it into a mobile hotspot using the data-only SIM card. Connect your main phone to the Moto X4 and you’ll essentially have the benefit of Google Fi network switching on your phone that isn’t Fi-certified.

Both Google Fi and T-Mobile offer 24/7 customer support, connecting you with a human quickly.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Billing

T-Mobile offers many different ways to pay your bill. You can sign up for autopay which automatically withdraws cash from your connected bank account or credit card on the bill date. If you use this service, T-Mobile cuts down the price of your wireless service by $5 for each line. For example, the $75 T-Mobile One plan goes down to $70 for one account if you use autopay. A family of four would pay $180 each month without autopay, but only pay $160 per month with it.

If for some reason you don’t want to save money using autopay, you can agree to pay your bill manually. You can do this online, over the phone, or even walk into a T-Mobile store and pay there.

Google Fi only offers one option: autopay. You cannot pay your bill manually online or over the phone. The only time a manual charge would be possible is if there were something wrong with your automatic payment and you had to rectify that situation with a manual charge. There is no discount for using autopay since it’s the only option.

Final verdict: Google Fi vs T-Mobile

Google Fi

Ultimately, T-Mobile will be the better service for the majority of users, especially if you are signing up for a family plan or use a lot of data.

Users who fall into some specific categories, however, will find Google Fi can save them a ton of cash in the long run. These users do not have a family plan, own or are willing to buy a Google Fi-certified device, and are willing to curb their data usage as much as possible to keep their bill low.

Additionally, users who do a lot of international travel might find Google Fi to be better for them due to better data speeds.

Check out the table below for a quick synopsis of our Google Fi vs T-Mobile comparison:

  T-Mobile One (with autopay) Google Fi
Talk and Text $70 for first line
$50 for second line
$20 each for lines 3-8
$20 for first line
$15 for each additional line
Data Unlimited 4G LTE $10 per GB of 4G LTE
No extra charge if you go over 6GB
Throttling Over 50GB in one month Over 15GB in one month
Service T-Mobile network only T-Mobile network only
(Additional networks with certain devices)
Devices Most domestic GSM devices Most domestic GSM devices
Small list of Fi-certified devices enhance experience
Family Plans 2 lines, 25GB/each — $120
3 lines, 16GB/each — $140
4 lines, 12GB/each — $160
(Based on 50GB throttle limit)
2 lines, 3GB/each — $95
2 lines, 15GB total — $135
3 lines, 3GB/each — $140
3 lines, 15GB total — $170
4 lines, 3GB/each — $185
4 lines, 15GB total — $205
International 200+ countries
Free texting everywhere
Free calls to/from Canada and Mexico
Average of $0.20/min. for other calls
Data speeds capped at 128KBps
All data free with plan
200+ countries
Free texting everywhere
Average of $0.20/min. for all calls outside US
Data speeds vary by location
Data costs same as domestic ($10/GB)
Perks T-Mobile Tuesdays
Netflix On Us
Free Gogo in-flight data/text
Unlimited hotspot at 3G speeds
24/7 customer support
Access to free Wi-Fi (with certified devices only)
Free additional data-only SIM
Hotspot at 4G LTE speeds ($10/GB)
24/7 customer support
Billing Autopay
Manual pay online, over phone, in-store
Autopay only
Taxes & Fees Included in prices Not included in prices

Where do you fall on the Google Fi vs T-Mobile debate? Do you currently subscribe to either service? Are you going to stay or does this article make you think you should switch? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: Here are the best T-Mobile deals and offers right now

Moto G7, G7 Play, and G7 Power: Price and release date (Update: Pre-order now)

When the Motorola Moto G first arrived in 2013, there were few phones like it. It was affordable, but had reasonably powerful specs, something few other budget phones could match. Now the Lenovo-owned brand is back with a refreshed G series. These four affordable phones include many of the core Motorola features we’ve come to love, like an ambient display and easy-to-master hand gestures.

The new family consists of the Moto G7 Play, the G7 Power, G7 Plus, and the Moto G7. The four share many features, but each targets a slightly different market segment based on screen size, camera capabilities, battery life, and, of course, price.

Here’s what you need to know.

Moto G7 release date

The Moto G7, G7 Power, G7 Plus, and G7 Play will be sold all over the world.

Brazil and Mexico got all four phones first starting on February 7, 2019. Europe was slated to get them next, but the United States snuck in before them with pre-orders opening on February 22, 2019.

Moto also plans to sell the phones in Australia, India, the Asia Pacific, and throughout much of Latin America. Specific release dates in these markets are unknown, other than that we can expect them sometime in the spring.

Moto G7 series

Moto G7 price and availability — U.S.

The Moto G7 family will set you back between $199 and $299 in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Moto G7 Plus won’t available here.

  • Moto G7 Play — $199
  • Moto G7 Power — $249
  • Moto G7 — $299

You can pre-order the Moto G7 starting February 22, 2019, from Motorola’s online site, B&H Photo, and Best Buy.

You’ll be able to get the Moto G7 unlocked from other retailers such as Walmart and Amazon soon. It will also reach several prepaid carriers including Google Fi, Republic Wireless, and Ting.

 

The Moto G7 Power will be sold by T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Cricket Wireless (as the Moto G7 Supra), Consumer Cellular, Republic Wireless, Ting, and Xfinity Mobile. Shortly after it hits carriers, the G7 Power will go on sale unlocked through Best Buy, B&H Photo, Walmart, and Amazon.

