This morning T-Mobile hosted their 9th #uncarrier event - and while it wasn't as exciting for consumers as the past few announcements - rollover data in December, WiFi calling in September, or free music streaming last June - today's news still has plenty of potential to shake up the mobile industry.
The primary focus of the Un-Carrier 9.0 announcements today was "Un-Carrier for Business" - T-Mobile's new assault on winning over business customers, substantially undercutting Verizon and AT&T with clear and simple pricing for businesses with 10-1,000+ cellular lines.
Much more interesting for most of us - T-Mobile announced that they were bringing back contracts... with a twist.
Rather than having consumers sign long term contracts, T-Mobile is the one doing the signing.
From T-Mobile's press release:
Wireless customers don’t trust the carriers, and they have good reason. Nearly half of consumers and business owners surveyed say they’ve been offered a good deal by the carriers only to have their rates raised later. And, more than two-thirds of consumers and business owners believe their wireless rates will go up in the next two years.
With the Un-contract, T-Mobile is putting an end to price uncertainty − and flipping the very idea of the carrier contract on its head. Now, we sign the contract, you get the freedom.
“We’re the Un-carrier. Everything the carriers do, we un-do,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “The other guys have been throwing out all kinds of desperate, short-term promotions to suck you in and lock you down − only to jack up rates later. We’re not playing that game. The Un-contract is our promise to individuals, families and businesses of all sizes, that − while your price may go down − it won’t go up.”
The un-contract kicks in March 22nd for all existing T-Mobile Simple Choice customers, permanently capping prices on every plan. And all current and future promotional plans are now permanent too - with future expiration dates canceled. If you have a promotional plan you like - you can keep it forever.
The only un-contract catch is around Unlimited Data. T-Mobile acknowledged that they can't predict just what "unlimited" will mean to customers years in the future, so they are only promising to not raise unlimited data plan rates for a minimum of two years.
Carrier Freedom, Business Family Discounts
A few more interesting tidbits from today's T-Mobile news.
First, T-Mobile's "Carrier Freedom" is extending their offer to pay off early termination fees for customers migrating to T-Mobile to include paying off devices financed on installment plans like AT&T's Next, or even Sprint's long-term leases. T-Mobile will pay up to $650 per line to help get you onto their network.
Second - T-Mobile is now offering substantial "Business Family Discounts". If you have a family member who has a line on a T-Mobile business account, you can now put the rest of the family on a Simple Choice plan at up to 50% off.
This discount is not automatic - so if you have a family member with a T-Mobile business line, be sure to call and ask for the savings.
T-Mobile for RVers
T-Mobile's biggest challenge for RVers remains coverage - and they again today acknowledged that they have a way to go to catch up with Verizon and AT&T. But T-Mobile has been expanding fast, and they are increasingly viable as a secondary network on board.
Perhaps in a few more years, they will be a viable primary choice as well.