Will T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” Approach Eliminate Contracts, Revamp Marketing Campaign?

 

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Like all rumor stories, take everything below with a grain of salt and while we’re confident the details are accurate today, they could easily change tomorrow. 

T-Mobile’s move to the “uncarrier” of the US wireless industry will kick into high gear later this month with some sweeping changes according to new info that just landed in my inbox. According to the newly arrived intel, T-Mobile will kick their uncarrier efforts off on March 24th, with an announcement as early as March 4th. T-Mobile’s uncarrier moves will bring forth a number of changes that will make any transition to a Value Plan only world a little easier. So what can we expect?

  • For starters, kiss contracts goodbye as T-Mobile moves to a no-contract world. Existing customers will finish out their current contract or upgrade to a new device without a new contract, whichever comes first. New customers won’t have to suffer with any long-term commitments. Contract wise that is. 
  • Early termination fees will be a thing of the past as well, which makes complete sense when announced with the removal of contracts.
  • Expect the introduction of a new equipment installment plan tier, likely in the $25 – 30 dollar range as T-Mobile moves to make all its smartphones $99 or less as down payments. A $30 tier makes sense if you consider the retail value of the device is $699 = $30 x 20 monthly payments.

But WAIT, that’s not all. 

Like all good rumors in the tech world, these details are subject to change but we’re pretty comfortable calling this next bit of info as something you should expect to see later this year. What we’re hearing is that T-Mobile is working to fine-tune their branding in a post LTE, MetroPCS world. Will it involve another store redesign or a brand new marketing campaign? Perhaps, but here’s what we do know:

Watch for the phrase or phrasing “Dual 4G” which likely plays off T-Mobile’s HSPA+ and LTE dual networks later this year. It’s going to be interesting to see how T-Mobile portrays dual networks, especially considering T-Mobile’s “fallback” network is already marketed as competitive with existing LTE networks from the likes of AT&T and Verizon. So how will T-Mobile promote a new LTE network that’s as fast as their current HSPA+ network in the real world according to their current marketing efforts? It’s a question we’re asking ourselves and how T-Mobile answers it will likely play a role in how fast their LTE network is adopted.

As for what’s being retired, say a fond farewell to the “Stick Together” tagline, it’s gone. Same with Carly’s Ducati, that’s gone too. We’re not sure what’s replacing the “Stick Together” tagline or if Carly will end up riding a Magenta M1Abrams tank in her next series of commercials, but things are changing as T-Mobile begins to reposition itself as the “uncarrier.”

We also hear that the brand staples — logo, color palette, etc — will remain unchanged. The rebrand itself may focus solely on the “uncarrier” approach and not necessarily the company’s easily identifiable logos and colors. All in all it’s a pretty bold reinvention of the company, but like all moves T-Mobile makes — it’s all going to come down to marketing, marketing, and marketing. Will T-Mobile and it’s newly minted CEO be up to the challenge? We’ll find out soon enough.

 

 

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  • tom

    What if you have bad or no credit like someone thats 19? I have $300 now for a note 2

  • xmiro

    we’ll know if it works in about 365 days from when the changes occur

  • tomarone

    Cool thing: look at planet fitness. They have $10.00 a month plan, and they are swamped. If T-Mobile can make a cheap plan for any phone, they will be swamped.

  • Mobilewolf789

    I’m not sure if this was written before but people should remember to use the cash in selling off your old phones to help make a bigger down payment if allowed or use the cash to get a cheaper price off of ebay. (I would recommend nexus 4 but I understand everyone has different tastes)

    • xmiro

      Ebay is better for buying. Selling-wise it’s very high on fees. And I’d someone like Gazelle you’ll hardly get anything for it in many cases

  • landmarkcm

    Ok sounds alright to a point but 30.00 a month extra that’s seems a little much. How cheap are the plans gonna be.. Better of with my Optimus L9 type deals Im on. Only 199.00 for the phone & it’s a good one & 60 bucks a month only for my service..

  • dom

    So, does it mean that discounts (such as AAA) are a thing of a past?

  • James

    Alright so my family has the 3000 whenever minutes + unlimited text
    plan and I am currently paying around $206 per month for 5 lines, 3 of
    which have the $20 unlimited 4G service. Approximately how much will we
    be saving (if any) in a value plan?

    • asmidnightfalls

      Roughly 80 to 120$ with the same services and the value plan.

