T-Mobile Has Taught Us That Change Is Not Always Bad

tmo-uncarrier-image

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?

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  • Encino Stan

    Not so subtle editorial to allow us to examine changes at this site?

  • kalel33

    They really didn’t ditch them entirely. I’m still in contract and have an ETF, so they are still holding on to some parts of the old system.

    • Alexander

      Because you have a grandfathered plan… IIRC it won’t cost you much if you’re 18 months in your 2yr contract to switch to Simple Choice.

      • kalel33

        I was just correcting the part of the article that stated, “ditched contracts entirely” which was later edited. It wouldn’t cost me a thing to go over to the Simple Choice plan, because my plan never had the option for subsidies. I don’t want to switch to the Simple Choice plans because my 500 minute Value plan is much cheaper. Also, I could switch to the Simple Choice plans but my ETF and contract stay in place.

        • Alexander

          Well, I guess it would be better to say “ditched contracts entirely for new customers” or something like that. How much data do you have on that plan?

        • kalel33

          I have 2GB, which I use less than a GB a month. I pay $50 a month for 500 minutes, unlimited text, and 2GB of web.

        • Alexander

          With Simple Choice, $60 for unl talk/text, 2.5GB data :) I pay $70, for unlimited + 2.5GB hotspot. Use 8-12GB per month (LTE is faster than my WiFi connection), and used up 48GB one month to see if it was truly unlimited.

        • kalel33

          I’ve only gone over 2GB once in the last year and a half, which was an error on a podcast download, and I never go over my minutes. Reps have tried talking me into it but it’s a 20% increase in monthly service if I switched. I can use hotspot whenever I want to, because I’m rooted, custom ROM, and just change the user agent in the browser.

        • Dakota

          Ive been using Straight Talk and get 2.5gb of high speed for $45. Ive been using a Tmobile SIM but since TMobile LTE is not offered, I may switch over to an ATT Sim card. (The TMobile service has been the same as I used to get when I was a direct Tmobile customer) Just not sure if I want to keep my paid for phone or get a new one. But paying less than half of what my friends pay makes me happy at the end of each month

        • Dakota

          Do you watch video or stream music all the time on your phone? I don’t see how people use that much data unless they’re never on wifi and are on their phone constantly. I have no desire to be watching movies or TV shows on a small screen. But good for you

        • Alexander

          Yeah I’m constantly on my phone or playing music, haha.

        • Alexander

          That’s true, same with me. Contract ends June 2014

      • http://profiles.google.com/gallimichael Michael G. Galli

        They will make him switch with no penalty as of this month. He can stay or go, no ETF’s. Simple Choice from now on *only*.

  • Chris

    Stayed. Four years ago I came very close to making the switch to Verizon. Keep in mind I’ve been with T-Mobile now for almost 15 years – since it was Omnipoint back in the 90s. I couldn’t be happier now that I stayed and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

  • guitarthrower

    I made the switch to T-mobile. sure I had to pay to get out of contract, but that was nothing compared to the savings I would get every month.

  • sal

    I too ETF and still under contract for the past 7 yrs. and mad about the controversy of being force to migrate to there new plans. I just want out with no ETF!!

  • Liam

    Maybe you can convince PhoneDog to pay for your ETF so that the person writing for T-Mobile News actually, you know, uses T-Mobile.

    I switched from Sprint. I honestly think that in 2 years they will probably have the best network in the US as long as they don’t screw up the plan they have laid out. However as a customer it will be a slow, long, painful transition. I didn’t have it in me to deal with their spotty LTE and unusable 3G for another two years.

    I switched to T-Mobile with the intention of moving back to Sprint, but now I don’t think I will be.

    • Dakota

      I only read complaints about Sprint; if its network is that bad, how do they have more users than Tmobile? Sprint must be ok in some parts of the country? I know last time I went to my local store, it couldn’t even access their own LTE network and the employees were extremely rude

      • Alvin Brinson

        Sprint has a few things in their favor.

        1. A long, long history. There are customers that have been on Sprint since before “T-Mobile” existed and was Voicestream instead. Sprint not changing names helped a lot. Even before that, Sprint long distance was well respected for high call clarity, an advertising message that carried over well to cellular service.

        2. Corporate, corporate, corporate. Because of its long history, Sprint has many corporate contracts. Many users are on Sprint because their companies paid for the service. Even if the business no longer provides the phone, there are still many users who get employer discounts, much more so than on other carriers. Some of the discounts were incredibly huge, to the point where (correct me if I’m wrong) recently Sprint has been trying to get people off of those plans.

