T-Mobile Offers Discounted Cellular Plans to Those Aged 55 and Up
The ever-aggressive T-Mobile is at it again, this time targeting potential customers aged 55 and over with T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+. (For more on T-Mobile ONE, see “T-Mobile and Sprint Announce Unlimited Data (for Higher Prices),” 19 August 2016 and “T-Mobile Tweaks T-Mobile ONE,” 31 August 2016.)
T-Mobile customers who are 55 or older can now get one line of T-Mobile ONE for $50 per month, taxes and fees included, and add a second line for $10 per month — that’s with $5-per-line Autopay discount. T-Mobile ONE includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data, though data throughput may be throttled if you exceed 26 GB of usage in one month.
The deal is limited to two lines but still applies if you have only one line (as confirmed by T-Mobile on Twitter). Also, only the primary account holder has to be aged 55 or older.
The usual price for T-Mobile ONE is $70 for one line and $100 for two lines, so this is a significant discount: 28.6 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
In its press release, T-Mobile explains the business logic:
With today’s announcement, T-Mobile is taking the fight to one of the carriers’ last strongholds. Among Americans age 55+, Verizon and AT&T collectively control nearly 81 percent of the postpaid wireless market. In contrast, just 8 percent of this group are with T-Mobile, compared to the Un-carrier’s 18 percent of all U.S. wireless customers.
T-Mobile also offers some interesting data about Baby Boomers and smartphones:
Right now, there are more than 93 million Americans in the U.S. over age 55, and the vast majority (74 percent) of them have a smartphone. And that number keeps growing. In addition, Boomers spend an average of 149 minutes a day on their smartphones — about as much as smartphone-obsessed Millennials at 171 minutes per day. In fact, the majority of those 55+ say a smartphone is the #1 way they connect with family and friends.
If you’re old enough and live in an area where T-Mobile’s coverage is sufficient, this is a tough deal to beat. New customers can sign up by visiting a T-Mobile store — be sure to bring ID. Existing customers can visit a store, call 1-800-TMOBILE, or log in at t-mobile.com.
This deal is limited to ONLY two lines. So think of it as 2 lines for $60.
This is probably the best deal for people who use iPhones and spend almost all of their time in an urban area well served by T-Mobile. (In the Pacific Northwest, I've found that T-Mobile has very poor coverage outside the city and off the freeway.) My wife and I use Pixel phones with the Google Fi service and pay an average of $53 a month for two lines, while getting excellent coverage in rural areas and no special charges while traveling abroad.
The issue of T-Mobile's weak network coverage is old and out dated. I've noticed a great improvement in T-Mobile's coverage over the last three years.
Three years ago, a drive in the country could mean being unable to use your cell phone's GPS for the drive back since you couldn't get a signal. My favorite trick was driving around at random looking for a Starbucks and then setting up directions from there.
I do a lot of hiking and camping and even deep backwoods, I rarely find myself in an area where I can't get a T-Mobile data network signal. It sometimes surprises me when I am in the middle of nowhere and I get a Facebook update.
Glad to hear it's improving. Every time I check T-Mobile's coverage map around Ithaca, I see that the coverage is still too weak to consider them. At my house, just 5 miles from Ithaca, their map says I'd be lucky to get cell reception indoors. And when you get another 10 miles out of town in most any direction, they start talking about partners and roaming. I suppose that might mean that coverage is actually better outside the areas that T-Mobile serves natively.
I can second David's comment.
T-Mobile coverage in and around the Bay Area is great as you'd expect, but we also had quite good coverage in places as remote as Death Valley.
The only place we recently encountered a more widespread loss of coverage was in Kings Canyon & Sequoia NP. But others traveling with us that are on ATT and Verizon didn't have any coverage there either. It's just too remote.
Nowadays, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend T-Mobile one bit.
Simon, I'm with you. I live in S. Florida and T-Mobile's coverage is better than AT&T and on a par with Verizon.
I've found their voice network to be excellent of late. The data network is quickly improving. But I do often find myself in a location where I can talk, send and receive texts via sms, but get no data at all. This may work for many. But this is us that rarely make a phone call and use a lot of data might not be happy.
149 minutes per day? I don't spend 149 minutes per quarter on the phone. Am I that much of an outlier?
I think they mean using the smartphone in general, not talking on the phone.
First, I wanted to say "Thanks" to TidBITS for this article. I would never have known about this deal otherwise.