  • Adrian Torres-Vega

    Interestingly, I was just on the phone with T Mobile 2 days ago and the the rep was desperately trying to get me to renew the contracts on my 4 lines…

  • Nearmsp

    Yesterday the Wall Street Journal had a news article which should send a chill down T-mobile leadership team’s spines. Leap Wireless, which is the only wireless provider that does not provide iPhone subsidy, reported it is left with a huge unsold inventory of iPhone’s. T-mobile is also going the same route as Leap. So T-mobile needs to exercise caution and reconsider their strategy. Today’s MetroPCS’s largest shareholder came out with a statement saying he with his 10% stock would vote no to the merger.

    • xmiro

      maybe nobody wants to be on LeapWireless?
      Considering how many people come to T-Mobile with iPhones I don’t think they have anything to worry about

      • JB

        Not to mention I don’t think Leap financed their iPhones like T-Mobile will. That will be one of the difference makers there.

      • Nearmsp

        Leap sells new iPhones. Those who come to Tmobile are those who have out of contract iPhones. When T-mobile sells new iPhones leak Leap we will have an equivalent situation.

  • http://www.youtube.com/#/mrjlwilliams J. Williams

    WOW

  • http://www.facebook.com/ajac09 Anthony Evans Jr

    and this may get me to leave AT&T cant wait to see it!

  • UMA_Fan

    I think no contract offerings will get a lot of people to sign up for post paid Value family plans without the fear of being ‘locked in.’

    One of the problems with T-Mobile and post paid growth is that I could see a lot of the ‘dissatisfied’ Verizon and At&t customers being disillusioned with contracts in their entirety. A lot of those customers see no guarantee they won’t run into the same problems they’ve had if they sign a T-Mobile contract.

    Then again, wasn’t Even More Plus a disaster for them? A lot of customers weren’t satisfied and there were HIGH amounts of churn because customers didn’t feel they were tied down even if they owed money on a phone. However, If no contract offerings are ALL that’s available customers may react differently. When even more plus was around there were huge phone deals being shoved into contract customers faces and there was no way even more plus customers could take advantage of them. Hopefully they will have all these kinks worked out.

    • Durandal_1707

      The problem with Even More Plus was that it was marketed terribly. If this rumor is true, and no-contract postpaid plans are going to be Plan A, you can expect this to change.

  • UMA_Fan

    Dual 4G is some good marketing. What T-Mobile offers now with hspa+42 is comparable to LTE. At&t hspa does not.

    Here’s to counting down the days until at&t bashes T-Mobile for the use of Dual 4G branding and then eventually start using it themselves…. just like with hspa+

  • Guest

    I wonder how the pay structure is going to change for employees, this is what I’m waiting to see.

  • http://knightofscorpio.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

    This sounds like Heaven. I would love to NOT be on a contract. I know it may sound crazy to some, but just the thought of being locked into a contract, to anyone, really makes me feel some sort of way. I love T-Mobile, but I always wanted to be free of contract, and something bad always ended up happening where I had to upgrade a phone and I didn’t have the funds to afford it outright (resulting in contract extension), or I upgraded to a new plan (this happened once).

    • dickhouse

      hello wake up…you will still be on a “contract” with your device!!

      if you “finance” a device and end up leaving the company after 4 months, you will still pay an early termination fee.

      Its all a bait and switch marketing ploy, T-Mobile only re worded it, its not that t-mobile is creating something new and innovative

      • http://knightofscorpio.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

        Who ever said, I was financing a device? HELLO WAKEUP, I never said I was going to (Again). Read over what I said.

      • Durandal_1707

        OTOH, if you just pay the full price of the phone (like I do), then there’s no need to finance it. Problem solved.

  • justSaying

    Not sure if anyone has said this already but wouldn’t having no contracts just make it easier for people to leave T-Mobile is they are not satisfied with their experience ?

    • Mike Oxbig

      Yes it will, and that is the point. They are showing that they aren’t afraid of people leaving. T-Mobile is saying “We’re so sure you’re going to love us, we are willing to let you use our service and not chain you to it!” There is the cost of the phone of course, but you can recoup most of it if you sold the phone. Their service is actually very good, and the alternative is very expensive and locks you up with higher monthly bill and a big fat $350 ETF!! T-Mobile RULEZ!!!

      • Get_at_Me

        If they cancel before the phone is paid off, the customer is responsible for that remaining balance. If they dont pay that balance, the device will be imei blocked! Which means it becomes a brick.

  • superg05

    this can backfire so badly

  • http://twitter.com/rjs8605 rj

    Does this include a updated coverage map, the one on the tmo website is from like 10 years ago lol.

