T-Mobile $15/mo plan launches early over coronavirus

T-Mobile has pulled forward the launch of its cheapest smartphone plan, slicing months off the timeline to offer $15 per month service. The launch – which also sees a new Metro by T-Mobile plan arriving – comes as many Americans find themselves working from home, furloughed, or unemployed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The carrier announced T-Mobile Connect in November 2019, as part of its commitment to maintain competitive pricing even after the merger with Sprint. The prepaid plan is priced at $15 per month, and includes unlimited talk and text, along with 2GB of high-speed smartphone data. A second version, priced at $25 per month, kicks the data allowance up to 5GB.

Originally, the intention had been to launch T-Mobile Connect after the T-Mobile and Sprint merger closed. Now, though, that timeline has been slashed, given the current need for more ubiquitous connectivity. At the same time, there's a second new plan under the Metro brand.

The $15 per month Metro by T-Mobile rate plan is half the price of the previous cheapest plan. It'll be that way for the next 60 days, the carrier says. Like the T-Mobile Connect plan, it'll include unlimited talk and text, plus 2GB of high-speed smartphone data.

For those who don't already have a device, Metro will be bundling an 8-inch tablet with a $15/month unlimited table data plan, for either new or current customers with a voice line. The MetroSmart Hotspot range of devices will be half price for the next 60 days, and the $35 per month hotspot data plan will be doubling its data allowance to 20GB for that period, too.

T-Mobile Tuesdays are now practicing social distancing

The other big COVID-19 change is how T-Mobile Tuesdays works. Normally, that offers things like cut-price theater tickets, but at a time when we're being told to stay home and avoid crowds, that doesn't make sense.

Instead, it's pivoting during the pandemic to activities that can be enjoyed at home. The first of those benefits, launching tomorrow, March 24th, will be a free two-month subscription to YouTube Premium if you're an Un-carrier subscriber. There'll also be a four-week course from Shaw Academy thrown in, too.

Getting online is getting fraught

The hotspot and mobile data news may well have the biggest implications for customers right now. Those with families may be facing home-schooling now, while employees working from home will need their home connection to pick up the slack. At the same time, social distancing in general means services like Netflix and YouTube could see significant increases in traffic.