        3. Sprint USED to have a good network. Emphasis on USED TO. It has been crumbling in the last few years, but dedicated customers remember “the good old days”…

        4. Contracts. Just like AT&T and Verizon, Sprint plays the game of mismatched contract end dates and family plans. Sure, Jane and Sue are up for renewal and could jump to Magenta. But Bob and Sam upgraded 6 months ago and are still in-contract. And Fred broke his phone without insurance 2 weeks after upgrading, and had to use Jane’s upgrade anyway. So does Bob switch to a single-user plan on another carrier? Nope, he just sucks it up and re-ups. That’s the problem with family plans and contracts. You can almost never get out.

        It can take a LONG time for a network to degrade under those conditions.

        T-Mobile never had the history that it could depend on to bolster its reputation, corporate contracts were few due to the relative youth of the carrier, the network is mostly new. And, most damning, T-Mobile is light on family plans. Having been the carrier of a “new generation” (like Pepsi!), many folks on T-Mobile were weaned on Sidekicks. These people could jump ship at a moment’s notice, since they weren’t caught in the family plan trap. Many of them did, when the great Sidekick Crash happened. I was a T-Mobile PDA Tech when that happened. That single event was hell. I had to cover Sidekick support (though I normally did Android/WinMo/BB), and customers were furious, and had a right to be. They didn’t want to hear that it was due to Microsoft’s botched acquisition of Danger. They wanted to hear they got their data back. Many of them never did. Many of those jumped to other carriers out of anger. That was the beginning of the end, really, or it would have been had the AT&T merger not fallen through and John Legere taken over.

        • mingkee

          Do you know why Voicestream was born?
          Do a research about “Sprint Spectrum” and you will see.

        • Bklynman

          Let not forget,Sprint is now own by Soft Bank,once they start to pour money into there network,it will be up and running.

      • guest

        Umm, Sprint-Nextel merger. Put them over 50 million Duh!!!!!!!!!!

  • Phillie Blunt

    I’ve been with T-Mobile since voice stream

    • B

      I started at Omnipoint

      • Phillie Blunt

        We’ve been with T-Mobile for a long time

        • Torry Skurski

          Yeah, I’ve had the same account since ’98 with Powertel, then Voicestream.

  • jim kenobi

    I’m more interested in how tmo news expects to serve its readers now. What makes these people qualified are they passionate about T-mobile? I doubt it. Is this here just to get page views? Where will they get there information from? I know I wouldn’t share anything with them.

    • Phillie Blunt

      they say some of the people work for t-mobile

  • James

    Boooooooooooooooooooooo. That is all.

  • 21stNow

    Oh, so now I have to look at the name of the post’s author before I read a post on tmonews. No disrespect to Ms. Scantlin, but I got tired of trying to avoid those blog posts on phonedog and have visited that site a lot less over the last year.

    This writing style of not getting the facts straight (receiving upgrades just twice a year is too long in some cases – I think that she meant receiving upgrades just once every two years), explaining things that readers probably already know (the whole post) and posts that aim to be thought-provoking but fall short (the whole post), is hard to read through.

    The focus of tmonews is not only information about T-Mobile, but passion about T-Mobile. Some posters heckled David to no end when he used the iPhone when it wasn’t available on T-Mobile, as if this lessened his loyalty to the company (I disagreed with this sentiment). Now, we are being asked to accept a writer that doesn’t even use the service at all.

    I hope that this is only a stop-gap measure until a new managing editor can be found for tmonews.

    • guest

      too funny… i thought the same thing and had to reread and questioned myself why I was questioning her meaning (in regards to “upgrades just twice a year”)

      • an0nim0

        It’s a not-so-subtle hint about T-Mobile’s upcoming “Might as well jump – JUMP!” program, where you can upgrade twice as often as “JUMP!”

    • GiraffeandtheStone

      Of course it’s a stop-gap, they’re still actively seeking a managing editor. I do think that it’ll be important for said editor to know the viewing audience well, so I’m glad you’re saying these things.

  • yaddayaddasomething

    this is a phone dog article rather than a tmonews article. at the very least this is a new years eve like story reflecting on tmobiles changes. I want rumors not reflections and sprint buyer’s remorse.

