Using T-Mobile for an extra “data only” device carrier

Posted on Mar 26 2013 - 3:06pm by Mike Wewerka

t mobile store logo sign company 580x380 Using T Mobile for an extra data only device carrier

Because of the nature of running a tech news website, I tend to carry multiple phones, sometimes up to three, and until recently I only had one of them with cellular service, while the other two remained strictly as “WiFi-only.” But when I decide to carry the Nexus 4, I knew I wanted it have a permanent connection and not just WiFi or having it tethered to my Verizon phone, there is a data cap after all. I use a lot of data and so I figured if I could find something cheap that was unlimited it may help offset my Verizon account, as I get dangerously close to that 2GB data cap. So I challenged myself, find an alternative account that was budget friendly (no more than $45 a month), but offered the data that I needed.

I began my search thinking I’d try the pre-paid route, as I figured if I wanted to stop at any time, I could. My first stop was StraightTalk—which is offered only through Walmart and uses the network of carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile—which has some decent plans, the cheapest of which was $30, but it only offered 30MB data, which would clearly not work. This was followed up by their $45 dollar plan which offered unlimited everything. If this were my only phone, I may have been more interested in this plan, as in my area it uses T-Mobile’s network, which is both fast and reliable. It was also at the edge of my budget, it could have worked, but I decided to keep looking. Next up was AT&T and let me just say, their GoPhone Plans prices are a joke. Their cheapest plan was $25 a month and offered no data allowance, it only features a 1¢ per 5 KB fee. Their next closest plan jumps to $50 a month, but it does offer unlimited everything. So far, I figured I could just go with StraightTalk for the same thing services and save myself $5 a month. Lastly, I checked out T-Mobile’s plans and after some digging, I finally found the perfect plan.

For only $30 a month, I get 100 minutes and unlimited text messages and unlimited 4G HSPA+ data (though they will throttle it after 5GB). Seeing as how I didn’t intend for this plan to be used for phone calls, I didn’t need unlimited calling, I wanted unlimited data. In the end, I figured 100 minutes was fine, it may come in handy in the case of an emergency. I decided that this $30 plan, which gave me unlimited data and texts, was the one for me. With T-Mobile’s network being so phone-friendly, anytime I pick up a GSM/HSPA+ phone, I can just toss in my SIM card and I’m off an running. I can also have T-Mobile automatically bill me for the monthly fee so I never have to worry about picking up pre-paid cards to refill my account. If for any reason my budget changes and I can’t afford to make these monthly payment, I can simply cancel the service and I’m done.

I understand that not everyone can afford two service plans, however, if you are looking for a cheap, alternative plan so that you can carry a second device and don’t want to add a line to Verizon, AT&T or Sprint who will require a new 2-year service agreement, check out T-Mobile’s $30 100 min /unlimited data plan. It’s buried on their website, so click the source link to find it or you can simply request a SIM activation kit, when it comes in the mail, follow the included instructions and when you need to pick your plan online, scroll all the way down and you’ll find it. This is one hitch—it’s only good for new activations.

If you have the budget and a GSM phone, give it a shot, you may find carrying a second device is easier, and cheaper, than you thought. Now when people ask me, what phone do you use, an iPhone or Android? I simply smile and say “both.”

Source: T-Mobile (Scroll down, it’s under the Pay by the day plan)