Can we take a moment to appreciate what T-Mobile is doing?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
It hasn't been very long since T-Mobile officially launched their Uncarrier campaign where they broke the mold and decided not to be just another carrier who locks users in to two-year contracts once they upgrade their phone. The catch? You'll be paying full price for the new device over time, but on the upside (or downside), you've likely been doing the very same thing with any other carrier that subsidizes phones. Most phone plans on Sprint, Verizon and AT&T are higher because they include the price of the phone as if it were unsubsidized. Not only that, but the price plan never changes throughout the duration of your contract. On T-Mobile, once you pay off the phone entirely, the montly amount you would have been paying drops off of your monthly price. And let's not forget that you can leave at any point in time without paying that pesky Early Termination Fee.
That was the first step for T-Mobile, and undoubtedly the move that got people to take notice of the magenta carrier for the first time in a long time. Before these bold moves started taking place, nobody really cared about T-Mobile. They didn't have a great network, they didn't have the best selection of phones, and the only thing they really had going for them was that they wouldn't charge you an arm and a leg for monthly service. But that wasn't enough to keep it out of last place when it came to subscribers, because nobody wants to pay for monthly service with a company where you don't get good service, even if it is cheap. Fortunately, T-Mobile recognizes that this was an issue and is consciously making an effort to improve their network across the United States.
Yesterday, T-Mobile also announced how they plan on changing international calling, texting and data plans when it comes to pricing for customers who travel abroad. As somebody who used to work in the industry, I have to say that what they're able to do is impressive on just how much money they can save the customer compared to what other carriers charge. Minutes, texts and data all cost an arm and a leg when using a phone internationally, and if there's one thing that gave representatives a headache at the end of the day it was trying to figure out what went wrong with a person who signed up for an international plan and their bill suddenly shot up hundreds and hundreds of dollars for no apparently good reason - and was usually correct. The rates at which International services are charged at is ridiculous, and even though I don't travel abroad much, the fact that T-Mobile is also willing to address this is just giving people one more reason to love what they're doing.
Especially because you don't even have to switch to T-Mobile in order to reap the benefits. Other carriers are following in their footsteps in order not to lose their customers.
Another thing that T-Mobile implemented in their new Uncarrier initiative was to give back to customers the freedom to upgrade sooner than two years' time. Not only does technology change so quickly that you can hardly keep up with the times, but phones are such an important part of our daily lives that they do inevitably get worn down, usually before two years is up. If you were ready for a brand new phone before it was time for your traditional bi-annual upgrade discount, you better be prepared to fork over hundreds of dollars at one time. But with T-Mobile's new Jump program, you could switch up your phone every 6 months if you wanted. In an effort not to look bad, all three other major U.S. carriers followed by offering similar programs. Each offer their own set of rules, however, so it's best to pay attention to details before signing up for any of these programs.
I suspect that it won't be long before the other carriers follow the new international plans that T-Mobile is implementing as well. After all, business users and travelers alike could greatly benefit from what T-Mobile is offering, and I bet it wouldn't take much to get them to switch since the deal they're offering is really that much better than any other carrier. If you travel enough, it's probably worth the switch on its own.
It's kind of hard not to like T-Mobile right now, at least in my opinion. They're not just changing their own network for the better; they're challenging other networks to earn back their customer's respect and trust and make things better. It's not really a secret that these carriers have been getting pretty greedy; they've been due for some changes for a while now, and T-Mobile is helping to push things along. Unfortunately, pushing is all they can do, but at least they're able to do something and it seems to be somewhat working. I know I'm happy with the changes taking place.
What are your thoughts on T-Mobile's new bold moves, readers? Have you switched to T-Mobile, do you plan on switching, or are you sticking with your carrier for other reasons that even T-Mobile can't change? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!