The G7 Play will be sold by Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Republic Wireless, and Ting. Like the others, it will be sold unlocked by Best Buy, B&H Photo, Walmart, and Amazon eventually as well. Exact timing on all these releases will depend on the carrier and retailer in question.

Moto G7 price and availability — Global

Aside from Brazil and Mexico, we don’t have any firm details on when or where the Moto G7 series will arrive to the rest of the globe. Pricing also remains mostly unknown outside the U.S., though the Moto G7 Plus will start at 299.99 euros (~$341).

We’ll be sure to update this post as we learn more about the exact Moto G7 pricing and availability for each region.

What do you think, are you interested in ordering the Motorola Moto G7, Moto G7 Power, or Moto G7 Play? Let us know!

Even more Moto G7 series coverage

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

The best prepaid and no contract plans in the US (January 2019)

When we first started this prepaid carrier list in 2012, things were starting to get truly exciting. We were seeing processors with more cores, screens in true HD, and things were starting to get really interesting for Android. It’s now 2019 and the mobile industry has undergone a striking revolution. Carriers are becoming less aggressive, off-contract phones are getting better and cheaper, and things don’t look anything like they did in 2012.

Read Next: Best unlimited data plans in the US

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the value of a good no contract or pre-paid plan, so let’s take a look at the best ones right now.


US Mobile

Promoted


US Mobile might not be a household name, but its growing number of choices makes this MVNO worthy of your attention. Operating on Verizon and T-Mobile’s networks, US Mobile’s exceptional coverage easily competes with the “big boys.” Even better, US Mobile is giving Android Authority readers the chance to save $15 upon initial sign up.

To save $15, you’ll want to pick your plan and order a SIM card. Upon checkout, enter ANDAUSM into the promo code box for a $15 credit towards the SIM card ($4) and your first month of coverage.

Okay, so you can save extra when signing up for US Mobile, but why give them a chance? US Mobile stands out because the carrier doesn’t just give a few basic plans and then calls it a day. Instead it gives consumers the option to customize call, text, and data with more than 800 possible combinations.

Here’s a break down of its latest pricing tiers and options:


Plan details:

  • Plans begin at as low as $4 a month, but go up depending on your combination of data, text, and talk.
  • Super LTE Unlimited plans with prices ranging from $40 to $65 a month. Super LTE Unlimited plans are on offer with three tiers: Standard (1Mbps), Fast (5Mbps), Ludicrous (up to 150Mbps)
  • You choose between the biggest LTE network coverage or the network with the broadest device compatibility.
  • Unlike most carriers, if you need to shut down the line for a while, you can hold your number for just $2 a month, effectively snoozing the plan.
  • Head here for more details on plan combinations or to choose an unlimited option.

US Mobile prepaid plans & phones


T-Mobile best prepaid plans in the US

T-Mobile

T-Mobile still has pre-paid plans, despite having its own prepaid no-contract carrier, Metro by T-Mobile. You can bring your own phone, assuming it can use T-Mobile’s service.

See: Best Android T-Mobile prepaid phones

Plan details:

  • Pay as you go – Starting at $3 a month, plus taxes and fees. Includes up to 30 minutes of talk with more for 10 cents a minute, and up to 30 messages, with more at 10 cents a message. LTE and hotspot data available with the purchase of a data pass.
  • Simply Prepaid  – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of LTE data. First line costs $40 a month, Two lines cost $70 a month, Three lines costs $100 a month, Four lines cost $130, Five lines costs $160 a month. All of these prices don’t include taxes or fees. Mobile hotspot available at full speeds up to data amount. Unlimited calls to and from Mexico and Canada, plus data roaming while in those countries, for $5 a month extra. Unlimited calls to and from Mexico, Canada, and 30+ countries, with unlimited international texting, for $15 a month extra.
  • T-Mobile One PrePaid – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data. First line costs $50 a month, Two lines cost $80 a month, Three lines costs $110 a month, Four lines cost $140, Five lines costs $170 a month. All of these prices don’t include taxes or fees. Mobile hotspot available at unlimited 3G speeds. Unlimited calls to and from Mexico and Canada, plus data roaming while in those countries, for $5 a month extra. Unlimited calls to and from Mexico, Canada, and more than 30 countries, with unlimited international texting, for $15 a month extra.

AT&T best prepaid plans in the US

AT&T

AT&T’s prepaid plans are pretty simple to understand. You can bring your own device to AT&T’s pre-paid plans as long as it supports AT&T’s network.

Plan Details:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text. Data can be added to this plan at 250MB portions for $5 each.
  • $35/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of LTE data. Data speeds go down to 128Kbps after the data limits are reached.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of data. Data speeds go down to 128Kbps after the data limits are reached.
  • $65/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data. You may experience data throttling if there is congestion in your area. Video streaming is cut down to 480p.
  • $85/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data. You may see speeds go down if there is congestion in your area if you go over 22GB a month of data. Plan also offers 10Gb of high-speed mobile hotspot data. Video streaming resolution can be set to 1080p.

Boost Mobile best prepaid plans in the US

Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile is an MVNO using Sprint’s network. It’s one of the more popular MVNOs out there and most people have probably heard the name somewhere before. It has a decent selection of phones and, like T-Mobile, doesn’t use contracts at all. You can bring your own Sprint device assuming it’s somewhere on this list. You may need to call customer service as it appears as though that list doesn’t get frequently updated. Boost Mobile currently has four total pre-paid plans.

