T-Mobile's hugely controversial forced plan migrations were only supposed to be a 'very small test'

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T-Mobile's hugely controversial forced plan migrations were only supposed to be a 'very small test'
After being hailed as the US wireless industry's main advertising rebel, key fighter for consumer rights, and technological trendsetter for years and years by both the media and everyday users on online forums and social networks, T-Mobile is definitely going through a phase that can only be described as... the opposite of all the above.

The once beloved "Un-carrier" is essentially jumping from controversy to controversy of late, failing to keep customer data private, killing off popular promotions and freebies, and perhaps worst of all, increasing monthly rates and adding new taxes and fees the way it used to offer complimentary lines and other great deals - in (almost) perfect silence.

But just as those "line on us" campaigns used to spread like wildfire across the interwebs thanks to leaked internal documents and good old fashioned word-of-mouth, every little plan change and policy revision cooked up by Magenta nowadays tends to make headlines and generate frustration and hate before actually being rolled out to the masses.

A stillborn experiment?


The latest such move that prematurely went public last week may have been welcomed with the strongest negative energy yet, but as angry as the news of forced migrations to costlier plans made so many customers, T-Mobile somehow managed to further increase the general dissatisfaction with mixed and confusing communication in the wake of the revelation.

CEO Mike Sievert himself evidently felt the need to address the matter and try to clarify it, but instead of doing so publicly and transparently to make sure the right message reaches all of T-Mo's frustrated users, an email was sent to employees with previously missing "context."


Ironically, Sievert is accusing last week's reporting of being "largely inaccurate" and leaving "a lot of room for interpretation" in a chunk of text that we would have never had access to were it not for another The Mobile Report leak.

It's truly hard to wrap our heads around the logic of this type of "classified" communication for a company that was so open and transparent about its wireless business not so long ago, but at least we now know for sure (not thanks to T-Mobile's PR department) that the controversial forced plan migrations were intended as "a very small test."

In other words, Magenta was only planning to give a "small subset of customers who are on older rate plans" the "opportunity" to get "more features and more value relative to what they currently have" at a slightly higher price. That doesn't sound quite as bad as what most people gathered from last week's leaked documents, but whether this was indeed T-Mobile's initial aim or not, the "test" should have been disclosed and clearly detailed much earlier than today and in a much more open fashion.

So are the forced migrations still happening?


You might think that the response to T-Mo's "very small test" was bad enough to convince Sievert there's no point in going ahead with such an obviously failed experiment, but believe it or not, that aforementioned "small subset of customers" on older plans in need of an upgrade should still expect a notification to alert them of a future change.

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The notification will come by way of "a text and/or email" at an unspecified time... unless, of course, T-Mobile eventually decides to cancel the test, which would probably be for the best.


If that doesn't happen and you do end up getting a message informing you of the possibility of a migration to a higher-value and higher-cost plan, fret not, as the "Un-carrier" will offer you the option to stay on your "current plan or a similar plan" if that's what you want. 

All in all, this "clarification" makes it seem like Magenta caught a lot of flak for nothing this past week or so, but the poor communication remains a problem definitely worth criticizing... albeit perhaps a little more lightly.

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