    • Dakota

      Get ready for the same drivel from their other sites. They’re already trying to look for content. And often the same articles and writers are on all sites. They ruined other sites they took over and this site probably will be no different. Time will tell, but they’re not going to have the inside contacts that David did -

    • GiraffeandtheStone

      In short notice the managing editor changes – they’re going to ask for other writers to fill the void in the meantime who don’t have the same type of rapport with people that David did. One day after the announcement I think we can be OK with articles popping up that seem a little lacking of substance and more full on analysis.

  • Dakota

    As an individual customer, I feel the only options I have left for affordable plans are Tmobile or Straight Talk. Verizon and ATT prices are just outrageous and Sprints network is too shaky. If I needed a lot of data, Id probably go for Tmobile. Or if I needed to make payments over time. Otherwise Id go prepaid.

  • Bklynman

    How is this news? Did I miss something? Spin doctors are in the house.

    • Alvin Brinson

      Trying to make “change” a good thing. That’s OK. Relating the change to the editorial shift of the site with the Exodus of the site’s founder, on what appears to be less than amicable terms, not so much.

      Whether this is good change or not, we the commenters and readers shall be the judges.

      Taking cheap shots like this isn’t a good start.

  • Alex Zapata

    Calm down everyone, I know this transition period is very hard for most of us (my heart sank when I heard the news) but there’s nothing we can do about it.

    For now I’m reserving my judgment, but David left some enormous shoes to fill. Only time will reveal how TMO news will go.

  • timmyjoe42

    That article felt like I just attended a 3 hour lecture where I nodded off for awhile and then walked out wondering why the lecture wasn’t 5 minutes.

  • Goodbytmo

    If you don’t have Tmobile then shut your f-ing mouth, you are writing for tmonews. Really, one day that’s all it took ? To get some know nothing about Tmobile jack-ass in here!

  • Viper Matrix Wireless

    I agree with the ppl giving this article NEGATIVE REVIEWS. Thats all i’m going to say.

  • Guest

    Dave to me to be open minded about the sudden change and why don’t we listen to him.
    I have been wondering why so I asked him over LinkedIn, and I got his advice.
    This can be difficult to accept a major change, but why don’t we take a little time and see what will follow?
    Same thing applies towards T-Mobile and we see something next to revolutionary. Personally, I like this “fair play” idea.

  • Andrew Paluszewski

    This article is a slap in the face of David and all of us readers subliminally.

    • GinaDee

      calm down Andrew

  • applegeek29

    What changes? I spent over $600 on an iPhone 5 with T-Mobile and 6 months later I’m STILL fighting with them to unlock my device. I’m a current T-Mobile customer, account has always been in good standing, but I’m on my 4th request and they’re still responding with new excuses for denying me an unlock code (and none of these reasons are listed on their SIM Unlock Policy either). My favourite one was “You haven’t used your device within the past 7 days.” Total lie. As far as I’m concerned, T-Mobile is no better than the other 3 carriers. They’re just better at convincing customers that they’ve gone pro-consumer.

    • Tmoguy

      Are u still paying to the device??

      • Tmoguy

        Paying off*

    • tmobigboy

      hey if by any chance you are in ny id be more than glad to help you with your unlockin issues, i am a tmobile employee and would like to help out!…

    • TMOCustomer

      In order to get your device unlocked, the device has to be paid off in FULL before it can be unlocked. If you purchased it outright, you can have it unlocked after 60 DAYS OF USE. If they’re beating around the bush, you’re better off paying for a service to unlock it for you.

  • hmmmm….

    I thought it was called tmonews, not “my regrets of not getting T-Mobile”

    • Paul

      It’s a good opinion piece from someone that’s not a member, and their thoughts from the outside.

      • hmmmm….

        Then maybe she should have her own blog and write about it… not come on tmo”NEWS” and rant about how she wishes she had tmobile…

  • MagentaFl

    Hi Anna : It’s been a long 3 and a half years in the making since I, for the first time, got the information that this page existed. I may say I’m new here, basically, and that at the end of the day this page was not only for information purposes or rumos for customers, but also for Employees. It’s 6:13 a.m., Florida time. I wake up every morning and this is my first stop into the nes world regarding my beloved Magenta. I have, I work and Bleed T-Mobile and believe we when I tell you that we understand what David meant to this blog and to us loyal fans of this site. Please don’t missunderstand our feedback, but we honestly are worried about the direction this page might take. I can honestly say I’m willing to give it an opportunity without him, bu let’s face it, this article, sincerely it’s not the type of reading we are used to or the reason why we take from our precious time and come over to read and analize. Yes, this are big shoes to fill. Yes, we know a lot of writters will come through this site up until the site owner finds somebody to write at least half of what David was about. But please, we beg you, before writing something like this sjust to have a new post on the Site, take the time to do your investigations and help the Site evolve, not leave it in darkness, lol Star Wars quote… A lot of us are waiting to see where it leads, we want to see it alive. Please, don’t transform this site in just another VZ, At&t and T-mobile Battle Royal of who is the best and a coulda, shouda kind of fight… We believe in TMonews… We believe in you… Do was right and do your job well, that’s all we could ask for… Well… Time to go and assist my customers, And Thank You For choosing T-Mobile, Where our changes and Values are always to try to fit the needs of our Customers…. Have an awesome day everybody….

