T-Mobile calls out AT&T’s new mobile share plans as “complicated” and expensive

T-Mobile-to-turn-into-‘the-uncarrier’

AT&T announced some new shared family plans this week. And I’ve been debating on whether or not to call them out on it for the past day or two. It’s hard not to find criticism when looking at the carrier’s efforts at “competing” with T-Mobile. Despite having a larger subscriber base, it clearly feels threatened by Tmo’s moves this year, and – not for the first time – has unveiled new plans aimed at portraying themselves as offering better value plans. And in some cases, they are. In others, they aren’t. Not by a long shot.

Unsurprisingly, the move got some reaction from T-Mobile execs. Andrew Sherrard, magenta’s marketing exec, emailed CNET stated that the “‘me-too’ off-contract rate plan misses the mark.”

The truth is – that for AT&T customers – they are better deals. The smartphone fee is $40 per month for each contract smartphone. For non-contract smartphones, the monthly fee is a flat-rate of $25 per device each month to share the plan. It certainly beats the old sliding scale for AT&T customers. So at least they’re better for “Big Blue” users.

Compared to Tmo, Sherrard is right in that they miss the mark. He even stated:

“After you do the complicated math, in multiple cases, these new plans are actually a price hike for customers”

A family of four – for example – could save $600 in the first year with the T-Mobile Simple Choice plan.  Both Tmo and Sprint still offer better value deals. So exactly what is AT&T trying to do here? Give the illusion of value, while keeping a tight grip on profit margins? Trying to tempt people away from jumping ship to T-Mobile? They certainly won’t tempt T-Mobile’s customers to jump the other way.

With AT&T Next earlier in the year, the company had already shown that it was happy to pretend at copying Tmo with its $0 down EIP strategy. And yet, they were clearly nowhere near as attractive to consumers as T-Mobile’s own plans. Tmo added more subscribers to its ranks than AT&T for the past 2 quarters. So the question is: Is AT&T worried about Tmo’s threat? They say not.

“We see competitors on our left and on our right,” said AT&T representative Mark Siegel. “We’re really focused straight ahead on what our customers are asking for.”

AT&T not focussed on T-Mobile? Hence why it tried to buy the company for just under $40 billion a couple of years ago. I don’t know, to me, AT&T’s plans not only seem more complicated, but a little too much like wolves in sheep’s clothing.

If you want the best response to this, you should almost certainly scroll through John Legere’s Twitter feed. It’s always entertaining. Well played, John.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 16.04.43

Via: CNET

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  • murdoxin

    Hey Cam. You should really follow @evleaks on Twitter. Just sayin’….

    • Cam Bunton

      I do.. but thanks for that. :-D

    • ChristianMcC

      Major screw up on the LG d820/821, calling it something other than the N5, when it was so very clearly the nexus leaked in the Google KitKat video. Otherwise, he’s good.

  • britney_jean

    yes att plans may suck be complicated and expensive,but i rather pay more and have the 3 gigs data it offers and better coverage outside the city and better signal in buildings ,something tmobile dont offer i guess u want better u gotta pay more ,pay a lil bit on tmobile u stuck with crappy service but have unlimited data.

    • S. Ali

      I’d rather save my money, have unlimited data, no contract, buy phones whenever I want and take 3 steps outside if I need a stronger signal. But that’s just me.

      • Guest

        “take 3 steps outside if I need a stronger signal”
        Seriously??? Yup, it’s just you.

      • archerian

        “take 3 steps outside” – so what happens when you have to get a call? your voicemail must be overflowing.

    • fsured

      And you are on a T-Mobile fan site because…? T-Mobile is doing something right if AT&T customers, or employee’s under fake names, are coming here to defend the company.

      • galaxymaniac

        fansite? this is fast becoming a joint where no one can offer constructive criticism without being called a troll … like any carrier T-mobile has strengths and weaknesses, its always great to tout the strengths, but it does no good to not acknowledge the weaknesses.

        • fsured

          We fully accept criticism and we full well acknowledge that T-Mobile is the weaker network when it comes to coverage. The issue is when people who favor the other networks come here and post about the greatness of another network and why it is worth spending more money on it. There is a difference between criticism when done right and someone just ranting.

    • youngmantiburon

      I luv my wifi calling with T-mobile, tell me how att wifi calling is doing.