  • mannybooboo

    gotta love it when your merit increase and perks are taken away from you but now we have become a pre paid company which in turn will make it harder for me to make any decent money!! gone are the upgrades, gone are contracts which as an employee is our money maker!!

    and if anyone comes out and says “you should be lucky that you have a job” than you are a complete kool aid drinker!! this is a 2 way street…I am lucky to have a job, but T-Mobile is lucky to have me as an employee….do you hear me “higher ups??” YOU ARE LUCKY TO HAVE ME OR ALL THE FRONT LINERS AS EMPLOYEES.!!

    this place is becoming the laughing stock of the industry

  • tmorep

    ok, so what about fraud will be at an all time high with no contract and lower in store price for the device?

    scenerio, customer can get an Iphone 5 for $99 down, and $30 a month…phone is $699.99, the rate plan would be roughly $112 for unlimited everything, PHP (which will now be $12 for IPhone) and EIP…the main thing is the customer pays $99 plus tax in store…customer doesn’t pay their bill, phone gets shut off and IMEI blocked, customer goes and gets the phone unlocked or uses a GEVEY sim and can use their IPhone with AT&T or any other provider for only $99…..

    hmmm makes alot of sense!!! is there a sign hanging in corporate that says “is this right for the company”

    • gnd

      Not that it will matter to some people, but that would ding your credit report! I still say that this is a bad idea. I do not want to a big monthly payment.. would rather pay subsidized rate and then $50 / month. maybe a little higher when I finally cancel my land line.

    • thepanttherlady

      They won’t be able to do that because the IMEI # will be blacklisted. So, they’ll probably sell their phone to some unsuspecting person who just bought themselves an expensive paperweight.

      • slk331

        there are ways around IMEI being blacklisted!

      • tmorep

        if you have any experience in the cell industry or devices than you should know that you can take a blocked device, pay $10-20 dollars to get it unlocked and use the device on H2O , AT&T or over seas…cmon use your brain

  • slk331

    please people you aren’t seeing this. tmo isn’t really doing anything that a company like VZW isn’t already doing. VZW sells the iphone 5 for $650 full price. you pay $199 with a 2 yr “contract” there is a $350 etf making a total of $550(look you actually get the phone for $100 less lol) for the phone if you cancel. your etf goes down as you get closer to end of your contract. What this means is VZW is requiring you to stay with them until they get the money back for the full price of phone. Tmo is doing the same thing by making you pay for the phone over 20 mos on your bill and if you leave you have to pay the remaining balance. REMAINING BALANCE=ETF.

    All tmo is doing is changing the wording from “contract” to eip! VZW never puts people in “contract” if you buy phone full price or supply your phone and they never sign contract for a price plan.

    Yes tmo is cheaper monthly and yes when you pay off phone your price drops but don’t you all want the newest phone so what are the chances you will never have a lower price?

    Tmo isn’t doing anything CRAZY they are switching wording and mostly just making people believe they are doing something innovating . The big question is this going to save this company?

    • bisayan

      I disgree with you! Verizon does still make you sign up for 2yrs contract! Do u have any link or source that u back your comment? Tmo is way cheaper than on verizon plans period!

      • slk331

        Well first you should re read what i wrote VZW only signs a 2 yr contract when you get a discount on the phone!!!!!!!!
        as far as cheaper tmo is cheaper but after you add the eip for phone tmo price is about the same.

        • Mike Oxbig

          Really??? For new Verizon customers also? I can buy a Verizon phone full price and get the service without a contract??? I don’t think so! lol!

        • tmorep

          call the verizon customer service and ask them if you supply your own device will you have to sign a contract ….(800) 922-0204

        • slk331

          You don’t believe me call! I just added a line and used an old phone with NO contract!!

        • Durandal_1707

          Hell, when I was on Verizon, they wanted me to renew the contract just to change my rate plan. I wasn’t even getting a new phone or anything – all I wanted to do was to increase the number of minutes on my plan per month, and they wouldn’t do it without a new contract.

        • 21stNow

          I went to Verizon Wireless two years ago with my own device and didn’t start a two-year contract. I don’t know where this rumor comes from.

        • Get_at_Me

          Tmo offers more transparency and flexibility. But youre comments about phone cost being hidden in the rate plan/etf is true.

    • bisayan

      are you really comparing verizon plans i to tmobile plans really? Aite lets start where is yohr chart at? Really Silk331? Pls. no bs but do your research before comparing..

      • slk331

        Wow do you know how to read? Where in my comment did I compare price plans? Tmo is cheaper! The comment is regarding contracts and eip!
        Before you comment again please read what I am saying!

      • AndroidProfit

        Wow a fine example of the failure of the US public education system.

