T-Mobile (Uncarrier 001)

I gave T-Mobile a lot of props this past week for truly trying to break the mold and do something that no other carrier has done — offering free data to iPad users. I probably should have just kept my mouth shut until I was able to put its claims to the test.

That’s because When I walked into a T-Mobile store this morning, the reps told me that I needed to either be a paying phone customer, or pay $10 a month to claim my 200MB worth a free data. While I don’t blame T-Mobile for wanting to make money, this was the exact opposite of its “no strings attached” claims on its website and in the press.

This wasn’t just a one off. Every single T-Mobile store that I called this morning reiterated the idea that I needed to be a paying customer. All of them said the exact same thing, making it evident that it had to be a company line.

John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO, stated via Twitter that it was an “executional mistake.” But how can a mistake be so pervasive throughout the company, unless some of its leaders were pushing the idea?

Obviously, there’s no way to know for sure, but something tells me that T-Mobile would have just rolled with this if the customer outrage wasn’t so audible. Numerous blogs reported about customers, or potential customers, being dissatisfied with T-Mobile’ bait and switch technique, whether it was intentional or not.

Yes, T-Mobile has changed its tune, and hopefully will be honoring its free 200MB data plan for tablet users. But it didn’t come without losing much of the good will it built up among myself and countless others.

  • n0ahcruz3

    I love tmobile’s free data roaming. I travel alot so this is a big thumbs up for me.

  • Tommy Gumbs

    I originally planned on getting a T-moble version of the iPad air, but opted for an ATT version. I can now say that 200 MB is not enough. 250mb for 15 is to much money, but not enough data. I have had the tablet since this morning and I have already used 70mb, and I have not done anything except check a few email, and search a few web pages.

    I do think that I did it wrong, as I had cellular turned on all day. tomorrow I will keep it turned off, and only turn it on when I need it. If I use that much data again I am returning it and waiting for a JB to tether.

    • Nate McKelvie

      250 Mb is not nearly enough. I doubt leaving your cellular on is the reason you used 70mb could definitely go through 70mb if you had any attachments in your email.

      But why do you need jailbreak to tether? Even if your phone is on AT&T and you have to pay to tether it would only be $24.99 ( I believe ), unless maybe you have unlimited data grandfathered in, in which case as far as I know they will not allow you to tether, and I had a buddy who got caught for tethering with jailbroken iphone 5 and they threatened to take his unlimited data if he kept it up

      • Tommy Gumbs

        I am grandfathered, and I have been tethering for years and never had anything happen. I only use about 3 to 4 gig a months, and that is a “high usage” month.

      • Nate McKelvie

        Oh yeah that’s not even on the radar, my buddy was using much more than that lol. I wish I still had my unlimited data, it’s a long story involving my ex of why I cancelled the plan, but had I known back then how drastically things would change data wise I would never have cancelled the account. One of my biggest mistakes

      • YzMENTALzY

        Man u lot in america are getting ripped off hard… For £15 12month rolling contract we get unlimited data with 3 network including tethering and its fast too with no throttle (from my experience) i have a iphone sim in my ipad and another in my iphone 5 and both offer me 2000minutes 5000 texts 5000 3-3 calls and all you can eat data my iphone is more expensive as it cost me £0 for 64GB iphone so £54 a month and ipad is £15 a month but i dont use minutes on that just the net and thats worth it even if they didnt give me the minutes i use waaay over 40-60 a month easily and its brilliant.

    • Jack Wong

      I have 3 exchange mailboxes(work) and 1 imap(personal), 3weeks into the monthly billing cycle, I have used ~120mb.

      ~5hours navigation, ~12mb.

      • Rowan09

        You have to get the right app and it gives you an option to hide your tethering. It’s called PDA Net.

      • Jack Wong

        I am not going to risk my unlimited data plan for that.

        I was able to get that off once… I don’t want to argue with them on phone again…

        Moreover, since 4G LTE, I have been using 5GB-8GB per month, back to 3G, ~1GB because it was so slow…

      • truncj

        Nope, AT&T can detect tethering beyond what PDA Net uses to “hide” tethering. PDA Net only resets the TTL & header values on tier 1 and changes the useragent on tier 2. Thats not how they’re actually detecting unauthorized tethering.

      • Rowan09

        Oh ok. I don’t use it anymore since I’m on T-mobile I get tethering included with my plan, but I never had any issue, plus I played it safe by only tethering with my iPad.

