T-Mobile My Account

Plan pages and advertisement materials still make no mention of new tethering option

It seems as though some folks with T-Mobile prepaid plans are being given a free allotment of mobile hotspot usage, falling closer in line with the new UNcarrier postpaid plans. Although with its UNcarrier initiative T-Mobile relaxed its policies drastically on offering free mobile hotspot on postpaid plans, its prepaid offerings have still blocked tethering (either explicitly on the phone or with a browser redirect) and asked you to pay $15 monthly for the privilege of using your phone as a hotspot:

T-Mobile hotspot upsell

Some people using the T-Mobile My Account app on their phones with prepaid SIMs have started to notice a new line item of "Mobile Hotspot Usage" underneath their regular data usage — something that wasn't previously shown on prepaid accounts. On our own $30 5GB prepaid plan we're now seeing a 100MB balance for hotspot, and it does indeed only tick up when connecting to a hotspot and using data. Folks with the $70 unlimited prepaid plan are seeing a 2.5GB allotment for mobile hotspot.

Checking T-Mobile's prepaid plan website we see no changes to the terms of the prepaid plans that would indicate the inclusion of mobile hotspot, nor do we see a separate Mobile Hotspot data usage counter on the account page of its website. We wouldn't at all be surprised if T-Mobile started to bring over its tethering policies to the prepaid arena, and we surely hope that that's the case here.

Using T-Mobile prepaid and have the option to tether without the $15 monthly add-on? Let us know if you're seeing the switch on your own device.

More: T-Mobile carrier forum

 

Reader comments

Is T-Mobile starting to offer free tethering on prepaid plans?

73 Comments

Speaking of which, looks like Andrew drew the short straw on tonight's hush-hush Google Play event... Rough being the new(ish) guy.

I have 2.5 GB of hotspot usage with my unlimited data. I'm not paying any extra for it and I don't have the mobile hotspot tracker showing up in "My Account"

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This is sort of a coincidence. I was tethering using iTether on my iPhone 5 as a test just yesterday.

Just checked, and tethering usage is tracked for me, showing 25MB~ used of 100MB. I still can't tether normally through the Settings app, though.

I've got mobile hotshot usage showing up for me. Probably won't use it but it's nice to have

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I didn't see anything about free hotspot. I just changed my plan unlimited 4g + 4.5GB tether for $30. I think that's a good price. Free would of course be better. Still cheaper than big red or at&t.

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Most people don't root their phone to get free tethering.

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I wanted to like T-Mobile so much when I tried it for a couple of months on the $30 5gb plan. I just couldn't get reception though and I'm in a metropolitan area of silicon valley! I wish they could take more of a fight to ATT/Verizon so they would try and offer similar plans. I pay more than twice what I did at T-Mobile for 2gb less of data, no text messaging and more minutes I don't need. Thats pretty much what I have to do though to get reasonable service.

That sucks, if only T-Mo had good coverage damn it. That way they could bring in all of Verizon and AT&T's customers. Those greedy companies need to be taken off their high horse

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I think that the definition of "good" obviously varies from person to person, place to place. To me, "good" coverage on T-Mobile would be wherever [in a sizable city] you would get a non-EDGE or non-GPRS signal. And for millions, that's "good" for them :D.

Unless you live in an area that outputs just EDGE or GPRS, chances are T-Mobile performs fine.

I have excellent coverage where I live. Strong LTE all around and occasionally get 4G. I was referring to other people who live in areas where their coverage is little to none.

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Really?

I live in San Jose, and travel all throughout the Silicon Valley throughout the week; T-Mo has always gotten reception wherever AT&T gets reception. That's just my personal experience. Also, download speeds via SpeedTest have shown similar results, though I do believe that Tmo's speed and moreso the CONSISTENCY of such data speeds is due to less congestion; there's just so many more people on AT&T here in Silicon Valley compared to Tmo.

I am bias towards TMo mainnly because of the value they deliver with their price plans, but also because of wifi calling. My office building and several other buildings I go to have dead spots where no carrier gets a good consistent signal, but all of these buildings have wifi. Shoot, even in my office building's garage the wifi gets decent reception (Thank you dual-band 802.11AC!!!) and I'm able to still make calls, text, and go on the web even though I'm not getting cell reception.

Coming from someone whose significant other works for corporate AT&T, I'd take TMo any day of the week if it weren't for the 50% monthly discount on our plans. If it weren't for that... see ya later deathstar!

What part of the Silicon Valley are you in?

Campbell/San Jose area. Same story with Nexus 4 and S4 GPE. No idea why we could have such a different experience. Also had issues outside the area. Went to Laguna Seca in Salinas for a car race and had no reception at all had to use my girlfriends Galaxy Nexus on Att to get back home with Google maps navigation.

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Completely different experiences indeed.

I can certainly vouch for your experience in Salinas. However, I wouldn't consider that town part of Silicon Valley. ;)

Which phone were you using on T-Mobile? I had the Nexus 4 for a couple months on TMo, so fast speeds, just no LTE.

I actually spend a lot of time around Campbell San Jose area, specifically around Bascom Ave, between eBay executive campus and Valley Medical Hospital. I also used to live on the border of Campbell right off of Bascom Ave right before the street turns into Los Gatos Blvd (near Good Sam hospital). In fact, now that I remember, TMo was the carrier I had my very first "modern" smartphone, ha. TMo has been good to me around those neck of the woods.

*shrug*

Could it have been a sim problem? I contacted T-Mobile support and they never even suggested it. I used the same sim on both phones. I had dead spots in downtown Campbell even outdoors.

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Yes, SIM cards have been the root of almost all unsolvable evils with smartphones.

I wouldn't doubt a bad SIM as the cause of your troubles.

