Mobile Communications

T-Mobile shifts to unlimited plans in the latest bid to stand out from the competition

T-Mobile is hoping to make a another splash by ditching traditional smartphone plans in favor of one, unlimited offer.

Called T-Mobile One, the new plan charges $70 per month for the first line, $50 per month for a second, and then $20 for additional lines (stopping with eight). The plan includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data.

Of course, there are caveats buried in the fine print. T-Mobile says video playback is limited to 480p, the same speed as you’d get with Binge On. Tethering is capped at 2G speeds, which makes it essentially worthless for all but emergency connectivity. To get around the video limitation you’ll need to pay $25 per month extra per line. It’ll cost you $15 for any month in which you want to add on 5GB of tethering.

While the plans may be an upgrade for those with heavy data usage, it’ll mean a higher price point for others who use less data. Jackdaw Research Analysis crunched the numbers and found that many people could be paying more:

Beyond Devices

How good of a "deal" T-Mobile One is could vary widely based on what tier of plan you currently have.

The plans go into effect Sept 6, with current subscribers able to keep their current plans if they wish. 

In a related move, Sprint is making a few adjustments to its plans. It's offering Unlimited talk, text, data, and “optimized streaming video, gaming, and music.”

Sprint will offer unlimited talk, text, data, and “optimized streaming video, gaming and music” for $60 a month for one line, $40 for a second, and then $30 each for up to 10 lines.

The story behind the story: Such changes are never out of the goodness of a company’s heart. As analyst Jan Dawson notes, T-Mobile is losing momentum with all of its Uncarrier initiatives and needs a jolt. Most people who are at the lower tiers of smartphone usage will probably end up paying more with T-Mobile One, although for now the carrier isn’t forcing anyone to switch away from current plans.

IDG Insider


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