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T-Mobile has made some incredible decisions this year regarding their company. It all started back when they dubbed themself the “Uncarrier”, the only carrier out of the big four in the United States that ditched contracts entirely. There were no more hidden fees, you get what you pay for. You didn’t even have subsidized pricing on phones anymore; instead you paid for your device full price over time. It was a decision that was both eye-opening and wonderful at the same time, but the magenta carrier didn’t stop there. The movement was far from over.
But let’s back up for a minute and consider what led T-Mobile to get to this point. As mentioned before, in the United States we have four major carriers that have most of the control over mobile consumers. In order of most subscribers, we have: Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. As many of you probably recall, it was only a couple of short years ago that AT&T was considering purchasing T-Mobile. After it was widely regarded as a bad idea and the merger fell through, it was back to the drawing board for T-Mobile. And that’s when the plan to become the hero mobile consumers needed was born.
How does one go from being the carrier with the least amount of subscribers to the top? First, one needs to consider what the problem is. The problem wasn’t necessarily T-Mobile themselves, but that they didn’t offer anything that other companies didn’t already offer. There was also the problem that T-Mobile was, for the longest time, left in the dark when it came to the ever-popular iPhone. But with everything considered, no, T-Mobile didn’t have a whole lot to offer in comparison to other networks who were doing the same song and dance. Something needed to change.
And boy, did things change. In the past year alone, T-Mobile has managed to ditch contracts, create fair plan pricing, address the issue that receiving upgrades just twice a year is just too long in some cases, and significantly improved international pricing rates. Most recently, they also announced their intention to bring life back to tablets by offering 200MB of free data each month to data-enabled tablets. That’s a lot of curve balls thrown our way, and as good as it might seem, many people are still set in their ways and prefer to stick with what they know. And we in America have, for the most part, been brought up to know that contracts and subsidized pricing is the superior way to go.
Did you stay, switch or leave?
When I first started writing about T-Mobile’s changes over on PhoneDog, I was nothing but ecstatic. This is the mobile revolution we had been waiting for, and it came from the most unexpected carrier of them all. From a carrier that was supposedly 3 out of 6 feet under, they most certainly dug their way out of an iffy situation rather quickly. But even then so, just because it was something we had been waiting for didn’t necessarily mean it was perfect. There was still the concern about the lack of service that the carrier had compared to others, which doesn’t really matter as long as you live in a large city (but not everyone does). And, as silly as it might sound to write it down, all of the changes are.. well, kind of scary, because it’s not what we’re used to. And I’m fairly certain that most of us have been taught that if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. The changes from T-Mobile was one of those things that came across as being “too good to be true”, at least in my opinion. So, despite my enthusiasm over the changes, I stuck with Sprint out of uncertainty.
And quite frankly, I’m kicking myself over the decision now. The more T-Mobile implements in their Uncarrier initiative, the harder I cry myself to sleep at night over the fact that if I want to join the revolution now I’m going to need to pay a hefty $350 ETF, or early termination fee. Did I mention that T-Mobile doesn’t have those either? Coulda, woulda, shoulda. But that’s just me.
I do realize there are plenty of reasons why people would rather stick with other carriers. Sprint offers only Unlimited data at a decent price, AT&T has wireless bundled into their packages, and Verizon arguably gets the best service in the nation. There’s also the fact that every other carrier still allows you to purchase a phone at a subsidized cost, which can seem appealing for those who would rather not pay as much money up front. Although we have since found out that eventually you will pay full price (and more) for that phone over the term of your contract, a price like $199 can look a lot better on paper than something like $499, or $599, or whatever it really costs to purchase a phone. It’s just what we’re familiar with. In general, people don’t seem to like change.
In this case, though, I consider the change a good thing. A great thing, even. I mean, T-Mobile is even influencing the other carriers to follow similar initiatives. All three carriers have already followed through in releasing an early upgrade program. Who knows what else will change in the coming months and years?
Readers, what has been your overall reaction regarding the changes within T-Mobile’s walls? Are you thrilled with the changes, or did you prefer the company when it was being run like most other carriers? Did you end up switching to T-Mobile because of these changes?