  • John Smith

    I’m a retail associate manager in corporate retail and have been with the company for almost 2 year. every month since uncarrier we’ve seen a year over year growth every month of 80%-100% people immediately saw the value in our plans and were excited with the changes its not a matter of people not liking the change its just a matter of spreading the word… lucky for my store we have a high volume AT@T store across the street so our refferals business and family plans porting in are through the roof

    • GinaDee

      The other coin of the equation is the value conscious crowd. I think T-Mobile will be successful attracting those clients from the bigger two much easier and we’re seeing this now.

      AT&T is more expensive for most but they also offer much more coverage nationwide so it’s a tradeoff. Pay more and get more coverage or save $$$ and get a smaller coverage area. Everyone has to decide what’s more important to them.

      What I’m wondering is will T-Mobile only play the low cost maverick until they can get their hands on low band spectrum and offer ubiquitous coverage nationwide to rival the larger carriers?

      • UMA_Fan

        Theres still the countless years people chose Verizon and att for reasons other than coverage… Like phone selection or upgrade availability. Tmobile is competing in a more even playing field than ever before.

  • Paul

    My parents were using unlocked T-Mobile phones on AT&T’s network. After they had enough crap from AT&T they decided to join Magenta again.
    All they had to do was walk in, pick a plan, get a new SIM, and they were out the door! They have been happy with the service so far; the tower near them is wonky and the service techs haven’t actually fixed it.

    I’ve been a customer for a long time and I’m glad I stayed. I jsut paid off my Note 2, sold it on eBay (to a happy buyer), and got the Note 3.
    Easy Squeesy Cheezy.

  • Capt. Red Beard

    Goodbye TmoNews. = (

  • Tmosince2003

    This post is the first of what would likely be a series of disappointments, if I thought I was going to keep reading here.

    To answer the question, I’m still disappointed in the simple choice plans in that it’s a no brainer to stay on my family value 1k. Still nothing better from uncarrier land for families at least in the clear. There’s a controversial forced conversion of legacy plans happening at tmo, anyone at pd feel like covering it?

    My favorite suggestion in this thread was the poster who wrote that phone dog should pay your etf or pay for a second phone so you can sign up with tmo. Or hire a blogger who uses it already. Too obvious?

    So. Good luck and thanks for all the fish.

    Edit, spelling

  • Dakota

    FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN FOLLOWING DAVID, HE IS NOW WRITING FOR 9TO5GOOGLE.COM. So you can believe PhoneDog that he left on his own volition and then was unable to tell his readers where he was going

    • techymexican

      I don’t see why he couldn’t publicly say where he was going on his personal twitter account. Could PhoneDog have forced him to stay quiet?

    • 21stNow

      Thanks. I’m reading and enjoying David’s writing again. Yay!!!

  • http://profiles.google.com/gallimichael Michael G. Galli

    This article was horrible. And your’e an idiot for staying with Sprint.

  • MuthaFuckinStephen

    I knew people are gonna bash this article. Come people. David is gone. Get off his balls. Besides this new guy seems to be less of a douche compare to Dave.

  • Jimmy_Johansen

    I paid Sprint the ETF for 2 lines and switched my wife and I to the Un-Carrier. It has been wonderful and cheaper. CHEAPER even after factoring in the ETF’s. But to trade 2G speeds on Sprint (for 4G prices) with much better service on T-Mobile it would have been worth it if it was more expensive. But I’m still glad it wasn’t. And it’ll be even cheaper when I get the Nexus 5

  • VJ

    This statement sums up our country: “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.”
    Thats why we have idiots who complain about the wealthy and go deeper into credit card debt. Who cares about change, what you have been brought up on, or what you’re used to. Its simple math, spend 10-15 minutes and save hundreds over 2 years. Whenever I make any financial decision, I look at where every single of my dollars are going. I dont just agree to something just because everyone else is doing it.