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Why I'm thinking seriously about switching to T-Mobile's new 4-lines-for-$100 plan

Help me decide if I should make the move. Plus: The latest impossibly good earbuds deal.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

T-Mobile's new family plan has me ready to make a switch.

Angela Lang/CNET

Before we talk T-Mo , let's look at today's impossibly-inexpensive-headphones news: The Mpow M9 true-wireless earbuds are just $23.49 with the on-page 5%-off coupon and promo code MPOWM9PR. Noise-isolating pipe design, touch controls, USB-C charging, IPX8-rated waterproof... shall I go on? It even has extra microphones to help reduce noise during phone calls.

Mpow has been around a long time. It's not one of these never-heard-of-it brands that are so common on Amazon these days. (I'm looking at you, "Tangmai.") The company makes solid budget audio gear. I haven't tried the M9 yet, but the user reviews are overwhelmingly positive. And this price: Amazing.

Four 5G lines for $100? I'm listening

I've been a Cricket Wireless customer for a number of years. In fact, I'm grandfathered into a five-lines-for-$100 plan, which is why I haven't felt compelled to make a change. But T-Mobile's new four-for-$100 5G Essentials deal is making me think seriously about switching. Here's why:

  • It's fully unlimited, including voice, text and data. My Cricket plan caps high-speed data at 5GB a month (though it's currently 10GB owing to a temporary, coronavirus-assistance increase).
  • It includes 5G access. My family doesn't own any 5G-compatible phones yet, but it's just a matter of time.
  • It includes unlimited international texting -- and I choose to be optimistic about someday traveling globally again. My Cricket plan offers limited support for any kind of overseas activity.
  • Scam Shield. I get probably a dozen robocalls every day. If T-Mo's "five layers of scam blocking protection" can help even a little, I'll be happy.
  • T-Mobile Tuesdays. I'm a sucker (natch) for deals and freebies, even if it's just a donut here or a free MLB.TV subscription there. (Wait, what?!) 
  • It includes mobile hotspot. It's limited to 3G data speeds, which is annoying, but I can't get it at all from Cricket unless I upgrade my plan. I don't need a hotspot that often, but when I do (like when Comcast is down for a few hours), it's super-frustrating to be without it.
  • I can get service for my Apple Watch Series 3 . I'm so ready to leave my phone behind when I go for a run. Cricket doesn't offer service for wearables.

So, yeah, T-Mo's plan offers a number of significant benefits over what I'm getting from Cricket, the key exception being that fifth line -- which we've always gifted to my mother-in-law. I can add up to two additional lines for $20 each, but that puts me over the compelling $100-a-month mark I'm so accustomed to (and comfortable with). Anyone want to volunteer to tell Sandy we're cutting her off? 😂 

Read more: T-Mobile adds new 5G Essentials plan that offers four lines for $100 per month

What's more, Cricket's plan is $100, period -- taxes and fees included. If I switch to T-Mo, I'll be on the hook for at least an extra $6 every month. (That's the tax bill. According to an online T-Mobile sales representative, there are no fees on this particular plan -- even though the promotion page specifically notes "plus taxes and fees.")

Here's where you can help me -- and perhaps some fellow cheapskates -- decide. If you're already a T-Mo customer, how do you like it? Any issues with coverage or customer service? Do you find yourself taking advantage of the freebies? Hit the comments and share the good, the bad and anything else you think is important. This promotion is available only for a limited time, so I need to make a decision soon.

Your thoughts?  

Read more: Visible launches discounted family plan -- and the family is optional

Watch this: T-Mobile CEO on the un-carrier's scam and robocall-fighting technology

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