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T-Mobile will credit low-data users $10 a month

The "Kickback" program applies only to T-Mobile One unlimited data customers who use less than 2 gigabytes of data a month.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere on stage for its press conference at CES 2017.
James Martin/CNET

T-Mobile is making the case that you should be on its unlimited data plan -- even if all you do is view photos of your grandchildren.

At the CES 2017 show, the nation's third-largest carrier on Thursday introduced its "Kickback" program, designed to give customers who don't use a lot of data a credit of $10 a month. It only applies to T-Mobile One unlimited data customers who use less than 2 gigabytes of data a month, or roughly 8 hours of streaming video.

The move is a direct response to the criticism T-Mobile faced after it introduced T-Mobile One. The company was pushing to move to a single unlimited data rate plan, but faced criticism that it eliminated more affordable options for people who don't need that much data.

While $10 off of a $70 individual plan isn't much, the savings are significant if you have a large family all on T-Mobile plans. After four lines, which costs $140, it costs $20 to add a fifth line and so on. For folks on those additional lines who don't use much data -- such as your grandparents -- that cost is only $10 a month.

The plan is similar to Google's Project Fi wireless service, which gives you credit for the data you don't use in a given month. Where T-Mobile gives you a flat $10 back, Google will give you more specific credit based on your own usage.

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