    • WW

      It’s worth noting that with all traditional wireless service plans, if you don’t upgrade your phone as SOON as you are eligible, you continue to “make payments” on your phone even though you’ve already finished paying it off.

      Anyone out there voluntarily continue making payments to your leinholder after you finished paying off your auto loan?

    • AndroidProfit

      What they are doing is putting a roadblock on US consumers from ever being able to buy a smartphone and then carrier shop. TMobile is no better than Verizon, ATT, or Sprint. Until we can buy our own phones we will forever be under the control of the carriers.

      • Get_at_Me

        This is only an option for savvy ppl. The average joe isnt buying a phone at full retail.

    • 21stNow

      On the current Value plans, remaining balance does not equal ETF. If you leave before you have finished paying for the device, you owe the early termination fee AND the remaining balance.

  • rubi76

    Can someone clarify this:

    “Existing customers will finish out their current contract or upgrade to a new device without a new contract, whichever comes first.”

    I don’t get it… either your contract is about to end or? If you qualify for an upgrade but you still have a contract you have the right to cancel that contract with no fee?

  • rubi76

    Also: is this saying that when we sign up for a (cheaper) value plan – with or without getting a phone – we don’t have to sign for 2 years? That would be amazing.

  • Zak

    The worst part about T-Mo’s EIP is that it’s absolutely making it nearly impossible to buy and sell TMo devices on the secondary market. Any TMo phone you buy today on Craig’s or eBay could be blacklisted a month from now if it was on an EIP and the seller stops paying his 20/mo. TMo has built in uncertainty in buying/selling their hardware by not making publicly available a database of IMEIs that are not owned free and clear. It would be like buying a used car without proof of title. TMobile could easily fix. What they’ve essentially done is build in a second “lock” of sorts that is severely hampering the cost of your phone should you choose to resell it.

  • tmorep

    hello wake up people!!!…you will still be on a “contract” WITH YOUR DEVICE!!

    if you “finance” a device and end up leaving the company after 4 months, you will still pay an early termination fee.

    Its all a bait and switch marketing ploy, T-Mobile only re worded it, its not that t-mobile is creating something new and innovative

    • AndroidProfit

      Yup! They are simply getting you to agree to pay for a smartphone with a very artificially inflated price! I mean SERIOUSLY that took some BRASS BALLS to do what they did with the Nexus 4 pricing!

    • lnxarepou812

      the EIP breakdown is going to 25 payments (down payment + 24 monthly payments) so in essence you are correct–traditional contracts won’t exist but if you cancel before the 24 payments then you have to pay off the phone immediately

      what hasn’t been answered is how classic customers are going to be switched over–i’ve been told migration fees aren’t going away

    • Durandal_1707

      Unless you just buy your phone at full-price. Then, you’ll be able to be completely free of any contract whatsoever, which is exactly how I like it.

  • 1dalib

    This fits with my upgrade experience in mid February. Customer care offered a Samsung Galaxy S III on a value plan, no contract, for $10/month for 20 months. I was stunned and snapped it up!

  • Dakota

    Get rid of carly period.. She doesn’t work…. Why tie the new Tmobile to the old. What does no contract mean… Pay for phone and it’s yours but still locked to Tmobile… So you run like a prepaid… Im very confused…. I didn’t even realize that stick together was a tag line. What did that mean anyway….

  • Tmosence83

    Stop with the “grain of salt” already. Its a rumor. You dont need to say something about a grain of salt every post about a rumor. Your talking to a smart bunch of readers here. We understand that everything you say cant be taken to the bank. That said love the site. Read every post and check it everyday

    • http://tmonews.com David

      I wish that true, but it isn’t…and you can tell that just by reading the comments or the tweets. I HAVE to emphasize it — if I don’t, the emails and social media messages I get show that people take it as gospel and when it doesn’t happen make wild accusations about being misled. Personally, I agree with you, but you’ll notice it’s something every tech blog does…there’s a reason for it. Le sigh.

  • AndroidProfit

    I just wish that TMobile would at least acknowledge that they are artificially inflating the cost of the smartphones. They are acting like they are savior though! Give me a break! This is nothing but slick marketing with a sleazy used car salesman CEO. After his completely unprofessional comments in Vegas I am surprised anyone takes this guy seriously.

    • Get_at_Me

      TMO isn’t inflating he cost of devices (except in the case of the Nexus 4)…And they only did that to align its cost with other comparable devices like the S3, Note 2 etc. A highend smartphone bought at full retail unlocked or locked will run you $600+ anywhere you buy it

  • Levron

    I am eligible for a full upgrade pricing on my phone, so should I get my subsidized phone upgrade now before it goes away? Do you think the HTC One will come out before subsidies go away?

