What do you think is worse?
Overspending on a phone plan just to get decent service, or settling for terrible service to keep more money in your bank account?
Sometimes, it’s a hard choice you have to make. But, fortunately, Metro by T-mobile (formerly MetroPCS), has got us covered with some solid, affordable cell phone plans.
Maybe for some, you might think they have a bad rep of just being another “budget” phone carrier.
So, in this guide, we’re going to give you an honest breakdown of what Metro by T-mobile has to offer while still competing with the big dogs.
Is MetroPCS any good?
This depends on your definition of good, and of course, your budget.
If you’re looking for discount mobile providers and expecting a performance like Verizon’s, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.
However, if you’re looking for a powerful and affordable prepaid service, then MetroPCS is an excellent option.
Despite being a budget carrier, Metro is packing heat with some serious features:
- backed by the reliable T-Mobile network
- holds data performance comparable to some of the biggest carriers
- affordable limited/unlimited data plans with enticing features like free Amazon Prime
- bring your own phone or choose from the most popular mobile phone brands
With notable features like these, it’s easy to see why people looking for an affordable mobile plan have turned to MetroPCS.
Now let’s get into what bang Metro has to offer you for your buck.
MetroPCS Prepaid plans and pricing
Metro offers various no-contract plans with both limited and unlimited data options. With four plans available, prices range from $30 to $60, with a per-line cost of $30.
Take a look for yourself:
The $30 MetroPCS plan (most budget-friendly)
The $30 plan, while being the most affordable, comes with the least amount of extra features and the least data. You get what you pay for, so that’s not a surprise.
Let’s talk data: This plan offers a small but manageable 2GB of high-speed data per line. Great for people who just need a quick and straightforward mobile solution. If you need data because you travel a lot, this probably isn’t your ideal option.
The bells and whistles: If you’re looking to squeeze some more value out of your mobile plan, then the features included in the other MetroPCS plans will provide greater value. This $30 plan just gives you the bare minimum.
The $40 MetroPCS plan
If going over your data limit isn’t a concern for you, then you might be better off with the $40 plan.
Let’s talk data: This offers 10GB of high-speed data while also providing a more affordable price than the $50 and $60 plans.
The bells and whistles: You don’t get a hotspot with this plan, but you do get unlimited music streaming data. So if you want to jam out to your favorite songs on-the-go while saving money, this is an excellent option.
The $50 MetroPCS plan
The $50 plan is the right choice for you if all you need is unlimited data. It has some additional features to up the value as well.
Let’s talk data: This plan is the most affordable unlimited high-speed data plan. You also get a hotspot with 5GB of data.
The bells and whistles: With this plan, you retain the 100GB of Google One along with hotspot capability. Google One is just Google’s cloud storage service.
The $60 MetroPCS plan (best value)
The $60 plan is the most expensive, but you also get some insane value along with it.
Let’s talk data: With this plan, you get the unlimited high-speed data, but you also get 15GB of hotspot data.
The bells and whistles: The $60 plan features Amazon Prime, 100GB of Google One, and the most hotspot data. You also get a reduced per line cost when adding four lines or more. If you want the best MetroPCS has to offer, then the $60 plan provides you with the most value.
MetroPCS family plans
If you’re not a part of a family plan, you’re losing money. Not to mention that Metro has some good deals.
For each plan, you can add additional lines for $30 each. The more expensive the plan you get, the more value you get.
If you’re looking to add 5 or 4 lines with unlimited data, it’s also a better deal to get the $60 plan. Why? Because Metro made it cheaper, surprisingly.
I wouldn’t recommend adding lines on the $40 plan since you’ll be limited on data when you could just pay $10 more for everyone to have unlimited.
What network Does MetroPCS use?
MetroPCS (now called Metro by T-Mobile) was purchased by T-Mobile in 2013 and has used T-Mobile’s network ever since.
T-Mobile holds status as one of the largest mobile phone companies out there today. So you can rest assured if you’re worried about network reliability.
You might be wondering:
“But will I have coverage?”
See for yourself:
As you can see, most of Metro’s coverage is in the United States, but it still has some reach in other parts of North America as well.
A drawback of MetroPCS using T-Mobile’s network is data prioritization. Metro users may experience slower speeds vs. T-Mobile users when the network becomes congested due to T-Mobile prioritizing their primary customer base.
It’s an unfortunate consequence of Metro pcs piggybacking on T-Mobile’s massive network, but that’s the sacrifice you make for more affordable prices.
How to get started with MetroPCS
Since MetroPCS is a prepaid phone service, getting started with Metro is a piece of cake.
Thankfully they make it easy, and you can even bring your own device.
Here’s a quick guide on how you can get started with Metro by T-mobile:
- Get a device that is compatible with MetroPCS. You can bring your own device, or you can choose from the selection of popular MetroPCS smartphones.
