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T-Mobile relaunches prepaid service with Amazon and Google perks

Metro also provides unlimited data, albeit with a few catches.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 24, 2018
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T-Mobile hasn't showered much of its attention on its prepaid MetroPCS brand, but it's rectifying that omission today. It's relaunching the budget carrier as Metro, and introducing unlimited plans that not only edge closer to T-Mobile's regular service, but break some new ground. Both the $50 and $60 plans ($140 and $150 respectively for four lines) are the first to include a Google One subscription -- you and your family won't have to pay extra for gobs of cloud storage. Spring for the $60 plan and you also get an Amazon Prime membership with all the media and shipping perks that entails.

You can still opt for limited-data plans at $30 (2GB of LTE data) and $40 (10GB). T-Mobile also stresses that you'll have a wider selection of devices regardless of plan, including the "absolute latest" handsets.

These are still prepaid plans, and there are still catches. The $50 and $60 unlimited plans offer 5GB and 15GB of full-speed hotspot data. You'll still risk data slowdowns if you use more than 35GB in a month. And importantly, cellular video streaming is limited to 480p no matter how much you spend -- if you want higher-resolution Netflix or YouTube, you'll have to subscribe to T-Mobile proper.

Metro isn't quite as "no compromise" as T-Mobile says, then. However, this might give rivals a reason to be nervous. Unlimited prepaid service isn't new, but it tends to have fewer features and more restrictions. AT&T's equivalent self-branded plans don't offer any hotspot functionality unless you pay $75 per month; Cricket also caps speeds at 8Mbps for most plans. Verizon does have hotspot support across the board, but you won't get unlimited data unless you pay $75 per month. Boost Mobile may be the most competitive with a $50 plan that offers more hotspot data than Metro, but it doesn't provide any cloud service perks. T-Mobile is betting that its service hits a sweet spot for cost-conscious users, and it might be on the right track.

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