T-Mobile Grandfathers Employer Discounts for Current Customers

Days after ending its employer rate plans, T-Mobile adds a grandfather clause for those who want to stay.


T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced an end to employer rate-plan discounts March 28, suggesting they were bad deals that use "employees as bargaining chips."

Many employees, it turns out, were happy to be chips, in exchange for lower phone bills, and they took to Twitter to say so.

Legere responded April 2, insisting that listening to customers is what T-Mobile does.

"The simple act that first ignited the Un-carrier revolution was that we listened to customers—what they want, what they need, what frustrates them about this crazy industry. That was the spark," Legere said in an updated blog post.

Over the last few days customers have been saying they're unhappy about the policy change, he added, so T-Mobile has decided to update it again.

"Everyone enrolled in the Advantage Program or who applied to enroll before April 1 will be able to keep a rate plan discount as long as they work at a participating employer and remain on a qualifying plan," said Legere.

All Simple Choice plans qualify, and T-Mobile asks that once a year customers verify their employer online.

"Listen, I still believe that complicated rate plan discounts and backroom deals with big corporations are unfair and part of what needs changing in the U.S. wireless industry," Legere added. "And, I meant what I said: we're not going to play that game anymore. … We're moving away from the notion of different prices for different customers."

As of April 1, T-Mobile began replacing employer rate-plan discounts with $25 Reward Cards each time a subscriber buys a new device. How this compares to the discounts employees enjoy under employer rate plans is unclear, though the more employees involved, the greater the savings.

Legere spent a good part of April 2 commenting on the matter. "Old-school employer discounts are murky deals cut with big business. Do the math, you'll go with @TMobile," he said in one Tweet.

But also pulling his attention was BlackBerry's announcement that it wouldn't renew its license with T-Mobile when it expired April 25.

"BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years. Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers," BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in an April 1 statement.

He added that BlackBerry will work closely with T-Mobile to ensure that its customers on the network receive the "best possible customer service," and that it's also working closely with other carriers to offer alternatives to those customers who decide to "transition."

Legere, in a Tweet, said the decision was BlackBerry's.

In another Tweet, he told an analyst, "Customers should have choice at all times; BlackBerry seems to think they should decide for customers. We side with customers."

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