T-Mobile CEO and President John Legere unveiled the last in a trio of announcements today with a healthy heaping of Twitter build-up, and this one might be worth the hype – the so-called ‘Uncarrier’ is dropping all domestic overage chargers on its plans, which means just what it says. The change applies to all users on T-Mobile consumer plans, and not just the Simple Starter plan announced last week which promised not to punish users who exceeded their data bucket.
In practice, this means that even entry-level T-Mobile users won’t automatically have to pay for any data or other usage they incur beyond their limits as soon as they exceed them; instead, they’ll have the option to pay for more access, but won’t be forced to do so with just a text warning telling them they’re now in the penalty zone. T-Mobile’s strategy, in other words, is opt-in, whereas other major U.S. carriers still offer something more like an opt-out model, but with the opt out part actually left up to the user disabling data services, removing their SIM card or simply not using their device.
To recap, this means T-Mobile has now introduced its $40 Simple Starter plan, with unlimited minutes and texts, and 500MB of data usage, plus a tablet plan that offers LTE tablets for the same price as Wi-Fi only models when bought through T-Mo, along with free data plan add-ons through the end of the year. Finally, today’s ‘abolishment’ of overages comes with a challenge to AT&T, Sprint and Verizon to do the same, with a petition calling for just that Legere is encouraging people to sign. It’s a bold move by T-Mo, which has had some of its Uncarrier moves copied by competitors already.
Ending domestic overages means you can still incur them while roaming, so watch out for that, but this is actually a really good change in how carrier billing works, giving consumers a lot more choice over their own mobile destiny. We’ll see if everyone else takes the bait, considering how much revenue likely comes from these automatically incurred fees.