T-Mobile US accelerated the launch of low-cost smartphone tariffs originally set to debut after the close of its pending merger with Sprint, as part of its response to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Starting 25 March, T-Mobile customers will have access to tariffs offering unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data for $15 per month, or 5GB of data for $25 per month. Both plans include access to T-Mobile’s 5G network and will offer users an annual data upgrade, tacking on an additional 500MB to their monthly allowance every year for the next five years.

Customers on its Metro by T-Mobile prepaid service will also have access to a $15 plan offering similar service, though limited to two months. After that time, the tariff will automatically migrate to the brand’s $30 per month plan.

Metro by T-Mobile customers with voice service will also be offered a free 8-inch tablet with a $15 per month unlimited tablet data plan. Hotspot device prices will be halved, with a corresponding $35 per month tariff offering 20GB of data, double the usual amount, for the next two months.

Follow through
T-Mobile detailed plans to offer low-cost tariffs under the name T-Mobile Connect in November 2019, as part of attempts to overcome objections to the Sprint merger. The plans cover both 4G and 5G access, offering the latter to customers with compatible devices at no additional cost.

But with the transaction’s completion date up in the air, outgoing T-Mobile CEO John Legere (pictured) stated “we knew we couldn’t wait for the merger to finalise to launch”. He added “time is of the essence” in light of the ongoing pandemic, as people increasingly face financial strain from work stoppages.

The move builds on an earlier announcement it would remove data restrictions to all customers on legacy tariffs and double hotspot data allowances for post-paid customers to 20GB for 60 days.

Time limits on T-Mobile’s offers align with its temporary access to additional spectrum, on loan from broadcasters for two months. T-Mobile noted the additions allowed it to double total LTE capacity on the 600MHz band across the nation.