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T-Mobile’s latest Uncarrier move draws fire from subscribers as prices rise

Updated Apr 1st, 2014 10:54AM EDT
T-Mobile Employer Discount Plan

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T-Mobile waited until Friday afternoon last week to announce its latest “Uncarrier” move, and now it looks like we know why: Hundreds or even thousands of T-Mobile subscribers have taken to Twitter, Reddit and other online forums to voice their frustrations as T-Mobile puts an end to a program that was saving thousands of customers a substantial amount of money on their wireless bills.

“Beginning April 1, T-Mobile will be moving away from employer rate plan discounts and replacing them with a T-Mobile reward card of $25 each time an employee purchases a new device,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere wrote in note on the carrier’s blog. “It’s simple, clear and transparent – like everything we do. For a family of four who upgrade their devices once a year, that’s as much as $100 off.  $200 if they upgrade twice a year.”

Legere went on to explain why the old employer discount program existed.

“The old programs were designed to help big carriers close big corporate contracts, with employees as bargaining chips,” Legere said. “We aren’t playing that game anymore. This change is about simplifying wireless for everyone … including employees of small and large companies alike.”

The executive then claimed that T-Mobile’s standard Simple Choice plan is still a better deal than the “best plans with fat corporate discounts” offered by rival wireless carriers.

T-Mobile is positioning the new change as a noble act that levels the playing field by offering the same rates to all subscribers, but many customers who had been taking advantage of T-Mobile’s employer discount program don’t see it that way.

The new rate change going into effect on April 1st will see many affected subscribers’ monthly bills climb by $100, $150 or even more per line each year, and people have taken to social networks, Howard Forums, the comments section on tech blogs, and elsewhere to vent their frustrations.

“Sad to say looking for plans with @ATT since @Tmobile took away employee discounts,” one person wrote on Twitter. “ATT is now cheaper w/ my employee discount, go figure.” He went on to explain that he had been saving $16 per month with an employer discount plan, which would mean the cost of his service is about to increase by $192 per year.

“Sorry, I’ll be taking my dollars elsewhere when my contract is up,” another person wrote. “Killing the corporate discount was a bad move.”

CEO John Legere has even been targeted on Twitter with hundreds of complaints from subscribers whose monthly service will now become more expensive due to this new change.

Of note, military and government discount plans are not impacted by the change, so T-Mobile is indeed still “playing that game” to some degree.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.