- Purchase a MetroPCS SIM card. Before you purchase a SIM card when you’re bringing your own device, you’ll need first to check if your device is compatible using their website.
- Choose a plan and join the network.
For those looking to bring a device they already own onto the MetroPCS network, we’ll cover this further down in the article.
Your device options for MetroPCS
Unfortunately, a lot of prepaid carriers suck when it comes to choosing devices. However, MetroPCS offers a decent variety of phones if you’re looking to get something new.
Here are some of the top brands that Metro by T-mobile offers:
Want to take a look at all the phones MetroPCS has to offer? No problem. You can check out what they have available in their online shop.
So you can’t actually buy phones from their online shop, so you’ll need to visit one of their stores physically.
Although some may consider this a con, visiting a real store gives you a better experience anyway. Not to mention that a MetroPCS representative will be able to answer all of your questions. So, no sweat if you’re not a tech guru!
How to use MetroPCS bring your own phone
What if you like your current phone, but dislike your current network? Can you bring the device you already have to the MetroPCS network?
Yes, you can!
The first thing you must do when bringing your current phone over to the MetroPCS network is to check if the device is GSM compatible. Don’t worry about what that means — it’s not important for us.
All we need to know is if your phone is compatible.
To do this, you’ll need to go into your phone’s settings and find your phone’s IMEI number.
Once you have the IMEI number, you can check your phone’s compatibility using their handy searching tool.
After making sure your phone is compatible, you’re going to need a MetroPCS SIM card. You can easily purchase a universal Metropcs SIM card kit from the same page where you checked if your phone was compatible, or you can go to one of their store locations.
After completing this process, simply follow the remaining steps to getting started with the MetroPCS network. Then, done — you get to keep the phone that you love.
How do you unlock a MetroPCS phone?
If you’re looking to move from another plan and need to unlock your phone, then don’t stress! Unlocking a MetroPCS device is very simple.
Although they’d hate to see you go, they don’t hold you back from moving on when you want to — unlike some other companies.
First, make sure you have these requirements:
- Your device MUST be a MetroPCS phone.
- Your MetroPCS phone must have been in service for 180 days or more.
Take note that if you’re deployed military or a family member of a deployed member of the military, then you can unlock your MetroPCS phone earlier than the required 180 days.
Also, if you need to replace your phone via warranty exchange, then the date your original phone would have been ready to unlock still applies.
Now that we’ve gotten the specifics out of the way let’s look at exactly how to unlock your MetroPCS phone.
Automated Unlock App vs. Customer Service Call
There are two ways to unlock a MetroPCS phone. One way is through an automated app on the phone, and the other is by making a call to Metropcs customer service and providing them with some information.
Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick which route you can take. Only specific devices have an automated unlocking app. If you don’t have one of these devices, you’ll have to make the dreaded customer service call. Boo!
Here a list of the devices that currently have the automated app:
- Alcatel A30 Fierce, Fierce 4, Fierce XL, Tru
- Coolpad Catalyst, Defiant
- HTC Desire 530, Desire 626s
- Kyocera Hydro Wave
- LG Aristo, Aristo Cobalt Blue, Aristo 2, G Stylo, G Stylo White, K7, K20 Plus, Leon LTE, Stylo 2 Plus, Stylo 3 Plus, Stylo 3 Plus Titanium,
- Motorola e4
- Samsung Core Prime, Grand Prime, J3 Prime, J3 Prime Silver, J7, J7 Prime, J7 Prime 32GB, On5, S7 Black, S8, S9
- ZTE Avid 4, Avid PLUS, Avid Plus, Blade ZMAX, Obsidian
For all of you Apple fans out there, please note that none of the MetroPCS iPhones are listed above. So basically, if you have an iPhone, you’re going to have to make that call.
Nobody wants to spend the time to talk to customer service. But even the customer service call is a simple enough process.
If you can’t find your phone in that list, you’re going to have to prepare yourself for some human interaction.
So you’ll need to contact Metro by T-Mobile Customer Service or visit a Metro by T-Mobile Store and request the unlock code for the phone.
Make sure you have these handy first:
- The phone number of the handset you are unlocking
- The name on the account
- The account billing PIN
Call and text performance for MetroPCS mobile
As I mentioned earlier, MetroPCS was bought by T-Mobile and still uses its network to handle coverage.
MetroPCS will have a reliable performance wherever T-Mobile’s network has strong coverage. So, the call and text performance will depend primarily on your location.
When considering switching to a Metro by T-mobile plan, I strongly recommend that you look over the coverage map to determine if your area will be covered.
If your location is not covered, consider a different provider. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on those calls from your in-laws!
If your area is covered, then you can be sure your calls will go smoothly, and your messages will send with ease.
