Serving up well-rounded options at competitive prices, Metro by T-Mobile is one of our top picks for prepaid cell phone plans.
Metro by T-Mobile Cell Phone Plans Review 2023
Are you looking for a prepaid cell phone plan that’s juuust right? Well, Goldilocks, we think Metro by T-Mobile might fit the bill. Metro by T-Mobile offers decent coverage, and solid speeds at a competitive price.
With a low-data plan, a middle-of-the-pack data plan, and three unlimited options, there’s a plan for almost everyone. Those prices are pretty cheap too. But we’ll sure miss our HD video streaming.
Metro by T-Mobile unlimited plans
You’ve got three options for unlimited plans with Metro by T-Mobile. All three plans are pretty cheap and have high-speed data caps of 35 GB a month. Here are all the details.
Do you know what’s refreshing? When companies actually have straight-up pricing. The prices you see with Metro by T-Mobile already include taxes and regulatory fees. Since Metro is a T-Mobile subsidiary, we’d expect nothing less. (T-Mobile is known for including taxes and fees in its advertised prices, which we think is awesomesauce).
One potential downside is the weaker coverage.1 If you opt for an unlimited plan, you’ll want a solid connection everywhere you go. Compared to the coverage juggernaut, Verizon, Metro by T-Mobile’s coverage isn’t the best. But you'll still get a good connection in most urban areas.
Another downside is the risk of deprioritization. This happens when the network owner, in this case T-Mobile, decides to prioritize the data speeds of some customers over others. During times of network congestion, Metro customers can end up at the back of the data connection line, so to speak.
Data caps and speed throttling
Not to be confused with deprioritization, data throttling is when your data is slowed down after you reach your high-speed data cap. With Metro, if you download over 35 GB of data in a single month, you might get throttled. If you're worried about how much speed you'll want, get a quick intro to Mbps and what speed you need in our Mbps guide.
So, let’s see how T-Mobile compares to the competition with unlimited data plans.
Even though the prices look similar, you’ll probably pay a little less with Metro than you would with another similarly priced company. Why, you ask? Fees and taxes are already baked into the price. Points for honesty, Metro by T-Mobile.
Another massive thing going for Metro—5G LTE Mobile Hotspot. 5G is becoming more readily available with all mobile carriers, you can translate 5G to "really fast hotspot speeds." Metro continues to roll out its 5G coverage, it's safe to assume that the hotspot speeds will be mind-blowingly fast.
Setting up your Metro by T-Mobile phone plan
One important thing to note: while you can purchase most Metro by T-Mobile phones online, you’ll need to visit an actual store to set up your plan. Metro by T-Mobile stores are pretty common around most of the US, so you shouldn’t have much trouble.
Metro by T-Mobile family plans
Everyone should do their absolute darndest to be on a family plan. Metro by T-Mobile goes from being cheap to even cheaper.
The main difference you’ll see with your different Metro family plan options revolves around how much Mobile Hotspot data you plan on using.
If you travel a lot for business or school and need to rely on a mobile hotspot in a pinch, you might want to consider one of the more expensive family plan options.
By the way, don’t be afraid of the steep up-front costs you see above. You can avoid the cost by transferring your old phone over or buying an older phone. But if you want the latest and greatest, expect steep up-front costs for the new phone.
Take a look at the family plan competition to see how Metro by T-Mobile stacks up.
We know you’re excited about the super cheap Metro by T-Mobile, but remember that it doesn’t have quite the same coverage or streaming quality as say, Verizon. But hey, if the price is what matters most, rest assured you’ll get a good deal with Metro by T-Mobile.
Again, the upfront costs are based on purchasing brand new phones with your plan. You can avoid dropping all that money if you transfer your old phones. If you do get new phones for the fam, you can save some money buying through Metro as opposed to an AT&T or T-Mobile plan.
Metro by T-Mobile Prepaid plans
This is the moment of the movie where the protagonist takes off their glasses, lets down their hair, and you realize they were beautiful all along. Hopefully, movies don’t actually do that anymore (*cough* Princess Diaries *cough*).
For Metro by T-Mobile, prepaid plans are its bread and butter. You’ll have a hard time finding a better prepaid plan that includes 5 GB LTE mobile hotspot, along with 4G LTE coverage for such an affordable price. Other carriers, like AT&T and Ultra Mobile, can't claim the same speeds for prepaid plans.
Don’t believe us? We’re hurt, but that’s fine. Take a look for yourself.
Remember, all your fees and taxes are included in the price you see below for Metro. That's not the case with the competition.