    • Get_at_Me

      No! Convert to value or wait until the new plans roll out. By all means, do not upgrade on a classic/legacy plan. Youre shooting yourself in the foot if you do

  • Jose M Gonzalez

    I wish they’d drop all the contracts, not just offer no new contracts

    • Get_at_Me

      existing contracts will mot likely have to be honored. phone installment plan customers are bound by the phone payments anyway (which can be paid off early at any time)….itll be interesting to see if plan pricing changes

  • IAN

    getting the nexus phone from now on!

  • RickyRicon

    No credit check required, yes, no? Can you pay using bank checking acct, thinking about switching really…

    • Get_at_Me

      There will have to be credit checks i’d imagine….The worse a person’s credit, the higher their deposit will be.

  • RonJeezy

    From all the comments I’ve seen most of us are technology heads. For most people that just go with the flow it will have no effect on them. T mobile needs to take shots at competitors and get better cell service. Already number 2 network speeds but 4th in customers and number 1 in price that doesn’t add up.

  • V_i_m

    This could go either way. People are so used to their free or dirt cheap top of the line smart phones, that they now expect them.

    The big winners in this transition will be people who bring their own phones, people who like cheap phones, and people who keep their phones for over 2 years. People with the best grandfathered plans who are used to taking advantage of the sales to get the latest and greatest android smart phone for free every 20-22 months will likely find themselves paying more. In the short term this is going to increase the churn among post-paid customers with grandfathered plans if they’re forced to switch to the published Value plan due to the loss of their subsidies. If they’re quietly transitioned to some sort of unpublished “Loyalty” value plan that would be an entirely different story.

  • Richard Yarrell

    This sound pretty great in my mind. Trust this when it works all the other carriers will follow.

  • jobber99

    So shouldn’t everyone just buy nexus phones direct from Google and call it a day?

  • Not Happy Camper

    T-mobile rep asked me to sign a two year contract over the phone to lower my bill without telling me that I would have to pay full price for future upgrades. Be aware.

    • bobjones

      you are dumb

  • cdm21

    good move releasing this info for the customers dave, sucks for the reps that work and get paid based on renewing contracts tho.

    • Get_at_Me

      they’ll have to re-work the commission structure. maybe they’ll compensate in another area

  • Mr. G

    Tmobile needs to make a bold move. The Uncarrier,plan is more looking like they are going to drop the classic plans and only have value plans and monthly 4g. As for article stating value plans are no contract, they are wrong. Value plans just give the consumer a discount on there monthly bill and allows the phone to broken in to payments (EIP). Value plans are under contract even if you don’t use EIP. Bringing your own device just doesn’t add the payment. Value plans are cheaper and great for someone not wanting to have to wait 2 years for an upgrade. Just pay off your device and break a new device into payments, but remember when you use EIP, you are starting a new contract just like when you take a subsidy on a device. The Uncarrier model is eliminating phone subsidies bold move and I believe it will work.

  • Stuart Anderson

    I’m curious to see how this works out. Current value plans include a contract. Seems like the new plans won’t have that, you’ll just have to finish paying for the phone. The difference is subtle, but the “you can leave if you pay $xxx” isn’t changing. The major difference will be for customers who buy/provide their own phones, and for customers who stick with their phone beyond the typical 24 month contract.

  • http://twitter.com/412Central 4-12

    Change the damn logo!!

  • Guy

    What I don’t understand is how will comitting to a payment plan for a phone be any different than committing to a contract with the provider? Sure it’s normally a 2 year contract, but even the example above shows that a $30 monthly pymt on a $700 phopne would last 20 months. So…. you can avoid a contract for their service but if you don’t pay for your entire phone upfront, you would get stuck paying for it anyway if you chose to drop T-Mobile after the 3rd, 4th or 10th month. Will these phones be unlocked for use on other carrier’s networks should people decide to leave T-Mobile?
    One other thing to consider… their network!!!!! They have the highest churn out of every major carrier, going to a no contract model will only increase that. I just don’t see it… until the phones come WAY down in price.

  • Oliver Jackson

    SWEET!!!

  • Oliver Jackson

    The more you think about it it’s the reason why the Metro PCS merger will happen.A lot of similarities…

  • tech916

    Will Fail, I am a Tmobile Customer and WIll exit as Soon as my contract expires.

  • Randall Lind

    Does that mean full price phones or can I still buy one for $200 then pay the rest over 2 years? I am poor and $600+ is a lot for me. My monthly bill with tax and insurance is $111