      • galaxymaniac

        ATT customers don’t need Wifi calling as they get all the coverage they need from their own cell towers. They don’t need anyone to mooch off their home internet to give them cell service on certain phones. If you have been a user of UMA for more than 5 years, you will know T-mobile started Wi-Fi calling to handle the spotty coverage they had. In fact, if you call and say you have coverage issues in a location where the T-mobile coverage map offers coverage, they ask if you can use Wi-Fi calling.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          I’ve been in situations where AT&T customers couldn’t call out because penetration was a problem. As for me i could because i had wifi calling. All they could do is face time on they i-sheeps.

        • galaxymaniac

          yes, these are “situations”, I assume they happen rarely… not in general areas like your common office building or room…

        • KingCobra

          AT&T definitely does not have great coverage everywhere, if they did then they wouldn’t offer signal boosters to handle areas where the coverage is poor. Plus there are some buildings where cell signals just simply have a hard job penetrating from all 4 carriers. Only on Tmonews will people try and spin Free Wi-Fi Calling as a negative thing.

          I was on Verizon and had poor service in my apartment, I called and asked what they could do and they said I could BUY a signal booster for $100. I’d rather have free Wi-Fi calling over buying a signal booster.

      • britney_jean

        well i have tmobile to make it clear most buildings in los angeles in dwtwn have wifi but its locked so im screwed it just sucks my coworkers are able to talk text and use data on there att iphones sme with verizon people i didnt mention sprint because the only few people i know have sprint have same problem as me on tmobile no service.

        • bisayan

          Are you sure u have tmobile? Coz I live in downtown L.a. as well and 90℅ at a time a have hspa +/lte..So idk whats your point here Britney?

        • galaxymaniac

          oh yeah, she’s not holding it right.. blame the user for coverage issues… you can say its cheaper, faster, UL data etc. etc. but the fact remains that T-mobile has more coverage issues than ATT or VzW. This is a known issue and everything else is there to work around it.

        • britney_jean

          i guess i should of been more clear tmobile outside works great just as great as verizon or att mt only beef is inside buildings att n verizon work tmobile doesnt i was in macys the other day i couldnt check out the specials my phone had 1 bar edge worked to call fine but no data my mans att iphone 5 had 2 bars lte i had to borrow his phone which data worked to look at the specials. And yes i luve in LA east la 323 gurl here.

        • bisayan

          And by the way I am a ex-att customer for years and I dumped them lazt year and never looked back..They can take a ll the good coverage and stuff but Im happy with tmobile regardless. Just my thought…

      • rod

        AT&T version of wifi calling is a semi-portable microcell that charges you to use your own internet connection to call/text/browse the web. All usage through the ATT microcell is billed as if your were connected natively to thier cell towers

    • gentleman559

      Thats wonderful Britney. I have one question for you then, why are you trolling the T-mobile forums if you’re so happy with AT&T?

      • galaxymaniac

        stating something that doesn’t make you happy isn’t trolling. For all you know, britney might have both ATT and T-mobile service.

    • Jay J. Blanco

      btw I’m using a AT&T Galaxy Note 1 on T-Mobile and loving it. I’ve used 7.9 GB this month. I can use your little 3GB in a hour by downloading a movie. I’m ok with my crappy coverage in cow fields and woods. At least T-Mobile isnt milking every dime out my pocket, and then charging more for more data once i go over. T-Mobile wouldn’t have 44 Mill customers if they had a mindset like you. lol so enjoy your day !

      • Guest

        I’d love to use 7.9 GB of data. However, at the speeds T-Mobile provides in my neighborhood in a major city, that’d take several lifetimes.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          thats what wifi and 3G mircocells are for call tmobile and ask about them. You have to live in a house not a apartment or condo.

        • britney_jean

          well i guess im screwed my loft in dwtwn la probably wont qualify signal goes from 2g edge to hspa to lte but mostly im stuck with1 bar edge making data unusable..

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Here’s a tip but this will kill your battery faster
          Go into mobile network settings and change your phone to WCDMA/LTE Mode only that’ll keep a good 3G connection at the cost of battery life though

        • britney_jean

          i get zero bars on that cant even call lol ,on gsm only i get 1 bar edge works to call but no data sukz cuz i got no wifi at home i guess att it is for me .