I've been with T-Mobile for about 10 months now. My wife and I switched because our coverage with AT&T in Boca Raton, FL was simply awful. Switching to T-Mobile gave us the ability to actually use our phones from our home without microcells, etc.
We also travel a great deal (we're retired) and I have yet to find a dead spot. As far as I'm concerned, I'm very satisfied with their service. In addition, I can tether the phone with no surcharge and use data in most of Europe at no additional charge. I can also use my phone in Canada and Mexico with no surcharges.
This new deal drops our monthly charge for 2 lines from $100 to $60, a significant savings when you're on a fixed income. I just called them and switched to the new plan.
Again, I only knew about this because I'm a TidBITS subscriber. Thanks!
Can you tether with this plan?
A reader informed us that tethering is an additional $10 fee
I had T_Mobile several years ago. When I needed to upgrade my phone I went to their store & talked to a rep who assured me it would give me the basic functionality I needed, However when I tried to interface it to my Mac it failed. When I took it back they tried to charge me a restocking fee. I called the company who failed to provide assistance. So I disputed it with my credit card company and got all of my money back. At that point I switched carriers and never looked back. I am now with Consumer Cellular, using AT&T lines, getting decent customer service, and generally paying less that $25./mo for one Android smart phone that does everything I need. In fairness I should state my connection requirements are minimal.
As far as T-Mobile goes, they are dead to me. With their terrible customer support you could not pay me to switch back to them.
How many years ago was this? Things have changed considerably since Legere became CEO.
T-Mobile service is awful in my area, and I don't live in the sticks. Luckily, Verizon has a prepaid plan that is only $45/month, plus taxes, which for me are only $3.55. That is for unlimited talk/text and 3GB of data. I'm glad they have it because AT&T coverage is weak here also.
I'm in the same boat. The only carrier that works here is Verizon, and even they don't have coverage at my house. (Thank goodness for Wi-Fi calling!)
T-Mobile may have noticed that many older customers have switched to Consumer Cellular, which is heavily promoted in AARP publications and favorably reviewed by Consumer Reports.
They use the ATT network at much lower prices than ATT charges. I'd compare their plans with T-Mobile's before deciding.
Based on these comments, I tried Consumer Cellular but ran into 2 fatal issues--
1) My iPad Pro (late 2016 model) would not join their network at all. It was on ATT and works fine now on TMobile.
2) I could use the hotspot feature on my phone but I could not connect to a VPN via my Mac, neither via IPSec nor L2TP over IPSec. This feature works fine on ATT & TMobile (tested via the iPad hotspot).
Paul, many thanks for the heads-up about Consumer Cellular! I just spent less than 10 minutes on the Consumer Cellular website switching from ATT. Our new monthly cell bill will be 50% of our current ATT bill, which was discounted through my wife's employer. When she retires in a couple of years and we lose her discount the savings will be even better.
BTW, Consumer Cellular has a sale that ends today 8/15 with a $20 invoice credit for each new line.
I had Consumer Cellular for a couple of years, and I was very happy with their customer service, and the low bill of course. But as I stated above, AT&T has such poor coverage in my area I finally had had enough and switched, even though my bill almost doubled.
I switched from AT&T to this deal a couple of days ago. There was a $25 (plus tax) "initiation" fee which I paid in the store. I saw no mention of it anywhere else, and I'm wondering if others changing carriers were charged this fee. I also left with the impression that tethering does not involve an extra charge - others in the thread say it does. I'm looking for something in writing either way.
Just chatted with a T-Mobile rep online - she said:
"The plan you are on does include unlimited 3G smartphone mobile hotspot."
So I guess it will be 3G not 4G ....?
A few of you mentioned improved coverage in rural and remote areas, like Death Valley and I assume 120 outside of Yosemite Valley. Would welcome more specifics on areas in the parks/BLM land and backroads like Rt. 89 from 50 through Markleeville to 395 and Rt. 4. Glad to hear BART service allows you to surf the web and listen to music. I have Verizon which I keep because up till now at least it has had the best most reliable coverage. I would say it is good on BART except during rush hour, when there are times I have full signal but web pages will not load because of the lack of capacity.
I signed up for this deal on Black Friday, to take advantage of their "buy one iPhone, get a free iPhone" plan as well.
Yes, it costs an extra $10 to get faster tethering, and a few other better benefits as outlined here