Saturday, January 7, 2017

T-Mobile wants to pay you for data you don't use and make customer bills much simpler

At a media event coinciding with CES 2017 in Las Vegas, T-Mobile just announced what it’s been teasing in recent weeks as Uncarrier Next. It’s not quite as radical or “big” as Music Freedom or Binge On. Instead, T-Mobile is getting much more transparent about the hidden taxes and fees that often hike up a consumer’s wireless bill. The carrier isn’t getting rid of those costs; beginning January 22nd, T-Mobile is including them in a flat, all-included T-Mobile One plan. What you see advertised is what you’ll pay, according to John Legere.

Additionally, T-Mobile is launching a new program called KickBack. The company will now pay back customers on T-Mobile One who use 2GB or less in a month with a $10 credit on their next bill — something reminiscent of what Google’s Project Fi offers.

Today’s news follows T-Mobile’s last big initiative, Digits, which allows customers to use numerous phone numbers on the same device or share one number across several gadgets. Digits is currently in beta and is expected to widely roll out this year.

But that was just one addition to a long line of “Uncarrier” initiatives that began at CES 2014, when John Legere’s brash, straight-talking stage style. Legere referenced that time period — when T-Mobile’s business prospects looked bleak — at the beginning of his presentation. Since then, T-Mobile has catapulted to the third-largest US carrier.

T-Mobile says that from this month forward, all of the postpaid plans it sells will offer an unlimited amount of data. T-Mobile will stop offering plans with data limits as of January 22nd, only offering its “unlimited” T-Mobile One plans. The carrier telegraphed this move several months back, when it first unveiled the new plan’s branding, but it’s only now fully removing other options.

Confusingly enough, T-Mobile has two One plans, and both have restrictions on their “unlimited” data use. So while T-Mobile is simplifying things with one hand, it’s adding odd new restrictions with the other. Most notably, its unlimited data plans both limit video streaming to 480p unless you activate a 24-hour “HD pass.”

While T-Mobile won’t be selling postpaid plans with data caps, it will still offer prepaid plans with specific data limits.

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