Plan details:

  • $35/month – Unlimited calls and texts with 3GB of LTE data.
  • $50/month – Unlimited calls and texts and unlimited LTE data. Video streaming is cut down to 480p. You also get 12GB of mobile hotspot LTE data per month.
  • $60/month – Unlimited calls and text and unlimited LTE data. Video streaming goes up to 1080p. You also get 30GB of mobile hotspot LTE data per month.
  • $80/month – Unlimited talk and text with unlimited LTE data. Video streaming goes up to 1080p. You also get 50GB of mobile hotspot LTE data per month. This plans also has unlimited text and talk to landlines and mobile phones in Mexico and Canada (except in the country’s Northern Territories/area code 867). You also get unlimited talk to landlines in over 70 other countries. Finally, it offers free access to the TIDAL Premium music streaming service.
  • Add-ons – Boost Mobile offers a ton of add-ons including data packs, International phone services, phone insurance, and mobile hotspot services.

Boost mobile Prepaid plans & phones | Best Boost Mobile deals


Cricket Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless used to be called AIO. It’s an AT&T-owned MVNO running on the carrier’s network. You can bring your own device, assuming it’s compatible. If it’s a GSM phone designed with support for all the necessary US bands, it’ll work without a hitch. Additionally, every plan comes with support for roaming in Mexico or Canada as long as your usage doesn’t exceed 50 percent of your total usage for the month.

Plan details:

  • $25/month – unlimited talk and text, but no data.
  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of LTE data, but speeds are capped at 8Mbps. You get unlimited 2G after the data cap.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 5GB of data, but speeds are capped at 8Mbps You get unlimited 2G after the data cap.
  • $55/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data, but speeds are capped at 3Mbps.  This plan also includes unlimited Int’l texting to 37 countries and free talk, text and data roaming in Canada and Mexico. You also get 10GB of mobile hotspot high-speed data a month.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data, although you may see slowdowns in speeds after 22GB. This plan also includes unlimited Int’l texting to 37 countries and free data roaming in Canada and Mexico.
  • Auto-pay discount – Cricket Wireless offers a deal where you can get $5 off any plan if you use their auto-pay system. This is applicable for any prepaid plan.

Cricket Wireless Prepaid plans & Phones


H2O Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

H2O Wireless

H2O Wireless pre-paid is another prepaid service using AT&T’s towers. That means pretty much any GSM smartphone should work with the service.

Plan details:

  • $20/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of data for three months, and 500MB of data a month after that time period. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 6GB of data for three months, and 3GB of data a month after that time period. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $35/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 5GB of data for three months, and 4GB of data a month after that time period. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of data for three months, and 7GB of data a month after that time period. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of data. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of data. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.

H20 Wireless Prepaid plans & phones


 

An image of T-Mobile CEO John Legere announcing the new Metro by T-Mobile brand. YouTube

Metro by T-Mobile

T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS a few years ago and recently changed its name to Metro by T-Mobile. Most GSM devices and T-Mobile-compatible devices should work, but you should double check before committing.

Plan details:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of data. You get unlimited 2G speeds after the data cap.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of data. You get unlimited 2G speeds after the data cap.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data. Speeds may slow down if you go over 35GB a month. You also get 5GB of high-speed hotspot data a month, plus access to the Google One cloud storage plan that normal costs $1.99 a month.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data, plus 10GB of LTE mobile hotspot data. Speeds may slow down if you go over 35GB a month. You also get 15GB of high-speed hotspot data a month, plus access to the Google One cloud storage plan that normally costs $1.99 a month, plus a free Amazon Prime subscription that costs $12.99 a month.
  • Add-ons – You’ll get $5 off per line if you have multiple lines on your account.

Metro by T-Mobile Prepaid Plans & phones | Best Metro by T-Mobile phones


Net10 Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

Net10 Wireless

Net10 is a subsidiary of TracFone, and for most users, a considerably better option. It’s an MVNO that piggybacks off of all four major U.S. carriers. It lets you bring your own phone as well, so you can use virtually any device on this network (as long as it has a SIM card slot), which is actually pretty awesome.

Net10 recently revamped its offerings quite a bit, offering two different routes. Starting with the regular route below.

Plan details:

  • $20/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of 4G data. After the data cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $35/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 4GB of 4G data. After the data cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of 4G data. After the cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of 4G data. After the cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 12GB of 4G data. After the cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $65/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of 4G data. After the cap, you get unlimited 2G data. It also comes with features for making international texts and calls.

Net10 also offers data-only plans, which cost $5 for 500MB, or $10 for 1GB.

Net 10 prepaid plans & phones


Page Plus best prepaid plans in the US

Page Plus

Page Plus is an MVNO powered by the Verizon network. To date, it is literally the only way to get unlimited data on Verizon’s network, which is pretty special. You can bring your own Verizon device to the network if you so choose or buy one directly from Page Plus.

Plan details:

  • $12/month – 500 minutes, 500 texts, 100MB of data.
  • $29.95/month – Unlimited, unlimited text, 3GB of LTE data. After high-speed data, you get unlimited 2G.
  • $39.95/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of LTE data. After high-speed data, you get unlimited 2G.
  • $55/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data.
  • $10 – This pay-as-you-go price includes 166 minutes with each additional minute at $0.06. Minutes last for 120 days.
  • $25 – This pay-as-you-go price includes 416 minutes (?) with each additional minute at $0.06. Minutes last for 120 days.
  • $50 – This pay-as-you-go price includes 833 minutes with each additional minute at $0.06. Minutes last for 120 days.
  • $80 – This pay-as-you-go price includes 1,333 minutes with each additional minute at $0.06. Minutes last for a year.

