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Gas discounts and international data: here’s what T-Mobile’s adding to your plan

Gas discounts and international data: here’s what T-Mobile’s adding to your plan


T-Mobile’s hoping you have summer travel plans

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An illustration of the T-Mobile logo.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

T-Mobile is announcing some updated benefits it offers to customers who subscribe to its wireless plans, which it calls “Coverage Beyond.” Perhaps the most timely is a 25 cent per gallon discount on gas at Shell stations, which it’s offering via its T-Mobile Tuesday program. The company is also bringing upgrades to the international and in-flight data benefits for customers.

For the gas discount, T-Mobile’s fine print says it’s good for “up to 20 gallons,” which is the same limit the company put on its fuel rewards for Shell in the past (though those only knocked 10 or 15 cents off per gallon). The promotion will last from June 21st “through the week of Labor Day,” according to T-Mobile spokesperson Brandy Sloan and is available to customers with “qualifying plans.” The carrier is also offering a free year’s membership with the American Automobile Association, or AAA, which offers roadside assistance like towing, jumpstarts, and its own set of travel-related discounts.

Most T-Mobile customers are getting faster international internet — but the upgrade for Magenta Max customers is huge

As for the changes to T-Mobile’s international data plans, this is where things get a little complex. T-Mobile says that Magenta Max customers (and Business Unlimited Ultimate customers) will get 5GB of high-speed data each month in over 210 countries. Previously, Magenta Max subscribers could expect speeds around 256kbps in most countries. Now, they’ll get “the highest speed data available, including 5G,” according to T-Mobile’s announcement video. Obviously, this is describing the best-case scenario; your speeds will depend on the coverage wherever you’re visiting.

Screenshot of a slide showing that T-Mobile Magenta Max customers get 5G high-speed data across the world
The data in those European countries comes courtesy of a partnership with Deutsche Telekom.
Image: T-Mobile

Regular Magenta customers are getting that same deal, but it’s limited to 11 European countries: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. In the approximately 199 other countries, Magenta customers and most other T-Mobile subscribers can expect to get around 256kbps speeds. That is, however, an upgrade. Before now, non-Max customers were getting around half that when traveling internationally.

T-Mobile doesn't seem to be changing the deal for data in Mexico and Canada; just like before, Magenta and Magenta Max customers will get 5GB of “high-speed data,” along with unlimited texts and calls. Essentials subscribers will get 2G speeds in the two countries.

The company is also expanding its free in-flight Wi-Fi offering, and it’s adding support for streaming video on some flights. Starting on June 21st, T-Mobile’s Magenta customers will have access to internet on select Delta, American, and Alaska Airlines flights. The carrier says this benefit will also be coming to United Airlines in the future. 

Like with international data, the plan isn’t the same for everyone. Magenta Max customers will get to use the internet for the entire flight for every flight they take that supports it. Magenta customers only get that perk on four flights a year; for their other flights, they’ll have a free hour of browsing time. Both will be able to stream video if it’s available.

Slide from T-Mobile saying that it’s offering coverage for more airlines, flights, and improving connectivity
T-Mobile is promising “more” coverage and features compared to its old in-flight Wi-Fi offerings.
Image: T-Mobile

T-Mobile has offered in-flight connectivity before through Gogo Inflight Internet, but that brand is... kind of sort of gone when it comes to providing Wi-Fi for commercial flights since Gogo sold that part of its business to a bankrupt satellite operator called Intelsat. Sloan said that T-Mobile’s upgraded offering is launching with Intelsat but that it’ll be adding additional providers throughout the year. Under the old plan, Max subscribers already had access to unlimited Wi-Fi, with regular Magenta users getting a free hour of internet with unlimited texting — but neither tier allowed you to stream from most video services. T-Mobile also says that its new agreements let it expand the number of flights and airlines it can offer in-flight Wi-Fi on.