Uncarrier 5 should be unlocked phones free of carrier bloatware [opinion]

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Ever since the Uncarrier movement, the company’s made it clear that it’s trying to get rid of customer “pain points”. In other words, areas of the U.S. smartphone market that are restrictive and end up creating a poor customer experience, or frustrating people. For CEO, Legere, it’s always been about changing a broken industry. The old model of subsidizing smartphone cost is dying off, and customers can upgrade whenever they like. On T-Mobile, there are plenty of handsets available without paying anything up front on EIP, and you can use your allowance of minutes, texts and data in 100 countries worldwide.

It’s a great start, but I don’t think it should end there.

If T-Mobile really is about changing the industry for the better and being all about the consumer as it professes to be, its next phase in the Uncarrier movement should be to announce that all phones from that point on will be carrier unlocked, unbranded and free of carrier bloatware. Those are the last traits left of the days where the carrier is in charge.

Unlocked Phones = Freedom

Before Uncarrier existed, and T-Mobile had separated the cost of the phone from the cost of the airtime plan, there was a risk to selling unlocked phones. It’s why no carriers did it. With each smartphone costing between $400-$700 to the carrier, and only charging $200 up front, if a customer decided not to pay their bill, the carrier stands to lose a lot of money, and the customer could stick any SIM card he/or she liked in to the phone.

Granted, it’s not a huge risk but it is one, nonetheless. And the idea of a customer not using its service is a killer, since that’s the one thing it’s really offering. You can get phones on any carrier, so the only differentiating factor is the carrier’s service.

But there’s an advantage to having unlocked phones, and it’s not just about having the freedom to travel and swap SIM cards. After all, unless you absolutely must have 3G/4G speeds when you’re abroad, the ability to use your Simple Choice allowance internationally is great. It’s about more than that.

Although most customers might not care if the phone’s unlocked, it’s about the message it gives. It says to the subscriber that they’re free to use the device how they want. If they want to switch in a different carrier’s SIM card when they’re abroad, or in an area of poor T-Mobile signal, fine, let them do it. At the end of it all, they’re still signed up to a plan and they’ll keep paying what they said they would. They’re still a T-Mobile customer.

No Bloatware = Convenience

For the most part, carrier bloatware is there for a reason. A lot of the time it’s just a collection of apps that help customers make the most of its services. Apps to help you monitor your usage, or Wi-Fi calling as an example. But, there’s nothing to stop carriers from just having them as native apps, installable from Google Play Store.

When Apple launched the iPhone, it changed something. In any negotiations, it refused to give any control of what software was on the device to any carrier. That’s still the case now, and we’re all better off for it. We get software updates as soon as they’re available, and – apart from default apps – we can install and delete any apps we like. What’s more, there’s no carrier logo anywhere to be seen.

It should be this way with any device. When it comes to major software updates, it shouldn’t be the case that phones are hindered from getting them because the carrier hasn’t “tested” it yet. In fact, T-Mobile phones seem relatively slow at getting Android updates, and that’s something I know irritates a lot of you who read this blog.

Now, there are obstacles here, particularly in the US market. For years, hardware makers had to create different versions of handsets to suit each network. This was down to the fact that each carrier uses a different network technology and/or bandwidth. They didn’t have the technology back then to have one device compatible with everything. Now – for the most part – they do.

But it’s not just software updates that arrive faster. Because unlocked and un-bloated phones are ready straight out of the factory, T-Mobile could – potentially – get phones ready to ship before the other carriers, since there’s less “testing” to do before launch. All T-Mobile would have to do is test the phones run correctly on its networks, and get them off to stores. It would cut out time, and an awful lot of work.

What do you guys think? Do you want to see phones come unlocked and bloatware free in the future? Or is this one step too far for the “Uncarrier”?

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  • LoyalCustomer

    AMEN!

  • UMA_Fan

    I can see them maybe doing the unlocking part of it.