Simply put, if Verizon offered these services at these prices on its own network, it would probably put everyone else out of business. This is a great deal for Verizon customers looking for more flexibility with data (which is virtually every Verizon customer). Its pay-as-you-go options aren’t great, though. We recommend avoiding those unless absolutely necessary.

Page Plus prepaid plans & phones


Project Fi best prepaid plans in the US

Google Fi

Google Fi, previously known as Project Fi, is Google’s attempt at being a mobile carrier. It uses T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular to provide a pretty decent coverage map. The service is compatible with most Android phones, and even Apple’s iPhones, but only a few handsets, including Google’s own Pixel phones, support all of Google Fi’s features. All plans include access to cell coverage in more than 170 countries, Wi-Fi tethering, and more.

Plan details:

  • $20/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, no data. You can add more lines for $15 a month for each line, up to 5 additional lines
  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of data. Additional data is calculated at $1 per 100MB. After you use up 6GB of data before your billing period ends, the rest of your data is free under bill protection. That ceiling goes up to 10GB if you add another line, 12GB if you add 2 lines, 14GB for 3 lines, 16GB for 4 lines, and 18 GB for 5 lines.

 

Red Pocket Mobile best prepaid plans in the US

Red Pocket Mobile

Next on our list is Red Pocket Mobile. This MVNO uses all four top service providers — Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T. You can bring virtually any device to the service as long as it has a SIM card slot and supports those networks. In fact, even if it doesn’t support sim, older legacy CDMA devices will typically work as well.

Monthly plan details:

  • $10/mo – 500 Minutes, 500 Texts, 500MB LTE
  • $15/mo – 1,000 Minutes, 1,000 Texts, 1GB LTE
  • $19/mo – Unlimited Talk  and Text, 1GB LTE
  • $30/mo – Unlimited Talk  and Text, 5GB LTE (3GB on the GSMA network!)
  • $40/mo – Unlimited Everything, 8GB LTE (5GB on the GSMA network!)
  • $60/mo – Unlimited Everything, 12GB LTE (10GB on the GSMA network!)

Red Pocket Mobile has come a long way over the years. It could be a great choice for those looking for a wide array of device compatibility and a variety of plan options. If you want to learn more, check out its plans page.


Republic Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless used to be one of the simplest companies on this list, and while things are a bit more complicated now, its plans are all relatively straightforward. It encourages users to use their home or work Wi-Fi whenever possible to get cheaper plans.

Plan details:

  • $15/month – This is the base price for unlimited talk and text. There is no data included with this plan and you’ll be expected to use your home Wi-Fi.
  • $5 a month for each GB of data – It’s pretty simple; just add how many GB of data you want to add to the basic plan, and it’s just $5 a month for each GB. For example, if you wanted to add 5GB of data, that’s $25 added to the $15 a month plan, for a total of $40 a month. The maximum data limit is 15GB.

It isn’t quite as impressive as it once was, but it’s still a solid choice for those looking for something a bit different.

Republic Wirless prepaid plans & phones


simple mobile best prepaid plans in the US

SIMPLE Mobile

Simple Mobile hasn’t changed a whole lot over the last couple of years. It’s still on T-Mobile’s network and you can still bring your own T-Mobile-capable GSM device if you so choose. Its rates also haven’t changed much. You can get about 10 percent off all plans if you use auto-pay. Additionally, all plans come with unlimited calling to cell phones in 20 countries and landlines in 65 countries.

Plan details:

  • $25/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB of data.
  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of data. You get unlimited 2G data after the data cap. This plan also works in Mexico.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 12GB of data. You get unlimited 2G data after the data cap. This plan also works in Mexico.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data plus 10GB of mobile hotspot data, with video streaming at 480p. This also includes unlimited talk and text to supported International countries. This plan also works in Mexico.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data, plus 10GB of mobile hotspot data, with video streaming at 1080p. This also includes unlimited talk and text to supported International countries.

There are a lot of plans available, including wireless hotspot plans, and the international plans are pretty good. Don’t forget to read the fine print so you can see the restrictions and such.

Simple Mobile prepaid plans & phones


Sprint best prepaid plans in the US

Sprint

This entry may not last for long, as Sprint is due to merge with T-Mobile. Until then, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier has its own prepaid plans.

Plan details:

  • $45/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 4GB of data. You can add an additional 1GB of data to your plan for $15 per month on top of your plan. Once you hit your limit, you’ll be throttled to 2G.
  • $65/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data. You also get 10GB of high-speed hotspot data.
  • Add-ons – All plan prices assume you’re going to be using auto-pay. If not, add $5 to each one.

Sprint prepaid plans & phones


Straight Talk best prepaid plans in the US

Straight Talk Wireless

Straight Talk made headlines a few years ago with its bold, no-contract plans and “bring your own phone” philosophy. Most carriers now mirror this ideology, but you can still bring pretty much any GSM smartphone with you to the service.

