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T-Mobile's new family plan is cheaper than AT&T's, but won't be for everyone

T-Mobile's new family plan is cheaper than AT&T's, but won't be for everyone

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T-Mobile thinks it's come up with a family plan that "blows away" anything from the competition. Today the carrier announced a new, 4-line plan that includes 10GB of data for $100 per month. The Simple Choice Family Plan will be available beginning July 30th and T-Mobile will accept signups for through September. After that, the $100 / 10GB pricing will remain in effect "until 2016."

True to form, CEO John Legere wasted no time attempting to shame his company's rivals on Twitter. He primarily focused on AT&T and what the second-largest US carrier has recently called its own "best-ever" family plan pricing. "The family is going to go broke," Legere said of AT&T's $160 offering. Legere claims T-Mobile's new solution will save families $1,440 over the course of two years. It will also include "Uncarrier" luxuries like unlimited music streaming and international data.

But there's an important catch. When your family pays AT&T or Verizon $160 for 10GB of data, you get to use that data any way you'd like. That's really the fundamental idea behind "shared" data. But it's not the case with T-Mobile. Instead, each of the four lines has a hard data limit of 2.5GB. After any member of your family crosses that threshold, they'll experience reduced data speeds (except when using popular music apps). So T-Mobile's new plan is definitely cheaper than what rivals will give you, but it's also less convenient since everyone gets the same data bucket. For example, if you stream Netflix a ton, tough luck: you'll get the same 2.5GB limit as every other member of your family. If your parents are only using their allotment to check Facebook and read email, you can see how this plan starts to lose some luster. But it's only $100, so if you can make it work — and plenty of people likely can — it's worth a look.