T-Mobile, also known as the “Uncarrier,” has been doing some great work over the past couple of years and has really been pushing the industry forward with its various “Uncarrier” initiatives — from getting rid of data overages to contract freedom. This week the company announced Uncarrier 12, and it’s a mixed bag to say the least…
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With Uncarrier 12, T-Mobile is completely eliminating data buckets, and giving every single customer unlimited data — or, in other words, T-Mobile wants this to be the one plan to rule them all. Sounds good at first, right? Of course it does! Unlimited, full speed data for a single price is — or, would be — awesome, but there’s a lot more to all of this than the marketing material will tell you.
So first off, let’s go over this new pricing structure. For the first line, customers will pay $70 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data. After that the second line is $50, with later lines landing at $20 a piece up to 8 lines. Pretty straight forward, until you read the fine print. With this new plan, customers have literally no choice in using or not using Binge On. That means every video will be limited to 480p. Want HD video? That’ll be an extra $25 a month per line. Per. Line.
Still, $95 a month (assuming you get for unlimited data isn’t too bad, until you see that it’s not truly unlimited. During high traffic times, T-Mobile will throttle users who have used over 26GB of data in their billing cycles. Further, the included “unlimited tethering” also isn’t really unlimited. Connected devices will only be able to use 2G speeds, unless you pay another $15 a month, where you still only get 5GB of high-speed tethering.
So yeah, this plan is “unlimited”, as long as you don’t want HD video, don’t want to actually take full advantage of your excess of data, or want to tether at speeds that don’t make you want to pull your hair out.
T-Mobile points out in its press release that the price per month for a family of four on Verizon’s biggest LTE plan (XXL, 24GB/month) would be $530 a month, just over $6,000 a year. On T-Mobile, a family of 4 costs $160 for the base price. However, once you’ve added on HD video and 5GB of tethering per line, all of which is included in Verizon’s price, you end up with $320 a month for a family of four. That’s still a better price, but it’s $2,000 more per year compared to what T-Mobile’s marketing leads you to believe.
If this all sounds familiar, it should. This is the same kind of move that T-Mobile’s CEO loudly criticizes other carriers for constantly — it’s just under a different name. Sure, Verizon, AT&T, and everyone else might limit the amount of data you can use, but at least you can use that data however you want. By the way, in his announcement video, John Legere specifically says that “you should have the freedom to use your phone however the heck you want to use it”. Good job, John.
For the average person, this plan is probably fine, but this is also a plainly . T-Mobile says that “T-Mobile ONE” is unlimited. This plan is not unlimited, and it’s definitely not an “Uncarrier” move. At least not in the sense that it brings anything groundbreaking to give consumers a great mobile experience and shake up the industry.
Luckily, T-Mobile will give customers the option to stick with their current plans because the “choice is yours”. Ha.