Plan details:

  • $35/month – unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of data. All plans, including this one, include unlimited calls to 411 as well.
  • $45/month – unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of data.
  • $55/month – unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data.
  • $60/month – unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 10GB of data. Once your data allotment is up, you’ll have unlimited data at 2G speeds. This plan includes unlimited International calling to Mexico, India, Canada, and “select International landline destinations.”

While StraightTalk isn’t perfect, recent changes have greatly increased the amount of data available, making it a solid option. We also love no overages.

Straight Talk prepaid plans & phones


Ting Prepaid

Ting Mobile

Ting is perhaps one of the most interesting carriers on the list. It’s a dual GSM/CDMA carrier that uses Sprint’s network and an undisclosed (literally) GSM network. You should be able to bring most GSM phones to this service, along with Sprint phones, which is great news.

Plan details:

  • For plans, Ting uses a “only pay for what you use” philosophy which makes listing out plan rates literally impossible. You can find their rates here.
  • We also recommend you use their savings calculator. It allows you to get a good idea of what you’d pay based on your usage.
  • $6/month – no talk, no text, no data. This is the lowest possible plan that is literally just a device connected to their service.
  • $522/month – 9,000 minutes, 18,000 texts, 30GB of data. This is the max price for a plan as listed by the Ting website.

It’s a fun idea, especially if you like to micromanage your usage. If you stick to Wi-Fi as often as possible and mitigate text and calling to services like Hangouts, Skype, and so one, you can get decent phone service for a very low cost. If you’re not interested in managing your own services all the time, you should probably look elsewhere.

Ting prepaid plans & phones


US Cellular best prepaid plans in the US

US Cellular

US Cellular is a lesser-known carrier operating its own wireless network independent of the major four carriers in the US. It’s a CDMA carrier with LTE coverage. You can bring your own device, but the compatibility list is not very large.

See: Best US Cellular phones

Plan details:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text but no data
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB of data. You get unlimited 2G speeds once you hit the data cap.
  • $55/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited data. Speeds are capped at 3Mbps, and you may experience slowdowns if you go over 15GB.
  • $5/month – You can add unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada for an extra $5/month.

US Cellular keeps its prepaid plans simple, which we like. The only issue is this service isn’t available everywhere, so you’ll have to check if you can get it before signing up.

US Cellular Prepaid plans & phones


Verizon Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

Verizon Wireless

Next on our list is Verizon Wireless. It’s been slower to adapt than its smaller counterparts over the last few years, but don’t let that chase you away. It still has a rock-solid network and good LTE speeds. Not too long ago, Verizon simplified its prepaid and no-contract plans a bit. You can bring your own device as long as it supports Verizon’s network.

Plan Details:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 500MB of data. This plan is recommended for people with basic smartphones. Unused data will rollover to the next month.
  • $35/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB LTE of data.
  • $45/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 15GB of LTE data. This is a limited time offer for this plan.
  • $65/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data.
  • Discounts for extra lines – Verizon also offers discounts two to five prepaid lines on one account. It also lets customers with multiple lines choose which plan they want to use. One line may have the cheap $30 500MB plan, while the second may get the unlimited plan, and that line will still get a $20 discount.

In classic Verizon fashion, you get rock solid service, but you don’t get to use a lot of services. These plans are great for those who need calls and texting but not so great for those who consume a lot of data. Thankfully, things are at least a little better than they used to be, which is something to take into consideration.

Verizon plans & phones


Unreal Mobile

Unreal Mobile is a recent entry in the prepaid smartphone plan market. It offers ultra-cheap plans, plus extra features like free VPN services and a free ad blocker. You can bring your own phone or purchase one directly from Unreal Mobile

  • $10/month – Unlimited text and talk, 1GB of LTE data, with rollover if you don’t use all of your allotted data.
  • $15/month – Unlimited text and talk, 2GB of LTE data, with rollover if you don’t use all of your allotted data.
  • $30/month – Unlimited text and talk, 5GB of LTE data, with rollover if you don’t use all of your allotted data.

Unreal Mobile also promised to give bonus data if you stay with the carrier for a certain period of time. Considering this carrier offers unlimited talk, text, and some data at prices limited to just talk and text at other wireless providers, Unreal Mobile might be worth checking out.

Unreal Mobile plans and phones


Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile Mint Mobile

This  T-Mobile MVNO sells some of its plans in multi-month packages, rather than just per month. That means you won’t have to look at your bank account every month for the phone bill. All of the plans include unlimited talk and text in the U.S.

Three-month plans

  • $45 for 2GB of 4G LTE data a month ($15 per month)
  • $60 for 5GB of 4G LTE data a month ($20 per month)
  • $75 for 10GB of 4G LTE data a month ($25 per month)

Six-month plans

  • $108 for 2GB of 4G LTE data a month ($18 per month)
  • $144 for 5GB of 4G LTE data a month ($24 per month)
  • $180 for 10GB of 4G LTE data a month ($30 per month)

12-month plans

  • $180 for 2GB of 4G LTE data a month ($15 per month)
  • $240 for 5GB of 4G LTE data a month ($20 per month)
  • $300 for 10GB of 4G LTE data a month ($25 per month)

Check out Mint Mobile


Visible

Visible is using Verizon’s 4G network to launch its service. It started just for iPhone users but recently expanded to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. More Android phones will be added to Visible in the future.

Customers sign up for service online via the Visible Android app (still in beta) and order a SIM card. Once it arrives in the mail, they pop it into their existing phone and activate it. You can also purchase the Galaxy S9 via Visible if you want, and it ships with both the phone and the SIM card already installed.

