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Sorry, but T-Mobile’s new Netflix offer isn’t the great deal T-Mobile makes it out to be

Zach Epstein
September 8th, 2017 at 11:23 AM
T-Mobile Free Netflix

T-Mobile calls itself the “Uncarrier,” and the company has found tremendous success with this new campaign. The wireless carrier has positioned itself as a scrappy underdog out to right all the wrongs Verizon and AT&T subscribers have endured for years. The impressive part is that T-Mobile has actually managed to instigate broad changes across the industry that do indeed benefit consumers, and cellular carriers are far more transparent as a result. But amid all of the dust T-Mobile CEO John Legere kicks up each time the carrier makes any announcements, people often forget that T-Mobile is a business first and foremost.

As a public company, T-Mobile has a duty to its shareholders. And while the carrier’s new free Netflix offer is positioned as a great deal for customers, it’s really not a good deal at all.

T-Mobile on Wednesday announced its latest endeavor to keep customers flowing in from its rival carriers. The offer seems simple enough — if you’re a T-Mobile subscriber with a T-Mobile ONE unlimited plan, you now get a free $9.99 Netflix subscription along with your cellular service. Sweet!

The carrier posted a lengthy press release alongside its announcement, and the verbiage and messaging are in line with other announcements T-Mobile has made in the past. In other words, it’s a lot to take in. Tossed in near the end, however, is one paragraph in particular that everyone seems to have missed:

To qualify, all you need are two or more paid voice lines on T-Mobile ONE with taxes and fees included. Even customers with free lines from the Un-carrier’s wildly popular recent “line-on-us” deals qualify. Customers on Unlimited 55+ or 2 lines for $100 can get Netflix On Us simply by switching to the latest T-Mobile ONE plan.

Specifically, the sentence that stings is this one: “Customers on Unlimited 55+ or 2 lines for $100 can get Netflix On Us simply by switching to the latest T-Mobile ONE plan.”

T-Mobile’s 2 lines for $100 promotion is by far the carrier’s best deal. As the name suggests, those who take advantage of the offer get two T-Mobile ONE lines, including all the unlimited goodies the carrier touts, for just $100. But here’s the thing: customers who took advantage of that awesome promo will need to change to “the latest T-Mobile ONE plan” in order to get free Netflix. Oh, and guess what… it looks like the 2 lines for $100 promo ends on the very same day the free Netflix offer goes live, so it’s no longer “the latest T-Mobile ONE plan.” Oops.

With that in mind, let’s look at the math. You can either keep paying $100 per month and get a $9.99 Netflix subscription for yourself, or you can switch to “the latest T-Mobile ONE plan” and pay $120 for two lines and a $9.99 Netflix subscription. So that’s $109.99 per month without the new Netflix promo, or $120 per month with it. The only way you save any money is if you have three or four lines on your account and you use autopay.

On its own, a $60-per-month plan that includes free Netflix is a very good value. The problem is T-Mobile’s misleading messaging. Like all of its other Uncarrier promotions, the company positioned this deal as a fantastic offer that will save subscribers even more money — and for some customers, that’s indeed the case. But for people who already took advantage of the best promo on the table right now at T-Mobile, getting in on the new Netflix offer would end up costing them more.

Last updated at 2:33 PM ET to clarify that the new promotion does offer savings for subscribers not on T-Mobile’s 2 lines for $100 deal.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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