Hello everyone. There is a lot of confusion about this plan and I wanted to help clear some up with my own experiences. I am going to be writing a very thorough account so please bare with me. Before I begin my review, let me give a brief history of my background with T-Mobile.
I was originally a contract AT&T customer. I switched to T-Mobile and ported my number by choosing a $80 unlimited everything POST-paid plan. I even traded in my AT&T-bought Galaxy Note 2 to get a T-Mobile Note 3 at the retail store. After a month of usage, I realized that I was not using my unlimited services as much as I thought and decided to switch to this plan to save money.
I first read a lot of reviews and articles about this plan to make sure 1) it was still being offered and 2) it was doable for an already existing T-Mobile customer. I would recommend that if you are reading my review, you at least confirm #1 before buying this service. This $30 service is being hidden by T-Mobile since it is Walmart exclusive and they can remove it anytime.
To actually get this plan is quite easy, the difficulty comes in the activation of the plan. First off, you do NOT need to buy a Walmart phone. You do NOT need to buy physically from a Walmart store (you can order online). You do NOT need to be a new customer and you can most definitely port over your current (or old) number to this prepaid plan. I was an already existing post-paid T-mobile customer with a T-Mobile specific phone that I bought elsewhere and I managed to keep my old number. Oh, and I ordered online and had it shipped to my home.
The way I got this plan set up was by first buying this product here in Walmart, see link (http://www.walmart.com/ip/T-Mobile-Micro-SIM-Activation-Kit/24099996). This Activation Kit came with the MICRO-sim (check your sim size please!), all the necessary resources needed to activate the sim, and $30 of prepaid service for a month. The one I'm typing in now, I believe, is an EMAIL confirmation of the $30 refill. It is NOT the sim card or anything else. This is for when you already have the service and want to reload again. You need the activation kit above to start the service.
After receiving my order from Walmart in less than a week, I went online to www.t-mobile.com/prepaidactivation (it's in the pamphlet that comes in your Walmart package) and followed the instructions on the site to activate the service. Before I got to the payment portion of the site, I didn't need to pay anything and just left that section empty because my prepaid account was now active and already paid for.
I then called T-Mobile customer service, had them transfer me to the prepaid department and I mentioned my story. I was a existing POST-paid T-mobile customer that needed to transfer to PRE-paid service by adding the $30 plan I got from Walmart. Lastly I needed to port over my number.
This is where it gets tricky. You might get unlucky and get unintelligent representatives that do not understand your request. Or you might get lucky like me and manage to get it set up in 3 calls. If everything is done correctly, the representative should transfer your account (or create a new one) to prepaid and then you must wait 24 hours (its actually less, like 30 minutes to 3 hours) to receive a text message to confirm everything went through okay. Just make sure you replace your old sim card with the new Walmart micro-sim card and restart your phone to receive that text message. You should also test your phone by calling it from a different phone to make sure you get connection with the new sim. If everything is working, you are good to go.
All in all, I had a pretty easy installation. I got my service and it's exactly as advertised. If you're coming from POST-paid like me, remember that prepaid has a lot less features than POST-paid (no caller ID for $3.99/mo, no JUMP! program, etc). Just a two final tips to those that want to save even more money:
From my understanding, prepaid services include NO taxes so long as you do NOT use any t-mobile services to pay your bill (phone, internet, etc). This also includes AUTO-REPAY (auto-drafting from your bank account every month). If you auto-repay, you will have to pay tax, at least from what the representative told me. If you use an authorized reload center however (ex: a check-cashing place), then you may or may not be taxed. There's a check-cashing place that is 30 minutes away from me that reloads prepaid T-mobile free of charge. So if your lucky, you might just have to pay a FLAT $30 and avoid all taxes and charges altogether saving even more money.
Lastly, all the major phone carriers charge taxes based on your AREA CODE not your actual address. Meaning if you have an area code from New York, you will be charged New York State taxes (which are high). But technically, if you can change your area code (and phone number) to a state with low state taxes, then you will be taxed less. All you have to do after that is call customer service and let them know you want to enroll in paperless billing, so they don't mail anything to your address (that is clearly not in that area code). I don't know if this is legal or not, you can research more through google. But just an added tip for you guys.
Anyways, I hope my detailed review was helpful to someone. Enjoy your new savings!