Yesterday I received this press release from T-Mobile and skipped on by thinking it was simply another advertisement for some kind of low cost prepaid simple feature phone service for the masses. I then went back and reread the press release and think T-Mobile may have just created the PERFECT smartphone data plan.
Readers here know I am always talking about the different ways I use data, but I do not that many actual phone calls and have been asking wireless carriers to make a plan that gives me just data and text messaging with a per minute calling fee. T-Mobile's new Wal-Mart plan (launching on 16 October) does this with a whopping 5GB of data up to 4G speeds (throttle after this limit is reached), unlimited text messages, and even throws in 100 minutes. Each additional voice minute is just 10 cents and there is no annual contract.
I have five phones on a family plan on T-Mobile and pay just over $190 per month (including all the taxes and fees) for 3000 minutes, unlimited text messaging on all phones, and 5GB unthrottled data on 2 phones. IMHO, this is a pretty good deal and if I switched to this Wal-Mart plan I could probably save $25 per month ($150 for the five phones plus taxes and fees bring it up to an estimated $165). My grandfathered family plan is still too good of a deal to give it up, but I think this new Wal-Mart plan is perfect for the heavy data user. Shoot, maybe I will get one to use a new Samsung Galaxy S II on since I am keeping Windows Phone 7 for my primary line.
I checked my bill and while I generally stay below 100 minutes within the Whenever Minutes time frame, I do tend to call more on the weekends and to other T-Mobile customers and these minutes are all free in my current plan. I think this 100 minutes is for all talk so make sure you understand the limitations here before picking up this plan. T-Mobile has other compelling plans if you want unlimited data and text messaging with more minutes too.
If you are an Android phone user then you may be able to get by with this new Wal-Mart T-Mobile plan for data and use VoIP services for all of your calls too. It generally isn't as reliable and the coverage is not as great, but if you have limited phone calls to make then this may just be a viable alternative.