    I’m OK with the bloatware since some things are essential like Tmobile ‘s WiFi calling

    • James

      The article specifically mentions how it is completely possible to have feature apps be downloaded through the app store.

      There’s no reason for every tmobile customer to be forced into having random apps that are unremovable and take up phone resources. The people that do want such things will still be able to install and use the functions/features through the app store. TMobile is even able to make those apps only be compatible with phones they choose to keep such features off of competitor’s networks.

      • UMA_Fan

        WiFi calling would need to access parts of the OS that apps are not allowed to access. Its not as simple as using a third party app. The point of wifi calling is that your dialer and texting work seamlessly.

        • James

          *Through a carrier locked smart phone. If the carriers were to unlock them, this wouldn’t be an issue, as root access for an app wouldn’t be as taboo for the carrier in this instance.

        • Marcelo_L

          Dude, you’re missing the point.

        • James

          Then what’s the point?

          I believe in choice, and while I would stick with their service over att or verizon either way, my personal opinion is that a company shouldn’t force an entire customer base into having extras on their phone that are unremovable if the customers who want them are the minority. Of course this works vice versa as well.

          This is a completely theoretical situation that tmobile hasn’t even stated as an idea… how is there even a “point” besides discussing what if scenarios… maybe you missed this illusive point?

        • UMA_Fan

          The problem is the carrier takes a certain amount of security responsibility for devices sold. As people rely on smart phone more and more for ALL their computing tasks a rooted device or a device too easily rootable opens up a whole lot of liability to the operator that sold you the phone when mainstream consumers personal information is compromised from malware… Which is really easy to obtain on an android phone. Just imagine all the havoc it could cause if the app could easily root your phone and then access all your secure bank passwords, social networking etc.

        • James

          Then who do we hold responsible when malware winds up on someone’s PC and does the same thing?

          I’m not trying to say I’ve read all the documentation and legal stuff when purchasing my phone and service. Though I do find it completely baffling how it is the carrier’s responsibility for someone’s use or misuse of their phone. Carriers should provide data and voice service for cell phones.

          I do realize that the industry has become very convoluted due to huge deals and partnerships between carriers and cell phone makers, but service is a carrier’s actual business. I believe a carrier would have as much legal responsibility of malware and trojans affecting phones as much as ISPs are responsible for malware and trojans on PCs.

        • UMA_Fan

          I’m not saying it makes sense for mainstream customers to think that way but if you observe carefully the majority of people will blame their operator first for device related problems especially when their purchase experience of the device was done at the carrier store. Im sure if cable companies started selling TVs you would see the same phenomenon. When people need trouble shooting done on their galaxy s 4’s they don’t call Samsung they call their operators tech support. Its a chicken and the egg situation. If customers didn’t rely on the operator the operator wouldn’t take measures to protect itself from liability

  • KingofPing

    Unfortunately for us, no-one cares about this kind of thing…but us.

    I suppose if they tried really hard to make a big deal about it and *make* people care it might have a chance, but it doesn’t sound like something they’d risk doing for such little potential return.

    I’d much rather see them maybe create an unlimited category for Tablets and possibly make them eligible for the JUMP! plans.

    Obviously, we’d all like to see them stomp out this “coverage” thing…

  • Omarc Boyer

    Agree 100% on this! Has anyone been to Mexico? Over there TELCEL, MOVISTAR there phones have no carrier bloatware and no carrier branding. Dont know about there older phones but there newer phones galaxy s4, Sony phones and htc phones have no telcel or movistar branding anywhere on the phone and no carrier bloat ware like tmobile tv i seen at&t phones have att navigator att tv etc..Over there theres no such thingt telcel navigator, telcel tv etc.. I know because i went to Mexico city last month and a few family members had those phones. I WISH Companies here in the US did that.

    • Zacamandapio

      I’ve been to Mexico as well. And their phones “do” come with bloatware.
      Plus their pricing is outrageous.
      But I agree. I don’t like my phones with all that bloatware and restrictions. I personally think that if they came unlocked or unlock them for free once paid off then it should be fun.

