T-Mobile Will Sell One-Day “HD Passes” For $3; Unlimited HD Passes For $25/Month

Earlier this month, T-Mobile announced it was doing away with multiple data plans. Instead, its new T-Mobile One plan sells voice, data, and text messaging for a single price — with the condition that the speed of the video content streamed to your phone is automatically capped so that it’s not full HD. Now the company that just did away with tiers of service is… introducing a new tier of service: T-Mobile One Plus.

To recap: The T-Mobile One plan, which hasn’t launched yet but will go live on Sept. 1, doesn’t have data caps or even monthly data allotments. However, like T-Mo’s previous Binge On program that didn’t charge users for streaming video from a number of services, it streams video in standard definition rather than full HD.

Today, the company announced two ways for One subscribers to get HD video. First is through one-day “HD Passes” that cost $3 a pop.

The second option had been previously announced, but not given a name. Now it’s known as “T-Mobile One Plus,” a $25/month add-on plan of bonus features for T-Mobile One subscribers that includes unlimited HD Passes.

Note the phrasing there. It’s not “unlimited HD,” but “unlimited HD Passes,” meaning you’ll have to toggle the HD video quality on for 24 hours each time you want to watch a high-quality video over the T-Mobile network.

The utility of that feature will probably depend on how you choose to watch video on your phone. Given the size of most phone screens, the noticeable quality difference between HD and standard definition on your phone may not be worth the price. Additionally, if you do most of your mobile video watching over a WiFi network — at home, in the office — then paying $25 for the chance that you really might need to watch Stranger Things in HD on your phone while at the park might be a waste of money.

However, for people who travel frequently or work from the road, One Plus has additional features included that may be of interest, like unlimited 4G LTE mobile hotspot data.

So if your hotel WiFi stinks (hint: it probably does) or you don’t like the idea of sending work documents over public networks, you could tether your laptop to your T-Mobile phone. Again, ask yourself how frequently you would actually need this feature before ponying up the extra $25 for One Plus.

For international travelers, T-Mobile One already includes the company’s Simple Global plan, which includes free data roaming and cheap calls in 140 countries (#WhatAboutAndorra). However, most of that international data roaming is at pretty cruddy 2G speeds. One Plus ups that access to more manageable 3G speeds. Once more, some people will get a lot more use out of this feature than others.

With the $25/month cost, the lowest monthly rate for T-Mobile One Plus subscribers would be $95/month for a single line.