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T-Mobile will quietly hike prices to Verizon levels

T-Mobile Unlimited vs Verizon

According to a post on Reddit and T-Mobile retail employees who talked to BGR, T-Mobile is planning on increasing the price of the One Plus add-on this week. One Plus currently costs $5 a month, and T-Mobile’s planning on bumping that up to $10.

The add-on buys T-Mobile customers a bunch of features that are already standard on Verizon’s base unlimited plan, including 10GB of tethering hotspot data, HD video streaming, better international roaming speeds, and free Wi-Fi on planes.

The hotspot data and HD video streaming are both perks that you get with Verizon’s base plan, and are arguably necessities for heavy users. Without the One Plus perk, T-Mobile’s plan is significantly cheaper than Verizon’s: The T-Mobile One plan is $70 a month for one line, whereas Verizon is $80. Four lines on T-Mobile is $160, whereas Verizon is $180. But add $10 per line for the One Plus promo, and T-Mobile is the same price for one line, and $20 a month more expensive for a family of four.

Sure, T-Mobile’s plan also includes taxes and fees, which can be as much as $10 per line on Verizon, depending where you live. But having the same price isn’t great for T-Mobile: Verizon’s network is more reliable and has demonstrably better coverage than T-Mobile’s, so anyone who travels to rural areas (or lives there!) is going to get a better network for the same price by going with Verizon.

This price hike, which could be coming as soon as tomorrow, is the latest in a string of tiny but noticeable changes to T-Mobile’s pricing strategy in the last year. The company has quietly increased rates for calling overseas, started charging for dialing in to conference call lines, and even ramped up the SIM activation fee, the very existence of which T-Mobile CEO John Legere once described as “bullshit.”

All in all, T-Mobile is looking less and less like an Uncarrier, and more like the companies it was once waging war on. What could make things much worse is a rumored merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, which would kill off the cheapest network in the country (Sprint) and remove any incentive for T-Mobile to even pretend to compete with Verizon and AT&T on price.