Bellevue, Wash. – T-Mobile will enable subscribers to roll over unused high-speed data for up to a year to avoid paying for unused data, president/CEO John Legere announced.
Under its Un-carrier 8.0 initiative, the carrier’s Data Stash plan launches in January and applies to consumers who subscribe to plans that cap the amount of high-speed 3G and 4G data. Under those plans, customers who exceed their monthly high-speed data cap get unlimited 2G data, avoiding data-overage charges but significantly slowing download speeds. The company also offers unlimited high-speed data plans.
To launch the Data Stash program, customers with a postpaid Simple Choice plan with 3GB or more of LTE data for smartphones or 1GB or more of LTE data will get 10GB of high-speed data added to their Data Stash to use for up to a year. Once the free data has been used up, unused high-speed data will be rounded up to the nearest megabyte and rolled over automatically every month into an individual’s Data Stash.
Legere contends 13 million U.S. cellular subscribers pay $1.5 billion in data-coverage overages per year to his rivals and that many people, unsure of how much data they need or will use, “buy up” to large data buckets that they don’t need. On average, he said, people buy 4-5GB per month and on average leave 3GB unused. With a GB costing $12/month, consumers are paying $50 billion per year for data they don’t use, he said.
In other announcements, the carrier said it:
*Expanded its LTE network in the past two months to reach 10 million more people, bringing coverage to 260 million;
*Rolled out its wideband-LTE 15MHz+15MHz spectrum to 121 metropolitan areas to boost data capacity and boost data speeds up to 50 percent, and;
*Deployed LTE in newly acquired 700MHz (LTE Band 12) spectrum in Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Colo., Minneapolis and Washington to boost network reach, improve in-building coverage, and extend LTE coverage well beyond major population centers.
The carrier already offers five LTE Band 12-capable devices in market, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge. The company said it is working with suppliers to ensure that all new LTE devices launched in 2015 will be Band 12-capable.
The company said it plans to expand LTE coverage to 300 million people by the end of 2015.
Legere launched T-Mobile’s first un-carrier initiative in March 2013, and in the third quarter of 2014, the company posted its sixth consecutive quarter of more than 1 million net subscriber additions. His accelerated pace of change at T-Mobile has also ignited faster changes from competitors to maintain market share.
Leger’s initiatives, however, have come at a cost. T-Mobile posted a $94 million net loss in its fiscal third quarter, marking the fifth net loss out of the past six quarters. The company posted operating income of $49 million, down from a year-ago $297 million and down from the second quarter’s $962 million.
For consumers, Legere initiated lower-priced service plans, eliminated contracts, and launched handset trade-in policies that spurred competitors to promote lower service prices, pack more data into data plans, and offer more frequent handset upgrades.
Legere also brought competition to a boil by reimbursing Early Termination Fees (ETFs) for individuals and families who make the switch to T-Mobile and trade in an eligible device. He let consumers stream a dozen music-streaming services without using up their high-speed data allotments, gave 200 megabytes of free high-speed data to tablet owners, offered unlimited data and texting worldwide in 100+ countries, and provided free Wi-Fi calling from anywhere in the world to and from the U.S.