MetroPCS customers will be able to stream all the music they want without biting into their high-speed data.
The prepaid brand owned by T-Mobile announced on Monday three features designed to save customers from chewing up their data. One feature offers the ability to stream music without using any high-speed data. The second optimizes streaming video so subscribers can watch more of it and still remain within their data allowance. The third adds more high-speed data to certain plans and raises the amount of data customers can use via a mobile hotspot.
Looking to win over new customers and keep their current ones, carriers large and small have been cooking up new plans that better fit the habits of today’s smartphone users. Consumers have found smartphones to be a convenient way to watch videos and listen to music streamed over the Internet from the likes of Netflix, YouTube, ESPN and Spotify. Those streams, though, can quickly push people past their monthly data allotment, making for an unpleasant surprise when the bill arrives. A prepaid plan makes for greater predictability.
Using Music Unlimited, a feature equivalent to T-Mobile’s Music Freedom, MetroPCS subscribers with 3 gigabytes or more of 4G LTE data available on their plan can listen to any of 33 different music streaming services without tapping into their high-speed data. The feature supports Pandora, Apple Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio as well as smaller services, with more on the way.
Similar to T-Mobile’s Binge On, another feature known as Data Maximizer attempts to optimize the video MetroPCS subscribers stream to their phone so they can watch more of it without hitting their data limit. The goal is to ensure that video is still of DVD or better quality while reducing the amount of data used. MetroPCS claims customers can watch up to three times more streaming video with Data Maximizer turned on. Data Maximizer is optional, and customers can turn off the feature if they find the quality of video not up to snuff.
Finally, MetroPCS is adding 1GB of high-speed data to its $40 and $50 plans and is increasing the amount of data available for its mobile hotspot to 8GB from 6GB.
Customers can add an extra gigabyte of high-speed data for an additional $5 a month. If they go through their monthly allotment, there are no overages or additional fees, nor do they have their data cut off. But their high-speed 4G data is throttled to a lower speed for the remainder of the month.
MetroPCS competes with other prepaid carriers such as Sprint’s Boost and AT&T’s Cricket. All of them offer prepaid, contract-free plans with unlimited talk, text and data. However, if subscribers go beyond a certain ration of high-speed data, their speed is typically slowed down. Combining all the new features to preserve data is one way for MetroPCS to retain customers and outshine its rivals.