Perhaps the GPE S4 was having issues since it was a GPE and not a "regular" T-Mobile phone. Problematic APN? Then again, given your username I'm sure you checked that already.

Cell reception has always been a mystical thing. I can be in one spot outdoors and have bad reception and slow data. Then I walk 10 meters in one direction and it's as if I'm right next to a cell tower. Lol

You could get straight talk. They offer AT&T Sim cards and charge $45 for unlimited everything, though your data is throttled at 2.5 GB, bit at least you get LTE. Of you want more data, Aio wireless has unlooked days that has a soft cap at 7 GB for $70 a month.

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I have the $30 5GB plan and when I go to mt T-Mobile Android app, I see the 100 MB hotspot allotment. I really like what T-Mobile is doing these days.

Interesting I just checked mine and I don't have it. Been able to use the WiFi AP built into CM though without issue. For now... Don't really use it for that much data though.

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You must have thought about tethering...explains the 13 mb.

Sent from my Motorola side view pager 4-5683-968

Same. Mine shows 1.0MB used, though I hadn't used it until I just a few minutes ago to see if I could make it tick up, which I couldn't. (maybe it's lagged, though. I'll check again tomorrow.)

Yeah mine had something like 5MB of hotspot usage when I hadn't used a hotspot at all... but once the change was made and I tethered the data usage seemed to go up at the proper rate. Could just be a small glitch with this being implemented at the start.

I've got the $30/mo prepaid plan too, and noticed the new "Mobile Hotspot Usage" line in the TMobile app a day or two ago showing as "1.0MB/100.0MB" even though I hadn't tethered since my last billing refill.

I didn't think much of it because I'm using CyanogenMod and can tether for "free" anyway, but just to be safe I decided to double-check. I tethered my tablet to my phone hotspot and downloaded an 18MB CyanDelta update, then refreshed my TMobile "Account Info" tab and my Data usage went up by an expected ~20MB, but Hotspot Usage remained at 1.0MB. So, looks like the sky's still the limit if you're rooted.

(notfornothing, but I don't like posting or reading androidcentral comments much vs other sites because there's no reply notification by email or live updates. how about some disqus (or other) guys?)

Every other company on the planet needs to die immediately. T-Mobile should be in charge of health care, the economy and spying.

I see this on my lumia 810 but I didn't start seeing this until I read this article :P but I haven't been able to use it though. im just going to say this...could it be just a glitch in their part? but if it works I'm all for it !!!!! :D

Why only 100mb? It shouldn't matter how your data is used. Ideally, data plans should be usable by tablets and should have full hotspot capability.

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I think its the little things that a company does makes the current customers stay with them while enticing new customers to come ....which MEANS more money for coverage !!!!

What?!??!! There tons of free stuff on Verizon and AT&T...

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So, now we're up to three companies that give away free stuff. Still, not that many, lol.

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Thought it was a woman. With all that pinkish charm and all

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I was speaking with a rep from T-Mobile and they said that this was started from 10/20. Very interesting to see that it's not on their site.

I have the unlimited $70 plan....but I dont see that in my account app.....and I tether every other day. Lol

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Tethering used to be locked out on prepaid? That's news to me. I've got a Google Play edition Nexus 4 on T-Mobile's $30 5 GB plan and I've always been able to tether (wifi, bluetooth, and USB). Maybe if you bought the phone from T-Mobile...

Also, while it does show up in the app for me, there's no indication of it on the website.

Tethering has generally been blocked on any T-Mobile branded phone that you tried to use on prepaid. For non-T-Mo phones that you brought to the carrier (like a Nexus 4), it was generally a hit-or-miss affair on whether you'd be blocked and redirected on your browser or whether you'd be fine to tether.

At least at this point its now looking like nobody will have issues of any sort until they hit their "limit" on tethering.

It's kinda sad to see this kind of news, although all the problems with overpriced plans and devices we have here in Brazil, no carrier has ever tried to make you pay for thetering, you are already paying (too much by the way, here in brazil) for your goddam data, you should be allowed to use it whatever the way you want to.
By the way, sorry for my English...

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As an European I'm also completely blown away by this. It's like "Now you can use gas for your motorbike as well as your car!".. :o

Well...im also using my plan on a att s3.....maybe thats why i dont see it.....ive always been able to tether.

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Where do you find the app? I do not see it in the Play Store or on the T-Mobile website.

Never mind, I found it. Too intrusive though for me. I'll just use the website.

No still get the dumb "upgrade" notice on the hotspot app! Will wait and see... Untill then... WiFi tether app with VPN!

Was I not supposed to be tethering on my $30 5Gb T-mobile plan? I tether all of the time, never got a stink about it from them. It's weird to love a carrier this much....!

Not showing up for me ($30 plan user) but 100 megs of tethering a month would be very handy from time to time

They have updated the $70 plan description on line. The $60 and $50 have not been updated:

Plan details : $70 Unlimited 4G Web, Talk & Text

Unlimited Nationwide Voice| Unlimited Nationwide Messaging |Unlimited 4G data* | Includes 2.5GB of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot (tethering) at no extra charge|Rate Plan Charge excluding features: $70.00 per month.

I've had the Samsung Dart phone for nearly 2 years with the hotspot activated with no fees or limits what so ever.

Actually, that's only 99% true. Here in PA, I've never had an issue with the tethering. When I went to Orlando summer of 2013, the last 2 days I was there I received the 'you need to pay for this' screen, but when I returned to my home network, the free unmetered tethering picked right back up.

I've connected iOS devices, a laptop, android tablets and phones. Have downloaded software, watched streaming video... all without T-Mobile really giving two blinks of an eye with my data usage.

BTW, my plan is the $30 unlimited data / text / 100 minute basic option.