  • Honestly, T-Mobile should just petition that phones meant for the European market include band 4 and 12 and sell those devices over here. Far less complex plus LTe compatibility abroad. A win-win everywhere.

  • S. Ali

    I’ve been tweeting this to Legere for a while. No response yet

  • Sims Koger

    Yes! Please love my wifi calling but if just in the play store I don’t see why it’s an issue we will get what we want anyway!

    • LC

      Wifi calling is no longer an app, it’s built into the software and technically hardware of the phone. So they would have to change that again in order for something like this to work. It’s an interesting thought though.

  • karen gambon

    I would love this! I think more people do want it they just aren’t sure what it it truely means. It wouldn’t take long for them to figure out that they could get their updates quicker than what seems to be an eternity.

  • krym73

    So more ppl can go to a t mobile store thinking they can finance a phone, without a rate plan and keep their prepaid carrier.no thanks
    If ppl were smarter about this type of stuff, then yes…but no.

  • Spanky

    I would even settle for bloatware that can be easiy uninstalled.

  • Chris Stubbs

    Here here! Even though stock Sony is a drop in the bucket compared to Samsung, I still don’t enjoy locked bootloaders. T-Mobile could easily be the play edition retail store.

    • philyew

      Locking networks and locking bootloaders are different things.

  • kev2684

    now THAT is what everyone will benefit from. hopefully no carrier bloat also means Google wallet to their entire android line-up. pretty please tmo

  • Darkbotic

    Hope Legere is reading this…

    • Sent him an e-mail linking to this post but I suspect he’s already seen this.

      • Hudi G.

        He reads tmonews, hes hinted so before

  • fsured

    I agree and have stated it before the last uncarrier announcement. Sell the phones that are international versions as long as the hardware works here and updates when made available are pushed to the phone owners by the manufacture.

  • Scott

    I would rather have them drop all the domestic data roaming restrictions. I think that is more of a pain point.

  • Nice

    I agree. Quicker updates and less useless clutter.

  • archerian

    I would love to see expansion of International Talk and Text into a Family feature, and expanding it to include locations where cellphones rates are same as landlines. This would get a lot of international callers using Vonage and calling cards to switch – each Vonage line is $32 after taxes, this would be a killer feature as a $20 addon for Family Plans. If International calling is not a big revenue stream like International Roaming for T-mobile, I don’t see why this cannot be offered if there is not much revenue to lose in the first place.

  • Bob Archer

    My understanding is that T-Mo will unlock a phone once it is paid for in full. So, that’s not something need.

    As far as no bloatware… well, I agree with that. Is it the carries that add that stuff, or is in the manufacturers? HTC One’s Blickfeed, is HTC not T-Mo. Samsungs TouchWiz is Samsung not T-Mo.

    Also, you can buy Goolge Play editions of these top tier phones. Also, the iPhone can be purchased unlocked from Apple for the same price that T-Mo sells it locked.

    Personally, I would rather see a shared data plan… or a rate structure more like Ting has where your rates are adjusted to the best plan based on your usage. So, the more you use the cheaper for MB is cost.

    • 21stNow

      When people refer to bloatware, they usually mean the carrier apps that are pre-installed and can’t be removed from the phone, such as T-Mobile TV, My Account, etc. Blinkfeed is part of the Sense skin and Touchwiz is a skin. Some people refer to skins as bloatware, but most people refer to skins as just skins.

      And, I don’t share your desire for shared data plans of T-Mobile.

  • Akulamenuri

    Most people don’t care about the preloaded bloatware as long as they can:

    1. Still install the apps they want to because the device has enough storage space
    2. Hide it and/or disable any notifications it gives
    3. Uninstall it

  • Kevin

    Yes! This needs to happen! There’s no reason in 2014 that phones still need to be SIM locked. Even if one decides to leave T-Mobile in the middle of a device payment plan, they’ll still be on the hook for paying of the rest of the cost. It’s even more frustrating that if a device is brought in full, you have to wait 40 until it can be SIM unlock per T-Mobile’s current policy.

