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T-Mobile’s new $100, 10GB family plan drops shared data in favor of individual buckets

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Need a wireless family data plan on the cheap? T-Mobile’s new option may just fit the bill. As part of its series of “disruptive” Un-carrier Amped announcements, the carrier unveiled a new, 10GB multi-line subscription offering at what it calls “an unprecedented price.”

The new plan, which starts at $100 a month for two lines, includes talk, text, and two distinct allotments 10GB of 4G LTE, one for each line. T-Mobile says that last bit’s the kicker: the plan’s data is allocated individually instead of being deducted from a single, unified bucket. Basically, you can burn through or conserve them to your heart’s content without worrying about stepping on toes.

T-Mobile says not only does the new plan provide a better per-line experience than the competition’s shared data plans, but it’s a better value, too. Additional lines are $20 more per person, which amounts to $140 a month for a family of four. Verizon’s cheapest 10GB shared plan runs about the same — $140 a month — but gives you in effect less data: 10GB among four lines versus T-Mobile’s 10GB per line.

“Why share Verizon’s 10GB with everyone when you can have 10GB […] all to yourself?” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere in a related press release. “We’re bringing sanity to family plans and peace of mind to data-hungry families.”

T-Mobile’s also touting the new plan as transparently priced. Rates include the fees that some carriers charge in addition to base plan pricing — AT&T and Verizon, for example, leverage a $15 monthly per-line surcharge on subscribers to their respective shared data family plans. But despite what T-Mobile would have you believe, its new plan isn’t the thriftiest four-line plan out there — Sprint’s Family Share Pack is still the best value among the big four postpaid carriers at $100 for 20GB. But that data’s shared among all four lines, a conceded disadvantage.

To kick off its new plan, T-Mobile’s offering the fourth line of four-member plans for free through Labor Day. That promotional pricing will expire, the company says, and amounts to a discounted rate $30 per line ($120 a month total). Both new subscribers and current Simple Choice family customers are eligible to enroll.

Say what you will about T-Mobile’s seemingly endless series of uncarrier stunts, but they seem to be having the desired effect. Last week, the carrier announced that it had added 2.1 million customers, a 41 percent year-over-year increase and the ninth straight quarter during which it gained more than 1 million new subscribers.

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