Long story short, if you want a prepaid unlimited wireless plan, and you live in a good T-Mobile service area, Metro by T-Mobile is probably your best bet. It offers solid speeds and decent enough coverage for a price that’s as cheap or even cheaper than the competition.
Metro cell phones and devices
Most prepaid cell phone companies don’t offer a great selection of the latest and greatest phones. That’s why we were pleasantly surprised by the phones Metro had to offer.
Feast your eyes on these popular devices that Metro sells.
Along with LG, Motorola, and other brands, Metro keeps it real with various Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones. Nice.
Unfortunately, you won’t find any new Google phones here.
However, Metro does allow for a bring your own phone (BYOP) option if you’re committed to the Google Pixel lifestyle. You’ll need to visit a store to make sure your Google phone is fully compatible and then purchase a Metro SIM card.
Thinking of upgrading your Metro by T-Mobile phone?
You’ll need a SIM card to connect your phone to the Metro by T-Mobile network, but that doesn’t mean upgrading phones is as easy as swapping that SIM card to your new phone.
Instead, you’ll need to visit a store or give Metro by T-Mobile a call at 1 (888) 863-8768.
How good is Metro performance?
Metro uses T-Mobile’s network, which is the weakest of the big three networks when it comes to coverage, but still covers 62% of the country. All in all, it really depends on the location. T-Mobile especially shines in terms of urban coverage, but struggles in more rural areas.
Check out the coverage map to get a better idea of coverage in your area.
Coverage issues aside, T-Mobile’s network gets high scores when it comes to speed. In our network testing, T-Mobile actually proved to offer the fastest wireless speeds amongst the big three carriers, and the upload speeds far surpassed other major carriers like AT&T and Verizon.
The Metro site states, “During congestion, Metro customers may notice reduced speeds vs. T-Mobile customers.” This is what we in the industry call deprioritization. (Spoiler alert: don’t be surprised if your favorite Hulu show starts to buffer.)
Metro customer service
If you’re looking for world-class customer service, you won’t find it at Metro. Or at any cell phone company, for that matter.
The sad fact is that wireless providers are notorious for poor customer service, and Metro is no exception. Many customer reviews note that there is lackluster service both in the store and over the phone.1 T-Mobile scored a 74 in the 2023 American Customer Satisfaction Index Report. For reference, AT&T scored a 75, so T-Mobile has some room to improve.2
Metro by T-Mobile has a good amount of four and five-star customer reviews mixed in through Consumer Affairs.1 Metro has a ways to go, but they aren't doing the worst out of all the cell phone providers. So maybe there’s hope for Metro customer service after all. Either way, it’s best to be prepared to spend some time (and patience) when you visit the store or give them a call.
Recap: Is Metro any good?
Out of all the prepaid wireless providers out there, we think Metro is one of the best choices. Here’s why.
Plans: You’ve got a choice between four solid plans. Each one offers a good amount of data for a competitive price, including three unlimited options. But be prepared to visit your nearest Metro store to purchase that plan (and maybe your phone).
Performance: Metro runs on T-Mobile’s network, so you can expect great speeds and good coverage—although rural areas may have signal issues. There are two caveats, though: You’ll be able to stream video only in SD, and your data speeds may be slower than if you were a T-Mobile customer.
Customer service: What can we say? Metro customer service isn’t the best. But sadly, that’s true for most wireless companies.
Overall: Metro is a competitive choice for prepaid phone plans in particular. It might not be the best option for unlimited plans due to less-than-great coverage, but you can get away with it in urban areas.
If you’re behind on paying your bill, there’s a good chance Metro will disconnect your phone the day after your payment is due.
You might be able to call Metro and request a grace period. But keep in mind that your bill will be due the same day of the month the next month—your late payment won’t push back your due date.
For example, if your bill was due on May 3 and you paid on May 10, your next bill will still be due on June 3.
Out of all the prepaid unlimited wireless plans, Metro by T-Mobile is a solid choice. Especially if you live in an area where T-Mobile has good coverage. Metro offers competitive pricing, as well as pretty fast speeds that are hard to beat.
Yes, Metro uses T-Mobile’s GSM network.
If you’re coming from T-Mobile or AT&T, which both run on GSM networks, your phone will likely be good to go as long as you unlock it and purchase a Metro SIM card.
Even though Metro uses T-Mobile's network, the pricing options are a little different. You'll pay less for Metro at times of heavy network congestion, Metro customers may notice reduced speeds and are at risk of deprioritization vs. T-Mobile customers.
This is the case with all the best MVNOs. MVNOs piggyback off of bigger networks. You'll pay cheaper prices, but you'll also be the first to be deprioritized when the network is busy.