    That goes double for bloatware and slow/lack of updates. One of the reason I got an iPhone was because it had no carrier bloatware and all updates came direct from Apple even to older devices. Yes, there’s the Nexus 5 which has the stock Android and updates direct from Google, but there’s no reason other Android devices have to get thrown under the bus.

    • Rdaex

      Do you think that those people who want to scam the company actually DO pay off their devices.
      The point of the lock is so they cant sell them overseas and make money off of them.

  • BigMixxx

    But bloat removal does NOT spur the customer. Some people may like the bloat.
    But T mobile already has:”
    Already, any phone — any device
    Already best plans in the business

    The engine is running. The next thing is improving that signal. If t mobile comes to the table and says:

    Uncarrier 5 should be an exclusive with . Sign a long term agreement with device manufacturers to give you exclusivity to devices for 6+ months. Invest in the partnership yearly. It will cost you immensely, but you would be able to retain customers. Get a 90+ day head start on products from apple. 6 months for products from Samsung. Since those products sell themselves and has a significant following, choke hold the industry like at&t did.

    Uncarrier 5 = First Swipe.

    then buy my hashtag….

    • bob90210

      T-Mobile can’t beat Verizon and AT&T with device exclusivity. The two companies have much more money and subscribers so they will have the better deals and phones. And outside of iPhone, people really do not switch carriers to get a phone.

      I would argue that T-Mobile should do the opposite. T-Mobile should sell cell service not phones; let the phone manufacturers sell the phones.

    • bkin94

      Yeah… no, Legere specifically said at CES that device exclusivity doesn’t work with their uncannier. that said, they do have exclusivity on that waterproof xperia phone. I don’t see it being a major thing though

  • Iprobablyworkforthecompany

    Both of these points are irrelevant. T-Mobile already accommodates these concerns.

    A. Don’t want bloatware? Buy an iPhone, Nexus 5, Play Store Edition Phone, or Root your device

    B. Want an unlocked phone? Pay for it in full, or wait until you pay it off. You don’t get the title to your car until you pay the bank whats owed on it.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing more bloatware free phones, but T-Mobile is not going to carry the overhead of having two devices, one with bloat ware or one without. And T-Mobile TV, Caller tunes, Ect… is another source of revenue for the company. Going back to cars, think XM, If you don’t want to use don’t. (there is a hide button on your app list for a reason)

    • Spanky

      The hide button is all fine and dandy, but if a customer doesn’t want a specific app, he/she should be able to uninstall it and reclaim the storage space. I can’t believe people still think that permanent bloatware is OK.

      • AK

        Not only storage space but bloatware also runs in the background whether you use them or not. Maybe this is a Google issue. G can put a stop to this with future Android releases. As others have stated, this is not an issue with Windows Phone (no need to root, any bloat app can be uninstalled).

    • WP8 guest

      But what about the frequencies that are different on T-Mobile than the standard GSM frequencies? Will these other phones still get T-Mo LTE and HDSPA+? I think the author is on to something here with this article–at least on the absurd time it takes to get pushed software updates. But it’s not just Android. T-Mo is taking FOREVER to approve the newest Windows Phone 8 updates for their phones. If they would lose too much money on people refusing to fully pay off unlocked devices, then at least have a policy in place that all software updates will be tested and approved within one week of being released by manufacturer. My Lumia 925 hasn’t recevied Update 3 yet released last OCTOBER, nor the Nokia Black software released at the beginning of January. AT&T’s Lumia 925 has BOTH updates already released (as well as almost all AT&T Windows Phones have now been approved to get the update, not a single T-Mobile Windows Phone has–in fact they’ve decided NEVER to release it for the Lumia 810). There is NO excuse for T-Mobile lagging behind AT&T on updates!

