T-Mobile may start the transition away from contracts later this month

T-Mobile may start the transition away from contracts later this month
We heard before that T-Mobile is planning a big rebranding of the carrier, dubbing itself the "Uncarrier", while moving away from subsidies and contracts. Well, it looks like that shift may start as soon as later this month, and T-Mo may start transitioning existing customers off contracts, and stop offering contracts to new customers.

According to TMoNews, T-Mobile may announce the plan as soon as Monday, March 4th, and the plan could go into effect as soon as March 24th. Once the switch is flipped, T-Mo will kill all of its contract plans and subsidies, and start to move towards full price phone sales. Additionally, existing customers will not be able to re-up their existing contracts, and will have to move to a new plan. Early termination fees will also become a thing of the past. 

And, if you're worried that you'll have to pay $500-600 up front for a new smartphone, T-Mo will have you covered there, and will continue their off-contract installment plan, and will add a new tier to the plan. The idea is that you'll pay about $99 up front for a new smartphone, then spread out the rest of the cost with monthly payments of about $25-30. 

The rebranding may also encompass the way T-Mo refers to its 4G service by calling it "Dual 4G", which is supposed to refer to the combination of HSPA+ and LTE. Given that T-Mo HSPA+ can be faster than Verizon or AT&T LTE depending on where you are, this could be a pretty interesting move. 

source: TMoNews via The Verge



1. Aeires unregistered

Great news, glad to be back on T-Mobile and hope this takes off so the other big three can take note.

2. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

Sounds good :)

3. Ruckus

Posts: 286; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

So let me get this straight (please correct me if I'm wrong), you'd pay $99.99 for a Samsung Note II then pay an extra $25-$30 per month on top of your bill for the phone on an "installment plan." It sounds like a contract to me.. What happens if you buy a Note II and stop paying your bill? Surely there's an early termination fee... On a side note, it sounds appetizing to anyone who doesn't want to pay a lot for a phone upfront but why pay more monthly for it??? Please someone explain to me how this is a good idea??

5. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

its excatly like a contract. You are "locked in" till you pay the phone off (aka ETF to contracts) but you get the flexbility of changing phones alot more often and you pay up to 99 bucks down vs 299-400 for a phone on contract with tmobile

6. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

There's no early termination fee, but if you stop paying your bill, your service will be cut off and you'll still owe T-Mo the difference on your phone. How they would go about collecting that, I can't say. Here's why it's a good idea: the monthly plans are cheaper. So, you can buy your own GSM phone from anywhere you want, bring it to T-Mobile and get the cheapest plan on a major carrier. If you want a new phone, you can pay full price, or if you don't have the cash, you can split up the payments. So, if you want the new Note II, you pay $99, then you still owe $600, so you pay $30 a month, and you have it paid off in 20 months. After that, you've got your phone and don't have to pay any extra anymore. Compare that to a subsidy, where you pay $30 more for the plan anyway, but you're locked into a contract for 24 months. That sounds like a good idea to me, if T-Mo is reliable in your area.

8. Ruckus

Posts: 286; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Still doesn't seem very different in the long run.. My company still sells T-Mobile even though we dropped them in our location. What do their plans run? Would an extra $25-$30 a month put them over Sprint/at&t/Verizon?

12. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

T-Mo offers unlimited everything for $50 per month, which puts them well below Verizon and AT&T at least. Can't be bothered to research Sprint plans right now.

13. Sparhawk

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 10, 2012

Right now they do, but that won't necessarily carry over to the new situation.

9. disneydad

Posts: 114; Member since: Mar 26, 2012

I guess everyone has forgotten T-Mobile's original experiment with this type of plan back in 2010-11. It didn't work out well for T-Mobile and they lost money due to people leaving their service before paying off their phone and fraud. The Value plans fixed that issue by keeping the lower plan prices but discouraging people from leaving by requiring a contract if you wanted to finance the phone. I'm curious to see how they tweak this now.

7. disneydad

Posts: 114; Member since: Mar 26, 2012

It really isn't hard to understand. There is no such thing as a "free" phone, either you pay upfront or pay in the monthly plan cost. That's how it's worked for years in the U.S. Internationally subsidies are not as widespread due to a number of factors. So you want a Note II? $699 please. Or you can pay interest free over 20 months with a $199 down payment. Your plan is $95 (Unlimited Minutes,Messaging,Data) plus taxes. Two year cost = $2380 You go to ATT and look for something as close to that plan as possible which brings you to their individual Unlimited plan for $69.99 + $20 Unl. messaging + $50 5GB of Data for $140 plus the cost of the Note II ($300). Two year cost = $3660 T-Mobile wins the cost contest by $1,280! Same phone, unlimited plan, just need to make sure the network has you covered where you need it, and.....you're golden.