        • galaxymaniac

          oh, so no 3G microcells for people in apartments or condos. So move to a home and buy a microcell (T-mobile doesn’t give them out for free anymore), or get a phone with T-mobile bloatware and branding for WiFi calling. The two “solutions” for poor coverage issues. Most people might be better off paying the extra $15

        • dj nel

          U can still signal boosters in apts

        • MANNY

          T-Mobile Signal Booster, Cel-Fi RS2 , got mine last week, only pay Shipping $7.99 is free, just call technical support…

        • fsured

          They do pad then out for free and to people in apartments. My mother is moving to a location that T-Mobile confirms its nit reliable coverage and offered to send her a unit for free. Because she is on my plan and where I live there is coverage they would not let me cancel the remaining portion of the contact for her line without paying fees.

      • bisayan

        umm correction..I beilieve its 46 mil. subscriber..or 45 mil. :)) .

      • archerian

        to be fair, britney_jean has a valid point – indoor coverage is rather poor in several areas where outdoor coverage is excellent.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          That’s what a 3G mircocell and wifi is for. @archerian and whats the point of having a reliable network when you cant fully utilize it without paying a pretty penny.

        • archerian

          Those signal booster boxes are pretty expensive, and Wifi calling really restricts the devices I can choose. Celfi or Wifi calling are just measures to handle coverage issues, which do exist. The point of having a RELIABLE network is not to fully utilize it, but to be assured its available when and where you need it. The vast majority of data users use less than 2GB a month, and for them, having a more reliable network is worth paying $15 more a month.

        • NaveNoslo

          eh, double check your numbers, that >2GB data was used 3 years ago… are we still using this data?

        • archerian

          not quite, it was more like 3 months ago, a fiercewireless study.. this is MOBILE network data, not data used by mobile users when on Wi-Fi. For example, Verizon has than 90% of its smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data, this was in August 2013.

        • Deez Nutz

          I used less than 2gb b/c my Verizon Galaxy Nexus couldn’t get any data inside. Sold my unlimited plan, went to T-Mobile and I get LTE no problem inside now with my LG G2. My friend has a Verizon S4 Mini and my phone on HSPA+ is faster than hers on LTE inside. Don’t know how good T-Mobile will be in fringe areas around LA, but I work from home and switching to T-Mobile was the best thing.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          you can easily get one for less then $150

      • britney_jean

        good for u but i DO NOT GO TO COWFIELDS AND WOODS, i live in los angeles and if i go up to victoville or dwn to san ysidro which u wont find cowfields or woods tmobile is gsm /gprs at best 2g edge which makes that unlimited data plan worthless and yes i know because i have tmobile and lg g2 and iphone 5s, my man on att has lte in those places and MANY more places Outside LA that are not cowfields and woods while i have edge.

        • pips78

          Why are you even with T-mobile if it’s so awful for you? On top of that you have two NEW phones? Why do you keep buying phones to use on a network with such “crappy service”? Did you think they were magical phones? I left AT&T because i had poor service where I lived and T-mobile was the better option. I didn’t stick around with a service that didn’t work for me and continually purchase new devices and then complain about it. I suspect you are just on here trolling about otherwise you’d be on “your man’s” AT&T account. If i’m wrong, forgive me for saying so, but you are just dumb and you need to stop being DUMB and switch providers. You are making poor decisions and blaming T-mo because you are unhappy with those poor decisions. Do you purchase the music of a band you hate and force yourself to listen to it? Do you watch shows on TV that you can’t stand? If you were laying face down in a puddle would you have the sense to turn your head to breath? Answer those questions in order please!

        • Nick

          lol you just made my day

        • Guest

          Happy to oblige! How bout that local sports team?/?

        • britney_jean

          first of all im not gonna get mad at u for calling me dumb even tho i should since i dont know u and i should for u calling me dumb …. but i ADMIT its my fkin fault because i believed the guy at the tmobile store when he told me i should get new phones and renew my contract he said that by getting new phones i would see better signal etc i was fkin stupid because i believed him when he told me to get lte phones since i dnt know alot about phones he renwed my contract got new lte phones same bullshyt same crappy service i had on my lg l9 which was not lte capable so now im stuck with new lte phones and crappy service im just gonna save up to pay to pay cancelation fee n move on to att .

