When you're hunting for a new mobile broadband provider, you want three things: connectivity, affordability and speed. While T-Mobile's nationwide coverage continues to grow, it still doesn't measure up to the country's bigger, more established carriers. Fortunately, it makes up for that pitfall by offering stunning download speeds and profoundly affordable pricing plans. If you're a constant traveler hitting all corners of the country, T-Mobile might not have enough coverage to suit you. But if your itinerary keeps you beneath the company's umbrella, picking this carrier means getting the fastest downloads for the lowest price. That bang for the buck ranks T-Mobile among the best mobile broadband options around and earns it our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award.
T-Mobile is well known for being affordably priced, and its mobile broadband plans are no different. They start at $30 a month for 2.5GB of data and increase by $10 for each additional 2GB you need. When measured against the competition, you effectively get an extra 500MB of data for $10 less at each tier.
The prowess T-Mobile shows in its pricing model doesn't quite carry over to its coverage. The carrier is in the process of expanding its 4G LTE network, but in the meantime, many moderately sized cities and towns have to go without fast 4G service. If you live in a major metropolitan area or one of the 268 LTE markets T-Mobile serves, though, you'll be able to take advantage of mobile internet speeds that average a whopping 18Gbps – easily the fastest around.
Ever since T-Mobile went contract-free, it's dropped almost all of its fees. There's no charge to activate a device, so you won't find an abnormally large bill in your mailbox after the first month. Likewise, since there's no contract to sign, there's no early-termination fee to taunt you if you decide to leave T-Mobile. Should you set up a payment plan to mitigate the cost of a new hotspot over 24 months, you'll owe whatever's left on that balance if you decide to switch to a different provider, but that's as good a deal as you'll find. Even the company's restocking fees are lower than anyone else's.
One marked difference between T-Mobile and most of its competition is the manner in which it handles data overages. Most other providers charge per-gigabyte fees if you go over your preset allocation. T-Mobile, however, simply throttles your speeds down to 3G or 2G speeds. That's extremely slow, but it's still usable if you have to check your email for an important message, and you can always raise your allocation.
T-Mobile's device offerings tend to vary from week to week. You might find a brand-new hotspot available for purchase one week, only to have it replaced the next by a refurbished version. Thankfully, you can always count on the availability of top-tier models, the best of which support up to eight simultaneous Wi-Fi connections.
For many years, T-Mobile's customer service was notorious for its poor quality. Recently, however, the company has turned itself around to impressive effect: More and more customers, our own staff included, have consistently great things to say about their experiences with the support team. Helpful and attentive, they are likely to sort out any issue you have without hassle. And since you can contact that team through modern means like live chat and social media, getting help tends to be a piece of cake.
T-Mobile isn't quite the best wireless internet provider out there, but it's a close second. The company's coverage lacks the ubiquity of larger carriers, but with bleeding-edge speeds, rock-bottom prices and friendly service, it's easy to forgive that failing. Should you find T-Mobile's coverage suits your needs – or if you're already a subscriber to the carrier's phone service – it will easily fit into your budget and won't disappoint the next time you're streaming an HD movie.
If you're looking for affordable and fast downloads, look no further than T-Mobile. Its data speeds are the highest in the nation, and its plans the cheapest around.
Those speeds are available in far fewer markets than the competition, as many cities still don't have 4G LTE coverage.
T-Mobile's prices and data speeds can't be beat, so if you only travel to areas they cover, you'll save yourself a ton of money and enjoy the fastest downloads around.