There are a few catches. The upper limit for data speeds is 5Mbps while streaming video speeds are limited to 3Mbps and 480p resolution, streaming audio is limited to 500Mbps, social networking scrolling is limited to 1Mbps, and video chatting with friends is limited to 2Mbps.

Check out Visible


Prepaid plans – Wrap up

We would love to hear about your experiences with these carriers and, of course, recommend any great prepaid and no contract plans that we might have missed! If you’re looking for epic smartphones to use on your new service of choice, check out our reviews section, our list of the best cheap Android smartphones, and our list of the best Android smartphones!

Have a specific prepaid carrier in mind? Check these lists out as well:

Next: Compare all cell phone plans

T-Mobile could launch its long-awaited free TV streaming service in weeks

For well over a year now, we’ve been awaiting the launch of the long-gestating T-Mobile TV streaming service. Now, according to a rumor originating from Cheddar, that day could be only weeks away.

According to Cheddar, the T-Mobile TV service — the name of which is not yet known — will be free, ad-supported, and show both live and pre-recorded content. T-Mobile customers will be able to watch the service on their smartphones, tablets, or other internet-connected devices.

To be clear, this likely is not the separate, “disruptive TV service” T-Mobile CEO John Legere talked about last year. This service will be more akin to AT&T’s Watch TV service or the now-defunct Go90 app from Verizon, whereas we assume the “disruptive” service will be more along the lines of something like YouTube TV, which aims to replace cable TV packages.

Editor’s Pick

However, it could be that this service and the “disruptive” service are one-and-the-same.

Either way, the T-Mobile TV streaming product will be based on technology from Layer3, which T-Mobile acquired in 2018. Layer3 offers consumers a way to watch over-the-air channels through an internet stream, rather than needing a traditional antenna. Layer3 is only available in certain U.S. markets for now.

It’s quite possible the delays in the rollout of this T-Mobile service is due to the company needing more time to license content. However, we won’t really know much about what’s happened until T-Mobile makes the announcement.

What do you think? Are you a T-Mobile customer who will enjoy this free service, or would you think about switching to T-Mobile when this service becomes available? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: T-Mobile now has a 600MHz hotspot, going for $3 per month

Here are the best T-Mobile deals and offers right now (January 2019)

T-Mobile is now the third-biggest U.S. wireless carrier and could soon be the second if the Sprint merger works out. Its growth is due in part to the many aggressive T-Mobile deals and offers always available for new and current customers, with discounts on phones and other accessories.

Read Next: Best unlimited data plans in the US

Here are the currently available T-Mobile deals, so you can be aware of them when you make your next smartphone purchase from the carrier. Since T-Mobile lets some deals expire and adds new ones, we will update this post as those deals are revealed.

T-Mobile deals – Buy a Galaxy Watch or Gear S3 Watch and get a second one “free”

T-Mobile is currently running a promotion where if you get a Samsung Galaxy Watch or the older Gear S3 Watch, you can get a second one for free. You have to get both smartwatches up front along with a paid Data plan with Paired Digits line. Existing T-Mobile customers will need to get at least one new line. The “free” part comes with bill credits that will total $400 over 24 months. There’s an upper limit of six “free” watches with the purchase of six regular watches, for a total of 12 watches.

If you cancel your T-Mobile account before the free period ends, you are responsible for paying the rest of the smartwatch’s price.

 


T-Mobile deals – Get up to four free Samsung Galaxy S9 phones with trade in and unlimited plan

The best current T-Mobile deal gets you a free Samsung Galaxy S9 when you trade in a qualified older phone and sign up for one of T-Mobile’s unlimited plans. This deal will be available for up to four phones and lines on T-Mobile unlimited accounts. The phones will become free with bill credits spaced out over 36 months. 

As usual with these kinds of deals, if you cancel your T-Mobile account before the 26 month period ends, you are responsible for paying for the rest of the phone’s price out of your own pocket.


T-Mobile deals – Get a free Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 tablet

 

Another of the best T-Mobile deals gets you a free Samsung Galaxy A 8.0 tablet. You will have to add a new line to get this deal. The “free” comes when you get 24 monthly bill credits that will total $264. Again, if you cancel your T-Mobile account before the free period ends, you are responsible for paying the rest of the tablet’s price.
 
 
 
Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

T-Mobile offering BOGO Samsung Galaxy Watch deal (with lots of requirements)

It’s only the first few days into 2019, and T-Mobile is already offering a pretty decent deal. Right now, there’s a buy-one-get-one-free promotion at T-Mobile for the Samsung Galaxy Watch in both the 42mm and 46mm case sizes.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is the latest-and-greatest wearable from Samsung, released alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The smartwatch does away with the “Gear” branding and offers a good combination of features. Here at Android Authority, we voted it the best smartwatch of 2018.

Editor’s Pick

As has become the norm with T-Mobile promotions, there are a lot of caveats to this Samsung Galaxy Watch deal (which doesn’t seem very “uncarrier,” but whatever). To help you navigate the offer, we’ll do our best to summarize how it works below.

