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T-Mobile is going truly all-in on unlimited plans

January 5th, 2017 at 3:01 PM
T-Mobile Unlimited Plan

T-Mobile has been pushing the T-Mobile One plan since introducing it earlier this year, but starting later this month, T-Mobile is putting its money when John Legere’s rather rude mouth is. As of January 22nd, T-Mobile will only sell the T-Mobile One plan, and the advertised price will include all taxes and fees.

T-Mobile’s Uncarrier presentation was all about simplicity. The product they’re selling is the same, the kinda-unlimited T-Mobile One plan that costs around $40 per line, if you have a family of five all on T-Mobile.

The One plan is a good fit for most people, although if you’re a heavy user of your mobile hotspot or high-definition video, it will cost you more.

For light users, T-Mobile is introducing a feature called T-Mobile KickBack. For each line that uses less than 2GB of data, users will get a $10-per-month bill credit. That can potentially drop the cost of an extra line to $10 per month, which is decent for an extra tablet or a spare smartphone.

T-Mobile is targeting this hard at families or other large groups — each additional line on T-Mobile One gets cheaper, so while it’s a little expensive for a single user, the cost of one more line is dirt cheap.

The only billing change that T-Mobile is promising here is to include all applicable taxes and fees in the advertised price of T-Mobile One. We’re going to wait until January 22nd to see if that’s really true, though, since a footnote from T-Mobile’s press release still seems to mention some taxes and fees:

“T-Mobile ONE General Terms: Credit approval, deposit and$20 SIM starter kit or, in stores & on customer service calls, upgrade support charge may be required. Monthly Regulatory Programs (RPF) & Telco Recovery Fee (TRF) totaling $2.71 per voice line ($0.60 for RPF & $2.11 for TRF) and $0.98 per data only line ($0.15 for RPF & $0.83 for TRF) may apply on first bill; taxes/fees approx. 6–28% of first bill. Charges + tax apply for calls to other countries.”

During its presentation, T-Mobile hit out hard at other carriers, mostly focusing on the cost and complexity of Verizon and AT&T. It does have a point, but it’s worth remembering that T-Mobile is far from perfect. It’s been hit with fines from the FCC related to misleading advertising, and also leads all the other carriers in FTC complaints.

Those complaints, by the way, are related to extra or unwanted charges on bills — not exactly the radical transparency and simplicity that T-Mobile is promising.

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