Unlimited family shared data plans are back temporarily at T-Mobile with new plans starting at $100 for two lines per month, and $40 per month for each additional user.
The new unlimited data plans, which are only being offered temporarily, though no expiration date has been set, were unveiled Dec. 9 by T-Mobile. The offer had been scheduled to be unveiled on Dec. 10, but the deal was revealed early on a Website, forcing the company to announce it today.
Customers on the new unlimited plan, which is open to existing and new customers, can keep their unlimited data plans for as long as they want to remain with T-Mobile, according to the company.
The offer comes less than a week after competitor Sprint unveiled its own “Cut-Your-Bill-in-Half” promotion on Dec. 3 as it seeks to poach customers from rivals Verizon, Wireless and AT&T. The Sprint half-price offer was not extended to T-Mobile customers, which is intriguing because Sprint tried and failed to acquire T-Mobile earlier this year.
The new T-Mobile unlimited data family plan means that for a family of four, the monthly access fees would total $180—including $100 for the first two users and $40 each for additional users. The access fees are in addition to the costs of the phones on the plans. The plans also include unlimited talk and text, unlimited data and texting in 120-plus countries and destinations, next-gen WiFi calling and free in-flight messaging. Data tethering, unlimited music streaming and WiFi calling are also part of the package.
The limited-time all-you-can-eat data plans are being offered to assuage the number one complaint of mobile users—that data charges are too expensive, according to T-Mobile.
“People are saying loud and clear that they hate the confusion and complexity of the carriers’ shared data plans, and they should,” John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile, said in a statement. “These plans are purpose-built to do one thing—take money from your pocket and put it into theirs. They threaten you with punishing overage penalties unless you police your own family’s data usage or up your data bucket and spend more every month.”
For American consumers of mobile phone services, “this scheme is working as intended,” said Legere. “In 2014, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint pulled in more than $1.5 billion—yes, with a ‘b’—in overage penalties. And it’s no surprise that AT&T is the worst offender by far collecting more than half of overage penalties this year.”
In contrast to those more costly plans, “T-Mobile’s unlimited 4G LTE family plan is a simpler, saner alternative to the carrier’s crazy gigabyte games,” said Legere.
T-Mobile also announced that it is again offering another promotion it had unveiled earlier this fall—a four-line family plan including 10GB of shared data a month through the end of 2015—for $100 monthly. After the promotional rate expires, each user will get 1GB of data per month.
T-Mobile Offers Unlimited 4G LTE Data Plans for Short Time
Since August, the big four carriers—Sprint and its three major U.S. competitors, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—have continued to pummel each other over prices, data packages and other features in the war for more customers and revenue.
In October, Sprint began offering a 1GB data plan in a move to serve customers who don’t need lots of data, but who want a better deal and more options than those offered for similar low-data plans from AT&T and Verizon, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
Under that plan, customers could pay $20 for 1GB of shared data, plus $25 for monthly service that includes unlimited talk and text per line. The 1GB of available shared data was twice the 500MB of data Verizon was offering at the time and more than three times the 300MB of data AT&T was offering in its smallest basic plans.
In late September, AT&T then launched its own double-data offer for customers who buy shareable data packages for 15GB to 50GB per month, giving users 30GB to 100GB of shareable data for the same prices. The AT&T offer, applicable to all Mobile Share Value plans that include 15GB to 50GB of shareable data and two to 10 cellular service lines, ended on Oct. 31.
In August, Sprint seemed to set off the recent customer war when it unveiled its then-new Family Share Pack plans, which promise twice the shared data of comparable plans from AT&T and Verizon Wireless at the same prices. That move came two weeks after Sprint replaced its CEO following the failed acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
A week later, T-Mobile bumped up its data offerings for Simple Start plan customers by giving them an option to quadruple their normal 500MB data use to 2GB a month for only $5, while maintaining unlimited talk and text. T-Mobile launched the Simple Starter cellular phone plans in April. The 2GB data offer was a limited-time promotion that followed another limited-time data promotion unveiled in August, when T-Mobile offered free unlimited mobile data for one year to any Simple Choice customer who gets a friend or relative to move his or her service from Sprint, AT&T or Verizon Wireless.