  • This deal is open to both new and existing customers, even those of you who already have a smartwatch linked to your T-Mobile account.
  • You will need to buy a Samsung Galaxy Watch (in either case size) under an installment plan. You’ll pay $0 down and then pay $15.63 per month for 24 months (for the 42mm size) or $16.67 per month for 24 months (for the 46mm size).
  • That watch will need to be connected to a new Data with Paired DIGITS plan, which costs $10 per month.
  • With one Samsung Galaxy Watch on your account connected to a DIGITS plan, you can then get a second Samsung Galaxy Watch under one of the previously-mentioned installment plans. You will also need to connect it to a DIGITS plan.
  • The cheaper of the two watches will be paid off by T-Mobile via monthly bill credits, which will begin after two billing cycles.
  • If you leave T-Mobile prior to paying off the watches, the total remaining price for both watches will be due.
  • Additionally, you must maintain the DIGITS plans to get the bill credits.
  • You may get up to six discounted watches with the purchase of six non-discounted watches, for a total of 12 watches.
  • This deal is for well-qualified customers (i.e., those with good credit).

Basically, you’re paying for one watch over 24 months and then T-Mobile is paying for the second watch over 24 months. The only real downside is the DIGITS plans, which may or may not be useful to you (it allows you to use your phone number on your smartwatch).

If you’re interested in this deal, click the button below.

5G has arrived – here’s what you can expect from AT&T

AT&T

AT&T’s plans for 5G are somewhat confusing at first glance, as the company talks about at least four current and upcoming 5G-related services. At the forefront are 5G Evolution and Mobile 5G, mobile services offering different connection speeds. AT&T also promotes LTE-LAA connectivity for 1Gbps downloads along with an upcoming in-home fixed wireless service.

Of the big three, AT&T’s puzzle pieces were harder to put together. In comparison, T-Mobile is more black-and-white, taking a simpler approach to its public 5G rollout plans. Simply put, T-Mobile is focusing on a long-range nationwide 5G service first followed by an in-home fixed wireless service at a later date. Its short-range service using millimeter waves will open shop in specific markets at the end of 2018 and into 2019 as devices hit the market. Full nationwide coverage isn’t expected to become available until 2020.

Meanwhile, Verizon is rolling out a 5G-based fixed in-home service first based on a proprietary 5G TF network standard. Customers now signing on are coined as “First on 5G” members and will see free equipment upgrades when models based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G NR standard arrive. Verizon also plans to launch a mobile 5G service six months after the full launch of its fixed in-home solution.

Related:

For AT&T, we broke down the AT&T 5G rollout into four confusion-free sections. Take a look:

AT&T Shutterstock

AT&T 5G Evolution

This isn’t AT&T’s real 5G network, instead serving as the foundation for the true AT&T 5G service that will arrive later. This platform only provides theoretical peak wireless speeds of up to 400Mbps for compatible devices. Think of it as an “evolving” 4.5G platform (or ramp) that will eventually give way to a full-blow AT&T 5G service.

According to AT&T, this 5G Evolution platform consists of upgraded cell towers and new small cell networks powered by LTE Advanced technology, such as three-way carrier aggregation, 4 x 4 MIMO antenna setups and 256-QAM modulation. The company is also using software-defined networking, artificial intelligence and more to increase data transmissions over the current 4G LTE speeds.

Rollout schedule

5G Evolution launched on April 25, 2017 in select areas of Austin, Texas. AT&T expanded this platform to more than 400 markets in 2018 and expects to provide nationwide coverage for more than 200 million customers in the first half of 2019.

Here’s a map of the 2018-2019 planned coverage.

Plans and prices

Because 5G Evolution is a back-end upgrade to AT&T’s 4G LTE service supported by newer phones, AT&T doesn’t provide new plans or pricing.

Mobile 5G

This is the true AT&T 5G service for mobile devices, based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio standard.

AT&T says it’s currently establishing small cell networks in mid-size and big cities to transmit AT&T 5G coverage “in pockets of dense areas.” Because millimeter waves can’t easily penetrate buildings and other obstacles, and are absorbed by plants and rain, AT&T is strategically placing these small cells throughout the cities to provide the best reception. These small cells can mount on streetlights, utility poles, and more.

Connecting the company’s wireless towers and small cells are “millions of miles” of fiber optic cables already feeding gigabit internet to more than nine million locations. AT&T is still expanding this wired network, shooting to reach 14 million locations by the middle of 2019.

For urban, suburban, and rural areas, AT&T says it will rely on its claimed mid- and low-band spectrum although the company doesn’t provide any specifics.

Spectrum

For now, the mobile AT&T 5G network primarily uses millimeter waves on the 39GHz band, but it will also shift small portions of its low-band spectrum to support its true 5G service. AT&T says more spectrum will be allocated from its 4G service to 5G as devices emerge and customer demand for 5G connectivity increases.

AT&T controls a combined 145 MHz of the sub-3GHz spectrum in North America. It also has access to a nationwide 20MHz block of the 700MHz spectrum held by FirstNet. Whatever is not currently in use by the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network can be utilized by AT&T when needed. Here are the claimed spectrums:

Low-band

  • 700MHz (BC and DE)
  • 850MHz (Cellular)

Mid-band

  • Personal Communications Service (PCS) in the 1,900 MHz range.
  • Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) in the 1,700 MHz (uplink) and 2,100 MHz (downlink) ranges.

High-band

  • Wireless Communication Services (WCS) in the 2,300 MHz range.

Rollout plans

AT&T’s Mobile 5G service is currently available in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco.

By early 2019, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose will support AT&T’s true 5G connectivity as well.

Plans and prices

For now, AT&T is not providing this information.