    • haridsv

      Your initial email sync should have done on wifi, since it does pull in quite lot of your old email. In future your usage remain very low unless you often get emails with large attachments. Also, just stick to email and IM when you are on cellular and 200mb will come a long way. There is a setting under cellular option that you can use to disable cellular access for individual apps.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        You are correct sir! I believe what happened was during my initial restore, I left the house( my wifi) before all of my apps concluded installing, causing an app or two to download via LTE. Obviously this is what may have caused the consumption of data that initially gave me reason for concern. I should of updated my original post, but thanks for your reply!

  • Mr. E

    Jeff let his anger show on twitter when he found out about tmo’s hidden fees xD

  • Kevin Guzman

    I saw that, they wanted to charge me $10, so I decided not to go with T-Mobile. Too bad, went with AT&T instead.

  • cd d

    T-Mobile sucks Jeff if you buy from them they aren’t going to give you 200MG a month for free I used them over the summer and had horrible coverage every where I went

    • deepdvd

      MegaGiga strikes again!

  • dd0723

    I guess is just how some people perceive advertisements, but i had gathered that you HAVE to be a tmobile paying member and im not even with tmobile. If they just give it away for free to anybody, whats in it for them as a company? It’s just understood that you have to be a tmobile member to get the free ipad data. Geez.

    • Stscl0312

      “What’s in it for them?” The act that most people could easily burn up 200mb worth of data so then they buy more & the also get a new subscriber who in turn is also more likely to switch over to T-Mobile for its phone service if it likes how the service on his iPad has been. It’s a clear marketing move.

    • Nate McKelvie

      What do you mean what’s in it for them? New customers is what’s in it for them. T-mobile is an underdog compared to AT&T and verizon. Their service is crap compared to the other two, they need things like this and their “no contracts” to compete. If they give away free 200mb which is hardly ANYTHING, then most likely the customer will buy more data, meaning they end up making money off free stuff. There is a TON OF money to be had in giving things away for free, just look at google! Also they could easily throw an ad in their somewhere with the free data. I’m sure many people ( not me myself but many others ) would be happy to see an ad pop up one time when they load their browser in order to get free data. If it had been real, the way it was advertised it could have been VERY profitable to t-mobile

  • ap3604

    “…losing the goodwill it built up amount myself and countless others”


    Quit being such a baby about a procedural mistake and accept the two huge present’s that t-mobile is giving customers for free 1) interest free loan on a $630 electronic and 2) free data.

    I’d rather have a company that gives away stuff for free, even if they make a fee error, than greedy P.O.S. companies like ATT or Verizon who would laugh in your face if you asked for either of the above T-mobile benefits.

    • Quang

      yep…if you buy an iPhone at ATT, its like you are taking $450 loan with 72% interest.
      ($35 difference between ATT and Tmobile individual plan).

    • jack

      They made a mistake, and this article is about that mistake…

      • ap3604

        I didn’t say it wasn’t, but the way it was written makes it sound like it was made by a spoiled drama queen of a consumer that doesn’t appreciate a company that is trying to break the mold.

    • Very well said! +1

  • Blip dude

    I was confused. I ended up buying an AT&T Air from Apple because the T-Mobile store I was planning on buying at, was not going to open until 10am. I decided later in the to see if I can still get in the deal. They told me that it was fine if I purchased the Air elsewhere BUT when I told them I didn’t have phone service with T-mobile, I got shot down. I am not sure if that is a requirement, or the fact that it was a big mistake. We’ll see what the next few days brings.

  • Isaac Sportsfan

    It’s a total bait and switch. I was considering buying the cellular iPad air from TM but when I called and got the REAL info I decided that was too dishonest so I’m just buying a wifi only and I just bought a wifi hotspot with 500mb of free data/month. When something seems too good to be true it probably is.

  • Werner Jimenez

    Hey guys I’m not a T-Moble customer and I was trying to get that deal so I went to the T-Mobile Store to see if I was lucky enough and get the iPad Mini with Retina and the 200MB of free data, but unfortunally they told me NOOOOO because I’m not a customer and that I can get the 200MB for free only if I pay the full price or if a get a voice plan, so Jeff if you are willing to pay the full price you should get it with T-Mobile and get those 200MB for free and forget about the $0 down and free finance payments.

  • Riley Freeman

    if i understand correctly, you had to have some sort of phone service with them already to claim the free 200mb?

    If thats the case, i completely agree with them. Why would you give free service to someone paying another carrier. makes no sense. Anyone outraged at such a call should never be responsible for running a company and probably want everything for free

  • n0ahcruz3

    Giving away free data, free roaming data, interest free financing, low monthly payments. My goodness the only negative i see with tmobile is their coverage!

  • They told me that it was fine if I purchased the Air elsewhere….