T-Mobile customers no longer feel that they are put first by company; many plan their exit

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T-Mobile customers no longer feel that they are put first by company; many plan their exit
Earlier this week we told you that T-Mobile was acting as though it expected a customer revolt. The carrier increased the number of reps working at retail stores and also boosted the headcount of agents handling customer service calls. Sure enough, yesterday morning T-Mobile announced that Magenta, Magenta MAX, Magenta 55+, Magenta First Responder, ONE, and Simple Choice plans will see a price increase of $2 to $5 per line a month. Those with five lines will see a total price increase of $10 to $25 a month.

Once a very customer-friendly operation, T-Mobile could see an exodus of subscribers after the price hike

And T-Mobile might not be done with the price gun. We could see a $5 per line per month increase starting today for new customers signing up for Go5G 55, Go5G Plus 55, and Go5G Next 55 plans. By definition, the price hikes for the legacy plans impact only existing subscribers, and to reiterate, the rumored price hikes for the currently available Go5G 55, Go5G Plus 55, and Go5G Next 55 plans affect new subscribers only.

As expected, T-Mobile customers are not happy, and many are carefully weighing their options. Under the Price Lock promotion, T-Mobile will pay the last invoice for those affected by the price hike and have decided to leave the carrier for greener pastures. One loyal PhoneArena reader and T-Mobile customer by the name of John F. Schlatter, who lives in South Carolina, pointed out that right on T-Mobile's website to this day is a press release disseminated by the company in January 2017.

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In one section of the release, T-Mobile wrote, "Today, T-Mobile introduced the Un-contract for T-Mobile ONE – and notched another industry first with the first-ever price guarantee on an unlimited 4G LTE plan. With the Un-contract, T-Mobile signs, and customers hold all the power. Now, T-Mobile ONE customers keep their price until THEY decide to change it. T-Mobile will never change the price you pay for your T-Mobile ONE plan. When you sign up for T-Mobile ONE, only YOU have the power to change the price you pay."

Schlatter says that he is contemplating his options and told me, "In my case, I’m weighing whether my unhappiness over this bait-and-switch is significant enough to change carriers. It’s not the money; it’s the principle. I’m sure the T-Mobile lawyers can weasel out of this, but I hope customers will inflict a lot of pain through complaints to the FCC, FTC, and state attorney generals."

T-Mobile has made some moves over the last year that might be considered anti-customer

T-Mobile has said that the price increase was the result of higher costs and inflation and the carrier says that even after the price increases, T-Mobile customers are still paying less than Verizon and AT&T. That may be true, but T-Mobile executives are missing the point. The carrier failed to live up to its early promise not to raise prices. Throw in the poorly timed news that CEO Mike Sievert sold $6.5 million of T-Mobile stock just before the announcement, and the optics do not look good for a carrier that was once considered to have its customers' backs.

Even if Sievert's stock sale was part of a plan filed back in November that automatically sells the shares, the fact that we have to question T-Mobile's motives at all is so unlike the experience that customers and even those of us in the media got used to during the Legere years. For so long T-Mobile has led the industry in net new postpaid phone subscribers every quarter. It will be interesting to see whether all of the moves that the carrier has made recently that could be considered "anti-customer" will affect its growth.

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Such moves include forcing AutoPay customers to use a bank account or debit card instead of a credit card to get their $5 monthly discount. Last year T-Mobile also started charging an extra $5 to customers who prefer to settle up their monthly invoice inside a brick-and-mortar store. And there have been stories about T-Mobile reps doing whatever it takes to pad their paychecks. What's next for T-Mobile, the return of Carly?

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