$50 unlimited: What is T-Mobile's Project Dark, anyway?

Noah Kravitz
 from Oakland, CA
Published: October 15, 2009

Rumors about "revolutionary products" and "new services destined to shake up the industry" are a dime a dozen in the mobile tech biz. If I had a nickle for every time I've heard the term "iPhone killer," I'd have a great big pile of nickels, believe you me.

And yet, here I go again reporting on rumors and speculation surrounding an alleged plot by T-Mobile USA to, yes, shake up the whole industry with a bunch of revolutionary stuff. At least this time we've got a sexy codename to bandy about: "Project Dark."

First I refer you to David over at TmoNews and his post from earlier today, "Project Dark Sees The Light" (clever). The post centers around a photo - which I've conveniently re-posted for you here - which seemingly sheds some light on Dark. We've got three bits of info to chew on here:

  1. "Coverage you need / Price you want & The Handsets you Crave"
  2. "Even More" and "Even More Plus"
  3. "Most Affordable Unlimited Rate Plans"

Alrighty, then. Based on this photo, which may or may not have come from any sort of official channels, it looks like T-Mo's gearing up to unleash two new unlimited rate plans, "Even More" and "Even More Plus." And it looks like they'll be pushing the plans by way of a marketing campgaign focusing on how awesome Magenta is, specificially when it comes to offering consumers kick-butt handsets running on a big, solid network at very low prices for unlimited voice/messaging/data.

Next I refer you to a post on the TmoNews forums that David convieniently linked to.

jet1000 offers up this bit of supposedly leaked info that explains "Even More" and "Even More Plus":

  • Even More    current 2 year contract type with a subsidized phone discount. 
  • Even More+    no time commitment or ETF, cheaper versions of the rate plans, and pay for a device over a 20 month period.

Apparently the two new plans would be made available to consumers based on their credit history. Got excellent credit? You get Even More Plus with its contract-free, super-cheap rate plans and "buy now pay later" handset pricing. Got good but not great credit? Even More gives you a standard two-year deal, but apparently at some kind of still-awesome monthly pricing.

$50/month is the price point most often mentioned. Which is pretty crazy if they can pull it off without the entire data network crashing every other day.

As for the "Handsets you Crave" part of the equation, I keep hearing BlackBerry Bold 9700 and Nokia N900. No, I'm not hearing iPhone (and I'm not listening to anyone claiming to have intel on a "4G iPhone coming to T-Mobile in January," for crying out loud). But I am hearing more and more about that accelerated 21 Mbps HSDPA rollout across the US in 2010 (it's already live in Philadelphia).

Speaking of dates, everyone keeps saying all will be revealed on October 25, at least when it comes to the new rate plans. Not that "everyone" necessarily knows anything. But that's how it goes in the crazy, mixed up world of mobile tech rumors.

So what say you? Project Dark, Project Runway, Donny Darko ... what's the deal? Is T-Mo cookin' up a big shake-up in time for the holidays? Sound off in the comments.

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