T-Mobile has often used its unlimited high-speed data plans as a way to distinguish itself from the competition. According to a T-Mo executive, though, the Un-carrier is hoping to move away from unlimited data plans.
Speaking at an investor conference earlier this month, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said that Magenta has been working to “pivot away” from unlimited high-speed data and that that plan will continue going forward. “We have and continue to have a strategy of pivoting away from unlimited,” Carter explained. “And again, I’ll point to the $25 price increase, two times over the last two years.” The price of T-Mobile’s unlimited high-speed data plan increased by $10 at the start of early 2014 and then went up again at the end of 2015.
While T-Mo may be planning to pivot away from unlimited high-speed data, it hasn’t abandoned the offering quite yet. In fact, it’s currently running a promotion that’ll give you four lines with unlimited high-speed data for $150 per month, and that promo is being advertised on T-Mobile’s website. Carter says that that’s a limited time promo, though. “In regards to our unlimited promotion, it is a promotion, it’s very short time. We pivoted away from using unlimited as our primary promotion mechanism in the prior year and part of what we did with Binge On again was another substantial increase in the price of unlimited.”
T-Mobile has been pushing Binge On quite heavily lately, and the feature became more attractive recently with the addition of YouTube. Binge On lets T-Mobile subscribers stream video from any of the more than 50 Binge On partners without touching their high-speed data, so long as they don’t mind their video being streamed at 480p quality. T-Mobile also offers Music Freedom, which enables subscribers to stream music from a number of services without using their high-speed data. Since unlimited users don’t need to worry about their high-speed data usage, Binge On and Music Freedom appeal more to folks on plans with limited high-speed data allotments, and Carter says T-Mobile has seen “a not insignificant increase” in data usage among those users with Binge On, while data usage of unlimited users has largely stayed the same.
Even though Carter says that T-Mobile is planning to pivot away from unlimited high-speed data, it remains to be seen exactly what T-Mo plans to do with it. More price increases could be in the pipeline, but since T-Mo just raised the price of unlimited data at the end of 2015, it might be a bit before we see another price increase. And T-Mobile does grandfather older plans, so if you’ve got an unlimited data plan that you’re happy with (and it’s not a promo plan that might eventually change), you should be able to keep your grandfathered old plan for a while.