It looks like T-Mobile will keep “playing that game” after all. The nation’s scrappiest wireless carrier saw intense customer backlash late last week when it announced that it was eliminating its employer discount program that offered big discounts to subscribers who work at one of many large companies. Positioned as a move that would level the playing field and offer T-Mobile’s standard pricing to all customers, CEO John Legere said that the old employer discount program was “designed to help big carriers close big corporate contracts, with employees as bargaining chips.”
Legere continued, “We aren’t playing that game anymore. This change is about simplifying wireless for everyone … including employees of small and large companies alike.”
After fielding thousands of complaints from subscribers across the country, however, T-Mobile had a change of heart.
“Good news. Tomorrow we will announce that current corp customer employees can keep their discounts,” T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer Mike Sievert wrote in a tweet on Tuesday night. “New plan will apply to new customers.”
UPDATE: It’s official — T-Mobile CEO John Legere has updated his original blog post with the following note:
Listening to customers is what makes us the Un-carrier. In fact, the simple act that first ignited the Un-carrier revolution was that we listened to customers — what they want, what they need, what frustrates them about this crazy industry. That was the spark.
Over the past couple days, I’ve been doing a lot of listening to our customers. And, we’ve decided to update our implementation plan for the changes I announced to the Advantage Program. Everyone enrolled in the Advantage Program or who applied to enroll before April 1st will be able to keep a rate plan discount as long as they work at a participating employer and remain on a qualifying plan. All of our Simple Choice plans currently qualify. We will be asking that customers participate in a simple annual online employer verification. That’s it.
Listen, I still believe that complicated rate plan discounts and backroom deals with big corporations are unfair and part of what needs changing in the US wireless industry. And, I meant what I said: we’re not going to play that game anymore. As of April 1, new customers in these programs can get a $25 Reward Card whenever they buy a device. We’re moving away from the notion of different prices for different customers, so we can invest in providing simplicity and value to all customers.
As America’s Un-carrier we’re never going to stop listening and learning and – most importantly – changing what needs fixing in wireless. You have my word on that.