Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier in the United States, is continuing on its mission to pressure the whole industry to focus on what consumers want. Wednesday morning, the carrier announced a brand new wireless service plan with unlimited talk and text and 500MB of 4G LTE data with tethering for $40 a month.
As the aggressively priced Simple Starter Plan is capped rather than unlimited, you’ll have to purchase additional data once you spend your monthly allotment of 500 megabytes, but don’t worry – the company won’t slap you with overage fees in case you hit the monthly cap.
Jump past the fold for the fine print…
T-Mobile’s media release says the new month-to-month plan classes the firm as the only major U.S. carrier to offer a single line of 4G LTE data at just $40 a month. Because there are no overage fees, they’re calling it “a zero-risk value plan”.
The promise of no overage fees is more important than you think. AT&T’s entry-level plans, for example, slap you with a $20 overage fee the second you slip over their 300MB threshold. By comparison, the lowest-price plan from Verizon and Sprint will set you back $60 and $55, respectively.
The wording in T-Mobile’s press release is a bit ambiguous as to what happens if you go over your monthly allotment. It would seem that the carrier will simply throttle your data connection down to 2G speeds.
Though sluggish, 2G should be enough for your basic messaging needs, Twitter and Facebook and more. The release mentions that customers will be able to purchase “additional data sessions” whenever they like.
For those wondering, Simple Starter Plan is eligible for T-Mobile’s crazy ETF offer for switchers.
Simple Starter customers also qualify for T-Mobile’s break-through “Contract Freedom” offer which pays the entire contract Early Termination Fees of customers who switch to T-Mobile and trade-in their phones.
The plan also qualifies for the company’s revolutionary JUMP! upgrade program, so customers can choose to get handset protection and they can upgrade when they want. Plus, as always with T-Mobile, there is the freedom of no annual service contract.
The plan is designed for customers who don’t have a need for international texting and roaming so world travelers should instead opt for T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plans that start out at just $50 and include unlimited international data.
The new Simple Starter Plan is launching April 12.
T-Mobile is the first U.S. carrier to have stopped subsidizing devices and separated device cost from service plans – you pay full price of a device, spread over 12 or 24 interest-free monthly installment.
John Legere, T-Mobile’s outspoken CEO, took to the company blog to once again take jabs at rivals and highlight the shady tactics of the hopelessly-out-of-touch U.S. wireless industry, here’s a juicy excerpt.
Un-carrier is a movement, not a marketing strategy. We are freeing consumers from the predatory practices of traditional US wireless companies and that includes these plans that start with a low price and a low data limit, but then hit you with insane fees if you send one too many emails.
It’s wrong! And I personally want to drive those ridiculous schemes out of this industry. We will continue to be relentless and bring this forced march of change to the market every day so consumers can be creative with and enjoy the true benefits of wireless. I know we have it right and when we all are done reporting results from the first quarter – I think you’ll share my conviction.
And here’s T-Mobile’s Simple Choice for Business plan.
As if that weren’t enough, he also hinted in a post on Twitter that the moves this week are “just a warm up” for Uncarrier 5.0.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) April 9, 2014
In terms of the next major Uncarrier move, CNET has learned that the carrier scheduled one major announcement for Thursday and a third on Friday.
My hope is that this Simple Starter Plan will shame other carriers into ditching their stupid overage fees.