Throttling is the not-so-secret way traditional “unlimited” cellular data plans keep you from tapping into all that data. T-Mobile’s new Magenta Max Plan, which is designed to maximize the potential of faster 5G speeds, is promising to make unlimited data truly unlimited for the first time in a long time.
As part of an update to its premium Magenta smartphone plans, T-Mobile is raising its data caps in a major way. The standard Magenta plan, which starts at $47 per line a month for a plan with three active lines (or just $40 a month for a limited time), gets 100GB of data per month, while the new Magenta Max plan, which starts at $57 a month with three lines (or $47 a month for a limited time), will get truly unlimited data. T-Mobile says that “even if you use 200GB or more, you can’t be slowed down based on how much data you use.” In short, that means zero throttling, for both 4G and 5G data.
This is big, because one of the biggest complaints about 5G is that faster data speeds are kind of irrelevant if you end up hitting your monthly data cap faster. Currently, AT&T’s top-tier Unlimited Elite ($60 per line a month with three lines) plan caps out at 100GB of data, after which you might get throttled, while Verizon’s high-end Get More Unlimited ($65 per line with three lines) plan could start throttling speeds after just 50GB of data.
So right now, even without the promotional pricing discount, not only is T-Mobile’s Magenta Max cheaper than equivalent plans from AT&T and Verizon, but for the first time since AT&T discontinued its popular plan more than a decade ago, we have the return of truly unlimited data.
On top of that, Magenta Max also includes unlimited 4K UHD video streaming, a free subscription to Netflix, unlimited in-flight wifi with Gogo, unlimited international texting, and 5GB of data in Canada and Mexico. The only thing that’s not truly unlimited is mobile hotspot data, which is still 5G, but is soft-capped at 40GB per month (after which you get 3G speeds).
To encourage people to switch, T-Mobile is running a bunch of deals that will allow people to keep their phone numbers and provide huge discounts on new 5G phones for people activating new lines.
There are still issues left to sort out after last year’s merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, but T-Mobile’s new Magenta plans are clearly a shot across the bow at AT&T and Verizon. Maybe this will make cell phone plans more competitive, which will be increasingly important as carriers continue to expand their 5G coverage.