As we discoverred this morning, T-Mobile has added the ability to turn your device into a mobile hotspot for prepaid accounts. While the scope of such a program wasn’t yet clear, T-Mobile has confirmed they are adding the functionality, as well as re-branding their prepaid program.
Now called “Pay-in-advance Simple Choice”, prepaid options will remain the same as they have been. Along with the ability to tether free of charge, prepaid customers will also enjoy free domestic data roaming. In a statement to Android Central, T-Mobile has this to say:
Starting Oct. 20, T-Mobile will give pay-in-advance customers access to domestic data roaming across the U.S. for the first time. Additionally, pay-in-advance customers that sign up for our Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan will also have access to 2.5GB of Smartphone Mobile Hotspot (i.e. tethering). Only T-Mobile gives pay-in-advance customers data roaming AND Smartphone Mobile Hotspot at no extra charge with their Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan.
The tethering and data roaming are tiered, of course. With the $50/month 500MB data plan, you’ll get 10MB of data roaming and the ability to tether using the 500MB threshold (that’s where you begin throttling). Step up to the $60/month plan, and both your data and roaming increase; 2.5GB and 50MB, respectively. The $70/month plan is unlimited data, but keeps the same tethering and roaming restrictions as the $60/month plan.
Prior to this announcement, no plan received any data roaming, so even 10MB is novel in situations where it’s needed. The $50 and $60 plans had the ability to turn the device into a hotspot prior to this change, but the $70 pan did not. As for the underground hit $30/month package, that is said to have 2.5GB data for tethering. The data limit — before throttling — is 5GB for that plan.
T-Mobile is perhaps the first carrier that has taken the steps to add services for prepaid customers, and it’s nice to see. Tethering is helpful in many situations, but data roaming is the real winner here. Rather than relegate prepaid customers to the bottom of the heap, T-Mobile has given them more reason to stay loyal.