T-Mobile offers competitively priced plans and extensive international roaming.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
2 min read

Editors' note: Because evaluating wireless coverage requires experience with the network in a wide variety of physical locations, CNET does not rate wireless carriers. We can, however, tell you everything you need to know about the major carriers. We invite your feedback and ratings in our user opinions section--the more input we get from around the U.S., the better our users can evaluate coverage at a national level. For more carrier information, please see CNET's Quick Guide.

The second-largest GSM carrier, T-Mobile, grew out of the former VoiceStream Wireless in 2001 when VoiceStream was acquired by Germany's Deutsche Telekom. T-Mobile operates one of the smaller U.S. networks of the big four carriers, but it has roaming agreements with AT&T and other smaller operators. In 2008, it launched its 3G network and last year introduced contract-free service.

Things you should know:

  • This carrier offers an unlimited calling plan.
  • T-Mobile's myFaves feature gives you unlimited calling minutes to any five numbers on any network, even landlines.
  • As a GSM carrier and a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile has extensive international roaming and thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots in the United States and Europe.
  • Of the major carriers, T-Mobile received the highest customer service rating by J.D. Power and Associates for several consecutive years.
  • Offers mostly Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Nokia phones. Does not feature LG handsets but was the first to launch a Google Android phone in the United States.
  • T-Mobile's plans are some of the most competitively priced among the major carriers. In 2009 it introduced Even More Plus plans that don't require a contract, but don't offer subsidies for phones. Its Even More plans require contracts, but come with hardware subsidies.
  • After a long wait, T-Mobile finally released its 3G high-speed data network in 2008.

Fast facts:

  • Subscribers: 32.8 million
  • Coverage: Though T-Mobile has network coverage in every state except Alaska, reception in rural areas can be spotty. Also, as with all carriers, reception will vary due to location. International coverage is available in more than 190 countries.
  • Technology: GSM, GPRS, EDGE
  • 3G network: Yes, AWS
  • Streaming video service: No
  • Music download service: No
  • Push-to-talk: No
  • Prepay plans: Yes
  • Family plans: Yes