    • Stone Cold

      I don’t want a play edition anything , IPhone or Nexus anything either or having to root just to get rid of bloatware.

      • Dakota

        I hate when the suggestion to every issue is root your phone. You shouldn’t have to do that and the average consumer has no idea what that even means, how to do it, and doesnt want to invalidate their warranty

  • Cellphone Chris

    If devices were unbranded and unlocked, I could see T-Mobile losing immensely on EIP customers that default on their monthly payments.

    I’m also sure there are motivational factors (read: revenue) associated with bloatware. I would assume companies like Netflix offer some sort of compensation for having their apps pre-loaded on carrier devices.

    For those of us smart enough to care about sim locks and bloat, we’re also smart enough to root, install roms, and unlock our devices. To the average consumer this doesn’t mean much.

    IMO, Uncarrier 5.0 should be all about coverage, period. I think rapid expansion of the network would address the elephant in the room and resolve T-Mobile’s biggest pain point.

  • Marcelo_L

    Coverage, coverage, coverage. Oh, and by the way, did I mention COVERAGE? That should be the goal of Uncarrier 5.0. PERIOD.

    Coverage where I need it. Coverage when I need it. Coverage how I need it.

    So what about our needs. Uncarrier 5.0 is all about the customer’s needs. The kind of trash talk John was bringing during the SuperBowl was fun, but you know what, it’s time to really put it to the other carriers.

    Time to paint the country Magenta, Magenta.

    • bkin94

      “all the disruption in the world doesn’t mean S%@ without a network to back it up” -John Legere. I’m so glad he made it clear that they are aware of this and working on it. unfortunately, it seems like it just isn’t worthwhile to go for coverage in unpopulated areas. It would be thousands of dollars to coverage a very small amount of customers.That said. I agree wholeheartedly!

      uncarrier 5, 6, 7, and 8:
      improve the coverage, then make it better, then enhance it, then expand it!

    • Cam Bunton

      I agree, coverage needs to be a big focus. And, from recent events and comments, it would seem that it is. It almost goes without saying (although I have written a piece on it already).

      When thinking specifically of “uncarrier” phases, I’m thinking along the lines of what T-Mobile needs to do to continue disrupting the market. Everyone adds more coverage, all the time. So that wouldn’t really set it apart. What other carriers won’t have the guts to do is let go of their control of devices by selling them unlocked and bloatware free.

      • Dakota

        While it seems LEgere is getting high marks and gaining customers and for once, starting to change Tmobiles image with much better ad campaigns, I sell wonder about the whole disrupt the industry. Not a single thing Tmobile has done is something that cannot be copied. THe carriers already want to get away with subsidies an we already see ATT starting. VZ said at the time they would see how Tmo does. They all introduced versions of the Jump program. So when they decide to implement all the same things, and subsidies are gone for everyone, TMobile is going to need a competitive network and good coverage to stay competitive. Otherwise, it will stay with the ‘you get what you pay for’ image of “Id love to save some money but…” Verizon, with all its super high rates, still gained customers this last quarter

  • weiseguy

    Once the phone is paid off, you can have it unlocked for free. Nothing wrong with that. It’s the repo policy.

    • moss

      You don’t have to pay off the phone to get it unlocked from T-Mobile.

  • Stone Cold

    The bloatware needs to go if you want that app put it in the play store let the consumer decide what they want on the device.. I don’t use most of the apps the carrier branded apps such as TV, Callertunes, etc. The only app they have that is any use to me is the my account app

  • GeneralThade

    Only nerds who read (and write) cellphone blogs care about this things like bloatware. Additionally, only frequent international travelers and said nerds care about unlocked phones. Both together are only a teeny tiny percent of T-Mobile’s existing and potential customer base. Dumb suggestion.

    • cjsmile

      This is a very narrow-minded view. My (very not technology-suave) mother has an Optimus L9. A fine phone for its price but it comes with so much bloatware she can only install ~10 apps before her storage is wasted. I rooted and uninstalled every piece of Bloatware and now it’s a great phone for all her needs. If I hadn’t done that, we would have tossed it.

