T-Mobile to give customers twice the data for the same price

At least for existing customers. T-Mobile is raising the prices for its different tiers, although they all come with more data.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
2 min read

T-Mobile CEO John Legere speaks at an Uncarrier press event last year.

Josh MIller/CNET

T-Mobile said Tuesday that its customers will be able to double the minutes of video they stream, the photos they upload and emails they send.

A wireless customer jumping from 5 gigabytes to 10GB a month can, say, post up to 30 photos on Instagram, stream 20 minutes of video and browse more than 50 Web pages a day.

The nation's third-largest wireless carrier previously offered plans with 1GB, 3GB, 5GB and unlimited data. The new tiers are 2GB, 6GB and 10GB.

Prices for existing customers remain the same, but new customers will have to pay more for the different tiers. While the base level $50 plan is unchanged, the middle tier goes from $60 to $65, while the upper option goes from $70 to $80. The plans, however, do come with significantly more data.

T-Mobile also increased the unlimited plan by $15 to $95 a month, although it doubled the amount of data customers can use via mobile hot spot to 14 GB.

It's the latest of the Bellevue, Washington, company's so-called "Uncarrier" moves designed to appeal to consumers looking for a break on their wireless bill. The campaign, which has lasted more than two years, has shaken up the industry by addressing the most annoying aspects of the business. The result has been better deals for consumers with every carrier scrambling to offer incentives to keep their customers.

Unlimited-data customers will get double the amount of data they can eat up via a tethering connection, now 14GB. In 2016, they also get a free movie rental each month from Vudu.

The announcement comes as carriers have clamped down on usage as services such as Netflix and YouTube gobble up more data. Verizon and AT&T no longer offer unlimited-data plans, and T-Mobile and Sprint are also slowing down their heaviest users.

T-Mobile has been able to drum up a wave of excitement for its services in other ways beyond simply cutting prices. Past Uncarrier moves have included the elimination of wireless service contracts, free international text messages and data and access to streaming music that doesn't eat into a subscriber's data plan.

The campaign has been an unqualified success, with T-Mobile consistently signing up more customers than its rivals. In the third quarter, the carrier added 843,000 customers who pay at the end of the month, more than all of its rivals combined.

Updated at 5:34 p.m. PT: To note the price changes in the data tiers.