T-Mobile has been the one carrier who decided to strike back at the other carriers back when AT&T and Verizon were the ones getting rid of unlimited plans by aggressively advertising their Uncarrier movements to turn the mobile industry in the US back into the customers’ hands.
Yeah, Sprint had unlimited plans too but they weren’t necessarily doing so well. They’d lost customers when they decided to make the switch from WiMax to LTE so you could imagine outraged customers who found out their 2 year old phone was not going to have 4G anymore, even after the carrier was promising it was “coming soon” for years and then decided to ditch it altogether.
There’s been speculation in the past few days regarding T-Mobile potentially “pivoting away” from unlimited plans during an interview with T-Mobile’s CFO a couple of weeks ago. But I think this speculation might be taking those two words “pivoting away” out of context.
The CFO could have been referring to how it has shifted its focus on aggressive marketing from unlimited family plans to marketing its BingeOn and Music Freedom products which customers really love. Just like anything being speculated, it is nothing certain and things can be taken out of context.
And even if T-Mobile does plan to get rid of unlimited plans, it’s not stupid. T-Mobile is a wireless carrier in the business of making money, data costs money. So the money has to either come from somewhere else (raising unlimited plan prices) or it has to be restructured into different tiers, and T-Mobile has kind of already done that with Music Freedom first, then, most recently with Binge On.
These new kind of tiers already include so much free data, that data buckets aren’t what they used to mean for T-Mobile customers. I have 10GB per month on my T-Mobile line, however, I barely use 3GB per month because all the music I stream is not even counted against my data, and even now with YouTube becoming a part of Binge On, don’t know how I could even use up the 10GB of data!
Sure, every user is different, perhaps not all users would benefit from Binge On or Music Freedom, perhaps a teenage girl or boy addicted to Vine, Snapchat, and Tumblr WOULD run through those 10GB easily. And I’m sure there is even a percentage of customers whose mobile line is their only source of internet. This is probably the only scenario I can think of for a customer to need an unlimited data plan on T-Mobile EVEN THOUGH all video and music streaming is pretty much free.
T-Mobile is currently offering its unlimited family plans at 3 lines for $150 per month with a fourth line free. The CFO says it is easier to get more customers in the beginning of the year than later on, and it ultimately helps with financial reports later on. I’d imagine tax season has a lot to do with that as well, as customers find out where to spend their tax refunds.