T-Mobile's subsidy-ending Value plan switch may be scheduled for the end of MarchAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
We already know that T-Mobile has some big changes up its sleeve for this year, including its intent to ditch subsidies and make a full-on switch to Value plans. Some of the details of this change are still up in the air, but a new report from our friends at TmoNews claim to have some more information on the matter. According to the site's sources, T-Mobile is currently aiming to make the full switch to Value plans on March 24. An announcement of the change could come as soon as March 4.
Along with the axing of subsidies, TmoNews has learned of some other changes that T-Mobile will be implementing with its all Value, all the time approach. As expected, T-Mobile will no longer be offering contracts, and so any existing customers that are already in a contract won't be able to sign up for a new one once their current commitment ends. The end of contracts will also bring with it the end of early termination fees. Finally, it's expected that T-Mobile will be introducing a new Equipment Installment Plan payment tier with its Value switch. T-Mobile typically offers EIP payments between $10 and $20 per month, but it's said that the carrier will introduce a new $25-$30 tier in order to help it sell all of its smartphones for a down payment of $99 or less.
T-Mobile is also reportedly planning some branding changes that will accompany the all-Value move. The magenta operator is expected to use the term "Dual 4G" to advertise its HSPA+ and LTE networks, letting users know that if they're in an area with weak or no LTE coverage, T-Mobile's also got an HSPA+ network to fall back on.
It's clear that 2013 is going to be a big year for T-Mobile. Not only is new CEO John Legere still in his first year, but Magenta will also be launching its LTE network, continuing to expand its 1900MHz HSPA+ coverage, acquiring MetroPCS (if the deal gets approval from regulators and MetroPCS shareholders) and officially launching Apple products. The full-on switch to Value plans may be one of the biggest "new things" for T-Mobile this year, though, as it means that T-Mobile will be bucking the two-year contract model that is dominating the mobile industry and trying something new by going all-in with its subsidy-free Value plans. T-Mobile will definitely need to do some work to educate consumers about the change, and it'll be interesting to see how customers react. Of all of the big changes coming to T-Mobile in 2013, which are you most excited about?