By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK – T-Mobile’s Classic rate plans, which incorporate subsidized handsets and two-year contracts, are still available through indirect retailers, but T-Mobile narrowed the range of Classic plans to a single new plan.
Likewise, T-Mobile scaled back the number of no-contract, no-subsidy Value Plans available through the indirect channel to one. Like its predecessors, the new no-contract Value Plans are available with the purchase of a SIM card or with the purchase of a full-price unsubsidized handset.
In another change, T-Mobile structured the new indirect-channel plans to make them similar to the carrier’s new no-contract, no-subsidy Simple Choice plan, which launched exclusively in carrier stores this week to replace a mix of Classic and Value plans.
The new Classic, Value and Simple Choice plans consist of a single base plan with unlimited talk and messaging, 500MB of 4G data, and unlimited 2GB data after the 500MB cap is exceeded. Consumers can also opt to pay extra to raise their 4G data cap or opt for unlimited 4G data. The monthly cost of service under the new no-contract Value plan and under the new no-contract Simple Choice plan is the same, but the new Classic plan’s service prices are higher because handsets are subsidized.
Indirect retailers Wirefly, Walmart and Staples are among the indirect retailers that have rolled out the new Classic and new Value plans. Online retailer Wirefly offers both plans on its website. Staples and Walmart offer both plans on their websites but offer only the new Classic plan in their brick-and-mortar stores. Best Buy offers the new Classic plans on its websites, which is Best Buy’s only outlet for T-Mobile phones.
No indirect retailer, however, yet offers the full Simple Choice plan, which is defined by the inclusion of an optional installment plan for purchasing an unsubsidized handset. T-Mobile confirmed it doesn’t yet make the installment plan available to indirect retailers, but Wirefly said the carrier plans to do so. “At this time, we have been told that it [installment plans] will be made available to all indirect retailers, and it will not be a phased rollout. We will have the same window to go live as other indirect retailers. We just don’t know what that exact date is yet.” Wirefly, however, expects the date to come toward the end of the year.
For its part, Staples confirmed it is not offering Simple Choice plans because “T-Mobile is not offering this to any of their retail partners at this time.”
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