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MetroPCS vs. T-Mobile: Which Is Best for You?

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For Families: MetroPCS factors in discounts when you add multiple lines. The size of the discounts were more generous over the summer; these days adding an extra line at MetroPCS costs you $30 per line no matter what plan you have. That means more substantial discounts on higher priced plans like MetroPCS’s unlimited options.

Carrier 2 lines, Unlimited Data 3 lines, Unlimited Data 4 lines, Unlimited Data
MetroPCS $80 $110 $140
T-Mobile $100 $140 $160

Extra lines on MetroPCS’s $50 unlimited plan come at a $20 discount for each new line, meaning a family of four pays $140 per month. That’s a $20 discount from what that same family would pay at T-Mobile. (You can save up to $30 per month if you have three lines at MetroPCS, due to the way T-Mobile prices its discounts on additional lines.)

The discounts aren’t as steep for MetroPCS’s tiered data plans, where you’re only saving $10 per extra line on the carrier’s $40 a month 5GB plan. Still, at $70 for two people, that’s $30 less than what those same two would pay for unlimited data at T-Mobile.

Customer Service

One of the big tradeoffs when opting for prepaid service over a larger carrier is the quality of customer service you receive, and that’s no exception should you choose MetroPCS instead of T-Mobile. In our latest survey of wireless carrier customer support, T-Mobile earned runner-up honors; MetroPCS finished in 7th place out of the nine carriers we evaluated.

MetroPCS improved its customer service in our testing, but it still has a long way to go to match T-Mobile.

T-Mobile offers a full gamut of customer-support options, from online chat to responsive social media. Its phone representatives are helpful and friendly, and our only real complaint is that some support material on the T-Mobile website can be hard to track down.

The ZTE Zmax Pro is a MetroPCS-exclusive.The ZTE Zmax Pro is a MetroPCS-exclusive.MetroPCS improved its customer service in our testing, though it still has a long way to go to match T-Mobile. Although phone support is available 24 hours a day, navigating through MetroPCS’s menus is a hassle and you won’t always get accurate information. We ran into delays in getting responses to questions posed on Twitter and Facebook, and MetroPCS offers no online chat feature to speak of.

Phone Selection

You’d expect a major carrier like T-Mobile to offer a wide selection of phones, and you’d be correct: at present, the carrier offers 31 phones, including the latest flagships from Samsung, Apple and LG. (The LG G6, in particular, is a bargain at T-Mobile — $500, which is more than $100 less than what the other major carriers charge.) You can find a few budget-priced phones at T-Mobile, with six handsets currently selling for less than $200. If you go the installment route to pay for your phone, your monthly payment will be less than $10 on these models.

For budget shoppers, T-Mobile just added its own phone — the $150 T-Mobile Revvl. If you don’t want to buy that phone outright, you can pay it off in $6 installments over 24 months.

Comparing an Apple iPhone 7 Plus (left) and the LG G6 (right), which is a bargin at T-Mobile.Comparing an Apple iPhone 7 Plus (left) and the LG G6 (right), which is a bargin at T-Mobile.But MetroPCS is the better choice for bargain prices on phones. Of the 34 phones on offer at MetroPCS, 25 have price tags that are less than $200 — and in many cases, special offers lower the price to less than $100. MetroPCS also offers top flagships like the Galaxy S8, but you’ll have to buy that $729 phone outright; MetroPCS doesn’t offer installment pricing. As of this writing, the iPhone 8 is missing in action at MetroPCS, though the carrier offers earlier versions of Apple’s phones.

Extras and Perks

You’d expect a larger carrier to offer more bonuses to its subscribers, and that’s the case here. But while T-Mobile sets the standard for wireless carrier perks, MetroPCS has a few features of its own that customers will find appealing.

While T-Mobile sets the standard for wireless carrier perks, MetroPCS has a few features of its own that customers will find appealing.

T-Mobile’s standout features include its weekly T-Mobile Tuesday giveaways to subscribers and the most appealing international travel plan among the major carriers. Unlimited data subscribers who use less than 2GB of data in a given month can get a $10 credit through the carrier’s Kickback program — ideal for families where some members don’t use that much data in a month. The Digits program lets you use your T-Mobile number on multiple devices, while subscribers with two lines or more can have T-Mobile cover the cost of their $9.95 Netflix subscription.

MetroPCS can’t really match that, but it does offer a few extras that its subscribers will appreciate. A Data Maximizer feature lets subscribers on tiered data plans stretch their data further by streaming video at lower resolutions. If you’ve got the 6GB plan, you can stream music from Pandora, iHeartRadio, Apple Music and Spotify without using up any of your allotted LTE data.

It’s international options where MetroPCS really comes up short compared with T-Mobile. While the Uncarrier lets you enjoy unlimited texting and data in 140 countries (though at reduced speeds) as part of its standard plan, MetroPCS charges extra for international services, and those focus on calls and texting overseas. You can use data from your plan in Canada and Mexico if you pay an extra $5 a month (both country packages are sold separately), while the $10 World Calling plan adds only 200MB of data when you travel in select countries.

Bottom Line

MetroPCS offers you a chance to save money over T-Mobile, both on your monthly bill and in the selection of budget phones available through the prepaid carrier. You’ll make some tradeoffs. Your customer service likely won’t be as thorough at MetroPCS, and your network speed could take a hit if T-Mobile prioritizes its own subscribers when there’s a lot of traffic on the network. But MetroPCS offered performance on a par with T-Mobile in our nationwide testing.

Opting for T-Mobile gives you the full Uncarrier experience — the perks like T-Mobile Tuesdays, the wide selection of flagship phones and the full use of T-Mobile’s outstanding network.

Families who need service for more than two lines will want to consider MetroPCS, though only for unlimited data since the discounts on extra lines aren’t as generous as they were over the summer. Individuals, on the other hand, can see some serious savings by turning to MetroPCS while getting mostly the same service they’d receive at T-Mobile.

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