Grant McWilliams

Tech Gadgets Blog How to get unlimited data/text/talk on t-mobile for $60/month contract free.

How to get unlimited data/text/talk on t-mobile for $60/month contract free.

I started out with Virgin Mobile cell phone service this year because they had an unlimited Internet/Texting plane for $25/month. It was limited to 300 minutes of talk which is a great deal for me since I don't talk on the phone much anyway. This plan was contract free as is all of Virgin Mobile's plans and uses Sprint for the carrier. I've had good luck with it but the one caveat is that you have a limited number of phones you can use. When I bought mine they had some crappy cheap phones, one Android phone and a Blackberry phone - I chose the Android unit. It's served it's purpose but not satisfied with Android 2.1 and later 2.2 I really wanted to try a Nokia n900 which is a GSM phone and I really didn't want to sign a contract especially since I was just trying it out. After some searching I found Simple Mobile which uses T-Mobile as a carrier, has contract free plans from $40-60/month and worked with the Nokia so I jumped in. I've decided to write this article because unlike Virgin Mobile it's not "Simple" to get Simple Mobile to work. Here's what I had to do.

  1. Buy a Sim Card (Called a Sim Kit on their website). I bought mine off of Ebay for $4.

  2. Buy Re-Up money on the Simple Mobile website.

  3. Activate your Sim Card by going to Simple Mobile's website and

  • Inserting your 19 digit SIM card number

  • Inserting your 15 digit Phone ID number

  • Inserting a 16 digit pin number (Re-Up minutes)

  • Inserting a numeric 8 digit password

Once that's done you should be able to make phone calls. Data (Internet) however, will not work quite yet. With Sprint/Virgin Mobile your data and cell connection appear to be the same thing. With T-Mobile/Simple Mobile your cell connection is seperate and your data connection looks like a  WIFI hot spot connection. However, you can't just select the 3G data connection quite yet.

To setup Internet access for your phone

  1. Point a web browser to http://simplemobile.wdsglobal.com/phonefirst

  2. Insert your phone number, the make and model of the phone and a security code

  3. Insert the pin number shown into your mobile phone, select Internet connections and choose Simple Web

All of this in comparison to just entering the number off a Virgin Mobile card bought online or at any Best Buy or Walmart. I think Simple Mobile has something to learn from Virgin Mobile. However, once you get it working you have unlimited T-Mobile internet for $60/month without a contract. A straight T-Mobile plan will cost you $80 for "truly unlimited" (plus taxes and fees) which includes up to 2 GB of data and requires a 2 year contract. How they can call it truly unlimited and then limit to 2 GB is a mystery to me. To be clear they won't shut you off after 2GB but they will throttle you back. My other choice was to use AT&T since they use SIM cards too. Their cheapest unlimited plan with data (200 MB) was $85 and also required a contract. To bump up to 4GB of data the price goes to $115 and also requires a 2 year contract.

For the chart below I tried focusing on my needs which are primarily Internet access everywhere and enough minutes to call home and ask if we need milk. I've included the cheapest plans to offer some sort of data and some minutes and then also Unlimited plans for reference. Some plans don't actually include unlimited data plans no matter how much money you pay. Some have unlimited data (T-Mobile) but throttle your speed after you star abusing it.

 

 

 

Cost

Data

Texting

Talk

Contract

Notes

Virgin Mobile

$25

Unlimited

Unlimited

300 minutes

no

Limited phone selection, 3G only

Virgin Mobile

$40

Unlimited

Unlimited

1200 minutes

no

Limited phone selection, 3G only

Virgin Mobile

$60

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

no

Limited phone selection, 3G only

Simple Mobile

$40

None

Unlimited

Unlimited

no

Any GSM phone, 3G only

Simple Mobile

$50

100 MB

Unlimited

Unlimited

no

Any GSM phone, 3G only

Simple Mobile

$60

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

no

Any GSM phone, 3G only

T-Mobile

$59

200 MB

Unlimited

500

2 year

Any GSM phone, 3G only no matter what they claim

T-Mobile

$109

Unlimited

Unlimited

500

2 year

Any GSM phone, 3G only no matter what they claim

T-Mobile

$119

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

2 year

Any GSM phone, 3G only no matter what they claim

Sprint

$55

450

None

Unlimited Web

2 year

Not clear what data isn't included in Unlimited Web, 4G

Sprint

$65

450

Unlimited

Unlimited Web

2 year

Not clear what data isn't included in Unlimited Web, 4G

Sprint

$99

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

2 year

4 G

AT&T Wireless

$55

450 Anytime

None

200 MB

2 year

Any GSM phone

AT&T Wireless

$85

450 Anytime

None

4 GB

2 year

Any GSM phone - supports tethering

AT&T Wireless

$105

450 Anytime

Unlimited

4 GB

2 year

Any GSM phone - supports tethering

AT&T Wireless

$135

Unlimited

Unlimited

4 GB

2 year

Any GSM phone - supports tethering

Verizon

$70

450

None

Unlimited

2 year

4G

Verizon

$90

450

5000

Unlimited

2 year

4G

Verizon

$120

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

2 year

4G

 

So a long story short I'm saving $480 over Sprint, $720 a year over T-Mobile and Verizon and $900 over AT&T and they require 2 year contracts.  Even though Sprint and Verizon are not compatible with my N900 I compared their plans just out of curiosity.

It's worth noting that for Virgin Mobile and Simple Mobile you have to buy your phone ahead of time. Is it worth it to have a restricted set of phones to choose from (Virgin Mobile) or a lengthy setup (Simple Mobile) and having to buy your phone seperate? After buying my n900, an extra 32 GB memory card (for a total of 64 GB), a new case, screen protectors, extra stylus and 2 extra batteries I have hundreds of dollars left in my pocket at the end of one year. Yes, I think it's worth it.

Tech Gadgets Blog How to get unlimited data/text/talk on t-mobile for $60/month contract free.