        • pips78

          So you somehow managed to get locked into NEW contracts months after Tmo stopped renewing them?

        • S. Ali

          So switch, you aren’t under contract.

        • kalel33

          How do you know they aren’t in a contract?

        • britney_jean

          hmm yes im on contract so dnt assume something u dont know since im still on contract with lamemobile thts why i havent switched to att.

        • S. Ali

          Ok, no one is stopping you from paying your ETF. What’s your point? If you don’t like “lamemobile” leave. I’m enjoying unlimited data and awesome phones. AT&T is looking forward to sending your personal information to the NSA. Troll harder.

        • GinaDee

          Sorry AT&T does not have LTE in Victorville or anywhere up in the High Desert. Guess what? T-Mobile is adding LTE panels all over the High Desert and the 15 FWY? Where is AT&T?

          T-Mobile has been putting up LTE all over the low desert too including Palm Springs? Where is AT&T? No LTE there either.

          AT&T does have more LTE nationwide but in Southern California both T-Mobile and Sprint have AT&T beat in terms of LTE deployment.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          In reality all of the carriers have coverage issues. AT&T & Verizon has bandwidth/congestion issues in major cities and Sprint has horrible 3G speeds especially in populated areas. T-Mobile has problems with rural coverage. So you’re gonna complain anyways. What i can say is t-mobile is working damn hard to satisfy its customers unlike AT&T & Verizon

    • mingkee

      You should go to VZW instead for 100% statewide LTE coverage.

    • krym73

      You must of never had Sprint if you think T mobile has crappy coverage, And anything without unlimited data is inconsiderate.

  • Alex Zapata

    I’m sure T-Mobile is feeling flattered.

  • Irfan

    one thing is pretty clear no carrier have guts to offer like tmobile is offering , hanky-panky does not work …

    • archerian

      its not about guts and glory … they are all in to make money. If ATT can charge what they charge and have a huge customer base, they will continue to do so. For whatever reasons, T-mobile cannot charge the same and expect customers to join, hence pricing is one of their strong suits. If T-mobile could charge ATT prices and maintain a subscriber base growth, do you think their management/board/shareholders would show off their “bravery” and offer cost innovative plans?

  • Jay J. Blanco

    AT&T is scared of T-Mobile ! point blank and period…

    • ChristianMcC

      Who isn’t, since Tmo beat all of the carriers combined for net subscriber additions in quarter 2. Things are only looking up from here, for T-Mobile(I don’t see republic wireless making any dent in Tmo, since they run on Sprint’s network).

      Edit: read follow up after kalel’s response.

      • archerian

        this is just a ploy to get some traction from the ATT deserters. Their core base is oblivious and most probably wont notice the difference in the bill.

      • kalel33

        Verizon added more total customers and post paid customers than T-mobile did in the last quarter……just saying.

        • ChristianMcC

          No problem, thanks for the correction. I see now the statement that I read was taking into account the huge loss of Sprint subscribers(about 1.8 million) in quarter 2 and not just going off the ones in the positive.

        • UMA_Fan

          However the majority of at&t’s new lines added were tablet lines. Just talking cell phone customer alone: At&t lost. T-Mobile gained. I never thought we would see THAT kind of turn around this quickly let alone this year.

        • ChristianMcC

          I did not know that: thank you for the insight!

    • kalel33

      They aren’t copying T-mobile, they’re copying Verizon’s Share Everything plan, which have been around a very long time.

    • kev

      AT&T- 109 million subscribers.

      T-Mobile- 44 million

      Don’t make me laugh.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        How many customers did att add this year….. I rest my case

      • KingCobra

        Yep. 109 million and shrinking. Trust me these plans are a reaction to T-Mobile’s recent success.

  • Angry

    I’m not jumping ship, but I definitely see some value in having google maps work more than 50 yards off the highway.

    • philyew

      Use their offline maps function and you don’t need a signal.

      • archerian

        again, a workaround for coverage issues .. offline maps can be tricky – if an image tile is not cached, its useless..

        • philyew

          Yes, it is a workaround, as is using an offline navigation tool like Navigator where caching isn’t an issue.

          The guy isn’t planning on going anywhere to get better coverage, so rather than painfully waiting an indeterminate time for TM to solve the issue, I suggested something that might help with his problem in the short term.

