Since May 2013, T-Mobile has prided itself on being the revolutionary carrier the wireless industry in the United States needed. That’s why this carrier started positioning itself as the Un-carrier, creating separation from juggernauts and thus a positive image with consumers. Even I, a former longtime Verizon loyalist, switched to T-Mobile last year after being intrigued by the benefits offered just for being a customer. The carrier created incentives to switch and immense value to stay. Now it’s going to reverse everything done when the T-Mobile One plan goes live.
Everyone at T-Mobile wants you to think this is the direction in which all carriers need to go, but the simple truth is that T-Mobile One strips away choice and forces you to pay for the things you need.
Beginning September 6, T-Mobile will go all-in on one plan as new customers will only be able to activate service by choosing T-Mobile One for $70 per month. T-Mobile One includes unlimited talk, text, and data; therefore, it seems like you’re getting a great setup. The problem is that you’re not actually reaping the benefits of what previous customers currently have. This new plan is nothing like what has been offered before, and it likely isn’t a fit for many. So much fine print is hiding in T-Mobile One that a consumer assuming T-Mobile has his or her back will be sadly mistaken.
While T-Mobile says the plan gives you “unlimited data” and multiple carrier-specific benefits, there are big catches. See, it’s not actually a plan with unlimited data in the slightest and you’ll need to pay extra for numerous things that existing customers with T-Mobile and other carriers already enjoy at no extra cost. T-Mobile, to be frank, is reverting back to the old strategies it once bashed. The coolness once exuded by John Legere & Co. is practically gone because of T-Mobile One.
Let’s go over what you’re getting from T-Mobile One and why it’s not so good for anyone.
First things first, it’s not at all a truly unlimited data plan because you’ll be sent to back of T-Mobile’s priority line if you exceed 26GB per month on the network. The carrier says these data hogs “may see their data traffic prioritized behind other users once they cross that threshold” and “may notice relatively slower speeds but only at specific times and places.” Because of that, customers shouldn’t be told they’re getting unlimited data on T-Mobile One even if there is an understandable reason behind their throttling.
On T-Mobile One, you’re not realistically able to do whatever you want with your experience being adjusted by T-Mobile. Binge On, the carrier’s program that keeps video streaming from touching your monthly allotment of data, is standard on T-Mobile One. What you will almost definitely realize when Binge On is live is that video quality is watered-down from HD to 480p. It’s especially noticeable on YouTube when the video your watching is meant to look crisp and clear in Full HD but your phone or tablet only outputs this horrendous, dated resolution.
Want to turn off Binge On and enjoy video streaming the way it’s intended? Pay up. T-Mobile is going to charge $25 per month per line for you to do that. Now you’re up to $95 to get not-so-unlimited data the way you want. Existing T-Mobile customers can deactivate Binge On without incurring any extra surcharge; therefore, it’s confusing as to why on earth anyone would move to this plan when it’s drastically more expensive than the plans that are nearing retirement.
Then you have to add an additional $5 per month if you don’t enroll in auto-pay. Uh, really? Prepaid usually do this, but T-Mobile is coming across as a thief now. It doesn’t end there, though. The carrier’s plans have allowed customers to use their devices as mobile hotspots while tapping into their own device’s data limit or one set by an included mobile hotspot bundle. That’s gone. T-Mobile One gives everyone unlimited mobile hotspot data at 2G speeds with the option to get back on the 4G LTE network at $15 per month for 5GB. Surprise, surprise.
Allow me to explain my situation and what I’d end up paying on T-Mobile One. Right now, I’m on the 6GB plan for $65 per month. This is while using around 4-5GB every month with maybe a little mobile hotspot usage for my laptop. I’ve always had Binge On deactivated, too. Sometimes I change which credit/debit card I pay with in case the issuer is running a special promotion. What would I end up paying for those same layout on the new plan? A whopping $115 before taxes. And I don’t need faux unlimited data or want my video streaming to be downgraded, so the extra cost doesn’t have any advantages for me.
T-Mobile One, which isn’t an unlimited plan whatsoever, forces you and I to pay extra for wanting normal video streaming, using your phone as a mobile hotspot, and not enrolling in auto-pay all while giving you data allowance that could be completely unnecessary. It’s a reversal from when T-Mobile shook up the wireless industry by letting people pay for what they need for their lifestyle.
The choice in plans that assisted in T-Mobile’s rise is gone. It’s One for all and none for One.
Like many customers, I will fight T-Mobile until the very end to keep my current plan and avoid switching to the new ripoff. This isn’t the T-Mobile that I joined in 2015 and grew to love over time. If and when the carrier does force everyone to move to T-Mobile One, I will be packing my bags and switching back to the competition or one of the very wallet-friendly prepaid carriers. I’ll never let T-Mobile rip me off in the way they will new customers put on T-Mobile One.