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Mobile

MetroPCS crafts unlimited phone plan for $30 a month

The T-Mobile-owned prepaid brand is touting its new plan over those offered by Boost and Cricket, though there are a couple of catches.

One catch is that only the first gigabyte of data is 4G.

A new mobile phone plan from MetroPCS offers unlimited talk, text and data for $30 a month.

Available Tuesday, the new plan is aimed at undercutting rivals Boost and Cricket. MetroPCS, which is owned by T-Mobile, offers prepaid, contract-free plans for mobile users who don't want to be saddled with the usual two-year agreement. The service runs on T-Mobile's nationwide network.

Sprint unit Boost and AT&T's Cricket also offer prepaid, contract-free plans. Boost and Cricket both feature a range of prepaid plans that offer unlimited talk, text and data starting at $35 a month.

The $30 MetroPCS plan includes taxes and regulatory fees, so you won't see all those extra, unexplained charges on your bill. However, there are a couple of restrictions.

The first 1 gigabyte of data is fed to you at 4G speeds, according to MetroPCS. But what happens if you surpass 1GB in a given month? A MetroPCS spokesman said that if you go beyond that amount, you will see "average MetroPCS network speeds for the rest of the billing cycle." That means your speed will vary but will drop below 4G. Otherwise, there is no limit to the amount of data you can consume each month.

The phone you use must be purchased directly from a MetroPCS store or authorized dealer. You can't pick one up from a third-party retail partner such as Walmart. The phone must also be GSM-compatible with 3G or 4G connectivity. Phones with 4G LTE are not supported. MetroPCS phones that work with the plan include the LG Optimus F60 for $49, the Samsung Galaxy Light for $49, the ZTE Zmax for $99 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 for $589.

This a temporary offer. A company spokesman didn't specify the length of the deal, saying only that "we have not announced an end date to this promotional plan." Once you sign up, though, the price is good as long as you stick with the plan.