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T-Mobile Scores Hat Trick

BELLEVUE, WASH. – T-Mobile ratcheted up carrier competition with the launch of three marketing initiatives intended to highlight its differences with other carriers’ practices.

In recent days, the carrier:

• began offering LTE-equipped tablets at the same price as their Wi-Fi counterparts for a limited time;

• ended voice and data overage charges on older consumer plans by converting older capped voice/text plans to unlimited voice/text and by allowing users of older data plans to get unlimited data at 2G 128Kbps speeds after exceeding their 3G/4G data cap; and

• unveiled a Simple Starter value plan that positions T-Mobile as the only major U.S. carrier offering a single-line 4G data plan at $40 with unlimited talk and unlimited texting.

Under the Simple Starter plan, T-Mobile offers unlimited talk, unlimited texting, 500MB of 4G data and no data-overage charges. After 500MB of data is consumed, data service is suspended unless users get on-demand data passes.

In its new tablet strategy, T-Mobile for a limited time is pricing LTE-equipped tablets, including Apple iPads, at the same price as their Wi-Fi counterparts for new and existing subscribers who activate the tablet on a contract-free data plan of 1GB or more. The savings on tablet prices are up to $130.

For consumers who trade in an existing cellular-equipped or Wi-Fi-only tablet, the carrier will also pay up to $300 in trade-in value and up to another $350 in early-termination fees if a consumer’s tablet is under contract for data service with a rival carrier.

Also for new and existing subscribers, T-Mobile is offering $10 off select Internet data plans starting April 12 through the end of 2014. As a result, voice-plan users can get up to 1GB of 4G LTE data free every month through the end of the year, the carrier said. That’s on top of a free 200MB that subscribers get free for life under an existing Free Data For Life program.

Under the new tablet promotion, called Operating Tablet Freedom, consumers pay the Wi-Fi-only price of $499 for the LTE-equipped 16GB iPad Air, normally priced at $630, the company said. In another example, T-Mobile said it is pricing the LTE Samsung Tab 3 at $200 instead of $312.

In ending overage charges on legacy plans, the carrier is implementing its new policy in May for bills arriving in June. Under the policy, “for anyone on an older plan with a domestic bucket of minutes or texts, they will experience effectively unlimited service as we will no longer charge the overage fees,” a spokesman confirmed. Data downloads exceeding a 3G/4G cap would slow down to 128Kbps, a spokesperson said.