Data performance for MetroPCS mobile
When looking at carriers outside of the big 4 (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile), one may be worried that their data performance speeds may not be up to snuff.
For the most part, with MetroPCS, this isn’t something you need to be concerned about, but there is one downside.
You won’t be able to stream HD. This might be a deal-breaker for some.
But other than that, MetroPCS boasts some of the best downloads and upload performance outside of the big four carriers.
Check out this data speed test:
With a download speed of 32.8Mbps and an upload speed of 13Mbps, MetroPCS will have you covered with a performance comparable to that of Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
Of course, this is only true where you have coverage. Areas with weaker or now coverage will have an impact on your data performance.
How’s MetroPCS insurance?
MetroPCS insurance comes in the form of the Premium Handset Protection program. But you should be aware from the start that this program is offered only to new Metropcs devices.
If you brought your own device or are using a reactivated Metropcs device, then these devices are NOT eligible for the program.
If you’re eligible and decide to apply the program to your plan, then you’ll receive a comprehensive insurance plan.
This plan will cover your device against:
- Physical damage
- Liquid damage
- Mechanical or electrical breakdown AFTER the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.
Keep this in mind:
If you want this program added to your plan, then you have to act fast.
MetroPCS states that you can only sign up for the program within 7 days from the date of activation or upgrade.
Best places to shop for MetroPCS
The best place to shop for MetroPCS is… in-store, of course! A MetroPCS store will always be the best place to shop for Metro — for self-explainable reasons.
Unfortunately, there’s not much shopping to do on the MetroPCS website. It is, however, an excellent place to purchase their universal Metropcs SIM card kit.
So, if you already have a device, you don’t even need to leave your house.
The main MetroPCS website is also a great resource to find out what kind of deals the company is currently running.
Whether you’re looking to purchase a phone or shop around for a new Metropcs plan, your local MetroPCS store is going to be your best bet. But, there are some other alternatives.
If you don’t quite have a store conveniently located near you, don’t freak out just yet. Walmart and Bestbuy also carry a selection of MetroPCS plans and compatible phones on their websites and at their stores.
How MetroPCS stacks up with the competition
MetroPCS isn’t the only prepaid mobile provider out there. It still has competition within its weight class.
And Metro even keeps up with the most significant four carriers when it comes to data speeds. Metro by T-mobile simply blows all of the other budget phone carriers out of the water.
Here’s one reason why:
MetroPCS boasts powerful data performance comparable to the top four carriers in the US.
Aside from being the champion of prepaid data performance, the extra features included with Metropcs plans give it a serious edge over the competition.
Depending on the plan you choose you’ll get some pretty cool bonus features like:
- Amazon Prime
- 100GB of Google One
- Hotspot data
- Unlimited music streaming
Metropcs plans have some of the best in unlimited and limited data plans, amongst other prepaid plans. The pricing of MetroPCS makes it an exceptional option for money conscious customers.
Unlike some of its competitors, such as Boost or Virgin Mobile, MetroPCS doesn’t cheat you out by capping its data speeds. This assures that you’ll get to enjoy the full speed of the T-Mobile based network as long as you choose an unlimited plan.
That beloved T-mobile network also plays a role in giving MetroPCS a competitive edge.
The large and powerful T-Mobile network gives MetroPCS users access to a better performing network than other prepaid mobile service customers.
Seriously, check it out for yourself:
Notice how Metro is even kicking Sprint’s butt when it comes to performance? That’s incredible.
And then beneath you can see the underperforming Straight Talk, Cricket, and Boost competitors.
Metro by T-mobile is a prepaid US carrier champion.
How is the customer service with MetroPCS?
How is the customer service with any mobile provider? This is a factor that’s often overlooked when choosing the right carrier. But it’s a big one, especially when you come across your first reason to get ahold of them.
It’s unfortunately common to see negative reviews of mobile providers’ customer service.
MetroPCS doesn’t escape this trope. As with most other mobile providers, your customer service experience can be hit or miss.
A quick google search will show you that Metropcs has an average of about 3-star customer service reviews.
Luckily for you, Metropcs customer service offers 24/7 support, so when your phone is having issues playing videos at 3 in the morning, you can do something about it.
Well, you can at least try anyway.
Jokes aside, MetroPCS’ customer service is no better or worse than most mobile providers. All carriers could use some improvement here, especially when it comes to their 24/7 support lines. But, for the most part, Metro should be able to help you handle whatever problems you may experience.
The final verdict on choosing Metro by T-mobile
Choosing the right carrier for you comes down to personal preference.
What one person likes, you may not. But, regardless of preference, Metro is keeping up with the competition and punching above its weight class.
The statistics are there to back it up.
They’re not perfect by any means, but when it comes to budget carriers, MetroPCS has got the crown.