Other things we know

AT&T said in April its test in Waco, Texas provided a transmission speed of 1.2Gbps when standing more than 492 feet away from the source cell site using millimeter waves and the 400MHz channel. Latency rates were between nine and 12 milliseconds. The test, conducted at a retail location, supported “hundreds of simultaneous connected users.” Another test in Michigan saw speeds of more than 1Gbps across 900 feet.

AT&T CEO Andre Fuetch said in a recent conference call that every radio in the sub-6GHz range deployed since early 2018 will support 5G connectivity through a firmware upgrade.

Here is AT&T’s current list of compatible phones for both 5G Evolution and Mobile 5G:

Android

  • LG V35 ThinQ
  • LG V40 ThinQ
  • Motorola Z2 Force Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 Series
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 Series
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9

iOS

  • iPhone 8 Series
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR

LTE-LAA

Part of AT&T’s Mobile 5G plans include LTE Licensed Assisted Access. According to Qualcomm, this technology is part of LTE Advanced Pro, which enables Gigabit LTE, voice services, private networking, and more. LTE-LAA combines a licensed LTE band with the unlicensed 5GHz spectrum used by networking routers. Combined, download peak theoretical wireless speeds reach up to 1Gbps, but AT&T’s use of the unlicensed spectrum shouldn’t interrupt or degrade in-home wireless networking.

“Fair Wi-Fi coexistence is a key principle in LAA,” Says Qualcomm’s website.

“This is accomplished by dynamically selecting clear channels in 5 GHz to avoid Wi-Fi users. If there is no clear channel available, LAA will share a channel fairly with others. This is accomplished by a feature called Listen Before Talk (LBT). LBT will be used by all technologies in unlicensed spectrum to ensure fair coexistence globally.”

Rollout plans

As of October, LTE-LAA is in use in parts of 20 cities. At least 24 cities will provide this connectivity by the end of 2018. Cities currently on the list include Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Little Rock, Los Angeles, McAllen, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Tampa Tuscaloosa, and several others.

Other things we know

The first commercial LTE-LAA service made its debut in select downtown areas of Indianapolis in November 2017.

Todd Kravos

Fixed Wireless

AT&T plans to launch a fixed 5G wireless broadband service for home use and the enterprise in U.S. cities in late 2019. It will be based on Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) networking technology accessing 150MHz of the 3.5GHz band. Samsung will provide the CBRS-based radios and base station equipment while. CommScope will supply the Spectrum Access System. Testing won’t begin until early 2019.

“CBRS is an innovative spectrum band which allows both licensed and shared access that helps enable efficient use of finite spectrum resources,” AT&T said in a press release. “As part of the rollout, we will start by using LTE in CBRS Spectrum and then migrate to 5G.”

In contrast, Verizon’s 5G plans are the exact opposite, as it’s now rolling out a fixed 5G wireless service first followed by mobile 5G connectivity in 2019.

FCC disappointed with US carriers’ response to Hurricane Michael

  • FCC chairman Ajit Pai is not thrilled with the U.S. carriers’ slow restoration of their service in areas affected by Hurricane Michael.
  • Florida governor Rick Scott specifically called out Verizon for misleading customers with its network restoration progress.
  • All four major U.S. carriers offer bill credits, free service, or waived overage fees to customers in affected areas.

Even though Hurricane Michael is now a memory, its effects are still being met as the death toll continues to climb and power continues to be nonexistent in many neighborhoods. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint experienced network outages of their own and continue to increase efforts to restore their networks. However, those efforts might not be enough to satisfy the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In a recent statement, FCC chairman Ajit Pai slammed U.S. carriers for their slow efforts to restore service in areas affected by Hurricane Michael. Pai called the lack of full cellular service “completely unacceptable” and said the FCC will open an investigation into each of the carrier’s post-hurricane restoration efforts.

Pai also called on U.S. carriers to waive the bills of Florida residents in affected areas for October. Pai did not name any carriers in his statement, but we can guess that at least the four major carriers are the target of his wrath.

In a statement of his own, Florida governor Rick Scott specifically criticized Verizon and said the carrier misled the public with the statistic that 98 percent of Florida has service. Pai and Scott called for carriers to not penalize Florida residents who want to switch carriers in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

The carriers respond

In an email, Verizon said it will offer three months of free service to “every Verizon customer in Bay and Gulf counties.” On its network update page, Verizon also mentioned that it brought two new cell sites in service overnight and will deploy a new mobile cell site today. The carrier also set up two new charging stations for local shelters, but did not say when it expects to fully restore service.

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AT&T, meanwhile, said it offers bill credits to customers in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Liberty, Taylor, and Wakulla counties. AT&T will continue to offer credits through October 21 and said service is “nearly fully restored in most affected areas.” AT&T also did not say when it expects to completely restore service.

On its Hurricane Michael update page, T-Mobile said service in North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia are “almost fully recovered.” However, sites on the Florida Panhandle “will likely experience a longer recovery timeline.” T-Mobile did not provide that timeline on the website, though it offers certain Florida and George residents free calling, texting, and data if they are not already on an unlimited plan and are active postpaid or prepaid customers.

Finally, Sprint said it will waive call, text, and data overage fees between October 10 and October 18. The carrier also announced it provides 25 handsets and/or hotspots to any state or local government agency impacted by Hurricane Michael. Sprint did not say what progress on service restoration currently looks like, however.