          We know that TM are lining up $4 billion to spend on new spectrum next quarter, so it’s not like they are ignoring the need for improvement. The only way that TM conceivably would change the priority on that spending would be if significant numbers of customers in high volume MSAs were suddenly and explicitly to leave because of poor suburban and rural coverage in areas that they weren’t planning on improving.

          Really, talking about it every day, but still staying a customer isn’t going to do anything to change what is already planned.

      • marel

        How do you use there offline function

        • philyew

          To access a map offline, move the map to your desired location. If you’re on Android, tap the search box and scroll down past the search suggestions. Select Make this map area available offline.

  • Danny Lewis

    I’ll admit, I looked at their joke of an offering, but i’ll be paying at least $50 more for a 4GB bucket to share between me and my wife, but having a network that would work along highways would be a major plus. I hope T-Mo can finish upgrading all their 3G spots to LTE and then start expanding along interstate/major highway corridors.

  • youngmantiburon

    All this talk comes down to one thing, Saving people money. I know T-mobile doesnt have the best of service, but Att,Verizon, Sprint only looks out for themselves not the people. I know T-Mobile is not an American based company unlike the big 3, but how many of us use American made phones And Iphone is not American made only Motorola is. So those that despise T-Mobile for there Lack of service, just let them Do what they do best and Help the people that cant afford highend service cause not everyone leaves their state or town all the time.

    • archerian

      “Motorola” is not made in America… no phone can be completely made in the USA, is can be assembled, but several components are sourced from abroad. Additionally, the patents and other IP are owned by several multinational companies.

  • Turb0wned

    Yes people could save a ton of money on T-Mobile but many won’t switch because of the terrible service outside of big cities.

  • kalel33

    Cam, this was not AT&T copying T-mobile. They are copying Verizon’s Share Everything plans, which came out long before T-mobile’s current plans.

    • 21stNow

      The Value part of this is what is copying T-Mobile. The original Mobile Share plans are similar to Verizon Wireless’ Share Everything plans. AT&T talked about having shared plans long before Mobile Share and Share Everything came out, so I wouldn’t call this a copy.

      • Dakota

        It’s a way for people who buy their own phones like the Nexus 5 or have finished their contracts to pay a little less per month. VBasically not paying higher rate to subsidize a phone

  • UMA_Fan

    The big thing here T-Mobile needs to compete with is installment plans broken over 26 months versus 24. Even though T-Mobile is still the better deal, since a 26 month installment plan on At&t only allows you to upgrade once in an 18 month period, breaking phones up over 26 months and the lower per month cost would be attractive to a lot of people.

  • FabFive

    AT&T is not even close in price to T-Mobile for a family of five smartphones (all paid off) that is happy with 500MB of fast data per phone. Also, never having overage charges is great for kids.

  • SunnyThe SailorMan

    t-mobile bad bad move…getting people out of contract and upsetting them over unlimited hotspot

    customers will drop you like a bad habbit :P

    i notice t-mobile be real slick telling customers they got unlimited data on phone but not tethering .

    • fsured

      I’ve never seen them advertise unlimited hotspot. I’ve seen it as 500mb included. Perhaps you are the one in the wrong for misinterpreting?

    • pips78

      “i notice t-mobile be real slick telling customers they got unlimited data on phone but not tethering”

      Sorry and no offense but your English is so poor I’m not sure if I’m interpreting your “point” correctly. I’m hoping it’s your second language.

      T-mobile’s Unlimited Data comes with 2.5GB of 4G tethering included. That’s a huge selling point for the Unlimited Data Plan. How are they being slick? And where do you “notice” this? Are you just wasting away your life, loitering at T-mobiles and listening to sales pitches?

      Also, people LOVE non contracted plans and I’m not sure what you think is upsetting people about unlimited hotspot. The fact that it doesn’t exist, maybe?

      I hate to sound like the thread police, but if you are going to say something you should at least try being coherent.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    and also it explain why AT&T has changed so many plans. Added new prepaid plans. AT&T Next. Purchase of Alltel & Cricket. and now the Verizon Spectrum. AT&T stifles competition but T-Mobile fights back

  • Spanky

    Can I have some of whatever you’re on? :)