domestic Stories April 14, 2014

T-Mobile says it will end domestic overages in May, petitions AT&T, Sprint, & Verizon to do the same

Following a number of new initiatives launched last week including its new Simple Starter plan and new perks for tablet users, T-Mobile issued a press release today calling for an end to overages and urging consumers to sign a petition for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon to do the same.

Traditional wireless plans start with a low monthly fee for a fixed amount of domestic minutes, texts or data.  Once consumers go over those limits – even by a little – they’re hit with dramatically higher rates and extreme penalties.  These plans seem purpose-built to drive customers over that invisible line into massive overage charges.

In the press release, the carrier noted it will end all domestic overages in starting in May for the June billing cycle (something we thought it was doing since the beginning of Uncarrier?). The wording also sounds a lot like it could continue to charge overages for international use.  T-Mobile’s new Simple Starter plan does not include the free international perks it unveiled for other plans last year, so it looks like the carrier is giving itself some room to continue charging overages for international use in some cases.

T-Mobile has been doing a lot of talking about ending overages, and its approach might be slightly more transparent than the other guys, but at the end of the day an overage is an overage and even T-Mobile charges some customers for more data. It’s new Simple Starter plan for example which caps at 500MB for LTE data, will force users to purchase $5/day or $10/week “additional data sessions.”

The company’s full press release is below.

domestic Stories April 9, 2014

T-Mobile’s new $40 plan gets you unlimited talk, text & 500MB of LTE data, no international perks

T-Mobile is about to kick off three days of announcements for new initiatives starting with a new $40 Simple Starter plan that it says is a first for a U.S. carrier. Starting on April 12, T-Mobile claims the new $40 plan will make it the first to offer “unlimited talk and text, and up to 500MB of 4G LTE data and tethering with no data overages” at that price point. In this case, since the LTE data isn’t unlimited, no overages isn’t entirely accurate. It  really means you’ll have to purchase additional data once you hit that 500MB cap for the month. In its press release, T-Mobile compared the new plan to AT&T’s entry-level plan:

T-Mobile contrasted its new flat-rate value plan against AT&T’s entry-level plan, whose costs immediately jump by $20 increments – in what amounts to a massive 44% price hike on those customers least able to absorb overages and bill shock. With Simple Starter, you’ll get a ton more data compared to AT&T’s 300MB, and you’ll never pay data overages again – ever. And with data capped at 500MB, you’ll never pay more until you choose to pay more – by purchasing additional data sessions whenever you like.

T-Mobile’s argument is that its method of charging for more data is more transparent than the other guys, but at the end of the day an overage is an overage and paying for more data will cost you $5/day or $10/week for T-Mobile’s “additional data sessions.” In reality, AT&T’s $45 300MB plan is comparable considering it only charges users $5 more for the next tier up, $50 for 1GB a month.

The new Simple Starter plan won’t, however, have access to the unlimited international data and texting perks that come with T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plans. They start at $50, $10 more than the new Simple Starter plan. There’s more about today’s announcement on T-Mobile CEO John Legere’s blog and the full press release below.

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