11. Ruckus

Posts: 286; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Ok but compare that to Sprints contract plans. Sprint would win by nearly $300.00... Sounds like a bad business deal. At least now they can claim to be the cheapest carrier, but by your logic they wouldn't be as cheap anymore.

16. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

If Sprint wins by $300, get a Nexus 4 off contract for $350, and it's nearly a tie. The only issue is that you kind of lose LTE (unless you roll back to 4.2.1 and use the poorly amplified, battery draining LTE capability). Fortunately for T-Mobile, Sprint's LTE speeds look to be similar to T-Mobile's HSPA+ in download, slightly faster in upload, and way faster in ping, but HSPA+ coverage is more widespread.

26. Ruckus

Posts: 286; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

But unfortunately for T-Mobile they have less coverage than Sprint.

30. ztkells

Posts: 41; Member since: Jan 26, 2011

Except your math is wrong. Everyone forgets to add in that dirty $10 monthly premium data upcharge. I love it how they always hide that when they do the comparison to other carriers. Add the taxes and they will be pretty much the same price.

31. CfullerTX

Posts: 19; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

It's not hidden. lol They advertise $79.99 for a single line. This includes the $10 "dirty upcharge". You're also wrong about the final tax included price. Sprint runs $90-$93 for an unlimited plan with taxes (no insurance) Man I love the uneducated BS that is spouted on here sometimes....

35. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

actually no sprint and T-mobile generally come out to about the same until your finished paying off the phone then t-mobile comes out cheaper from then on until you get a new phone into payments literally no one in major carrier status comes out cheaper in the long run.

4. Cannabis

Posts: 22; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

I wonder if they are going to advertise their LTE Advanced compared to the competition...I can see it now "Dual 4G+" or Dual 4G... ADVANCED. And when the metro merger goes through and they begin to deploy 20X20 LTE...shiiiit. Early investments and adoptions have proven well for Tmo in the past, ex. coverage maps, 1st 4G network, Android, etc. so I see them growing soon if they get the word out.

10. disneydad

Posts: 114; Member since: Mar 26, 2012

You hit the nail on the head Cannabis. They need to get the word out beyond marketing buzz words. T-Mobile has notoriously been horrible with their marketing. In their defense they don't have the budget of the giants, but they have let themselves become the carrier people love to rag on. If they had launched the Droid campaign like Verizon it would have done wonders for them. Instead, most people associate Android with Droid, a model line, and have no clue TMO carried the first Android phone, the G1.

15. archangel9

Posts: 233; Member since: Feb 07, 2010

and add to that they are also the first US carrier to get the GSIII and the Note II,and maybe the S IV & HTC One.

19. richardyarrell2011

Posts: 510; Member since: Mar 16, 2011

The Galaxy S4 will appear on tmobile first...Mark it down...

28. archangel9

Posts: 233; Member since: Feb 07, 2010

you know it Richard.Also mark the 12th down for the vote of the Metro PCS merger.

33. Cannabis

Posts: 22; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

I couldn't agree more, I too always think about how big TMO could have grown if they took an agressive approach in marketing Android. Their current marketing of "No more Ms. Nice Girl" doesn't really stay with that in mind, Carly drives a bike around and they go over some nice things but there isn't that witty feel to it. Nothing left but to see what the "Uncarrier" really is.

17. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

I wouldn't be so sure about the Metro merger. Two of MetroPCS's largest shareholders have come out saying that there isn't enough money in the deal. That said, I think T-Mobile is going to do what it takes to make this happen. They could use a bit more spectrum, and Metro offers exactly the bands that they want most.

32. CfullerTX

Posts: 19; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

Agreed. T-mo is going to get bent over a barrel on the deal. Keep in mind there is only so much spectrum to go around...

34. Cannabis

Posts: 22; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

I don't think DT the worlds 3rd largest telecommunications co is going to let two greedy MetroPieceOfs**t shareholders stop their deal. If it was TMOUSA alone w/o their parent co's help then I would be worried. Everyone knows these guys just want to squeeze a bit of more money out of the deal before it closes. Metro themselves still asumes everything to be finished by late April.

18. richardyarrell2011

Posts: 510; Member since: Mar 16, 2011

This will be great and trust this the rest of the carriers will follow in tow....

20. babyboy14622

Posts: 36; Member since: Jul 05, 2012


29. archangel9

Posts: 233; Member since: Feb 07, 2010

Coverage is great on TMobile ,but in your case it depends where you at but don't fret because it will be there,but as far as voice FANTASTIC and data ,heck I get 22mbps DL and 2mbps UL on my GNote II and oh by the way LTE is coming to add to HSPA 42+. Tmobile got the industry shook .

21. chocolatebear76

Posts: 123; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

I really wish something similar can be available in sweden!

36. Rayvelynn

Posts: 124; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

I don't think they will build more towers where there are more cows than people, hahaha

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.