      • tmo_rep

        I just went through my LG G2 and totaled the amount of extra space the bloatware is taking up, and if you have the G2 you know it’s heavily loaded with extra apps. All of the non google apps totaled 139mb. That’s a small fraction of the available space. I know the L9 doesn’t have as much storage space to begin with but it also doesn’t have as much bloatware as the G2…

    • Jason Crumbley

      This is 100% not true. I work with a lady that doesn’t know her butt from a hole in the ground when it comes to phones. She bugged the crap out of me asking how to get rid of all the bloatware because she never used it.

    • Jason

      This is pretty accurate actually

    • tmo_rep

      I agree 100% about the bloatware! I’ve been taking customer service calls for tmobile ever since the G1 came out, and i normally take 70-80 calls a day. Not once have I heard a customer complain about the bloatware. The only ppl I see complaining are people on this site and other cellphone forums. Then again the ppl who visit this site all they seem to do is complain about something, it’s sad really. Seriously, the added apps take up so little space it’s just silly how ppl whine about it.

      However the unlock code matter that’s a different subject. I usually get 1-3 calls a day from ppl looking to unlock their phones

      • qpinto

        most of it can be disabled with android 4.0 jelly bean and above. the only thing i cannot disable on tmobile i tmobile my account. however it would make me feel better if i could uninstall them at will. i have no need for those apps and they come back once you hit factory reset on the device in the menus.

        wifi calling as an app would be amazing as well as the option to use google wallet instead of isis.

  • john

    How about getting those tablets updated the ones they sold a year ago. Samung say’s it is tmobile???? The tablets can handle the updates per samsung, all t-mobile galaxy tabs, they have the horsepower.

    • Dakota

      Seems if you’re on Android and updates are important to you, you have to get a Nexus. And even then, GOogle has made it clear you’ll only get 18 months of updates (so not even the 2 year term of a typical contract period)

  • qpinto

    getting a phone without bloat would be great. however its almost impossible as most of them have deals with isis mobile instead of google wallet. they are kind of stuck. i would like it if we could uninstall any app and install tmobile apps if we choose to. that would be a dream come true.

    they already unlock phones after they have been in use for after 40 days. or right away if you buy the phone outright.

    • 21stNow

      You have to actually use the phone and are limited to two unlocks within 12 months. I definitely think that the unlock policy should be eased.

  • David Cowan

    Uncarrier 5.0 should be “Free device test drives”…
    Case in point… my wife used to be with T-Mobile with a unlocked iPhone 4S… but she switched to Net10 (on the AT&T SIM) because the indoor coverage was miles better. She now wants an iPhone 5S, and I’m trying to convince her to come back to T-Mobile because it’s easier for me from a billing point of view, and I can get the 5S for $0 down and low monthly payments.
    However, I’d need to get a full month of T-Mobile service AND pay $50 restocking fee (plus all the associated taxes) just to see if the signal has improved over the past year or two since she’s been away (and the ability of the iPhone antenna has improved from the 4S to the 5S)…
    That’s an expensive test.

    So… Uncarrier 5.0 — T-Mobile stores stock at least one of each handset that can be borrowed for a day or two for a nominal fee – to see if the service suits you (both at home and at work)!!!

    Especially now that we’re effectively purchasing the handsets for a monthly fee — these are $600-$700 phones, and we’re just expected to buy it without using it for any length of time to see if it does what we want???

    • Cam Bunton

      That’s an interesting idea. If it could work, perhaps – to secure itself financially – Tmo would have to put some kind of security deposit as part of the agreement, and charge full RRP if phone isn’t returned within a limited time. Still, intriguing thought.

    • Dakota

      i agree but would like at least a week to test the phone. zbe glad to give them a credit card they can swipe if I don’t return it.

  • bkin94

    The number one thing here i want is wi-fi calling in the app stores. the best devices (iPhone, Nexus, and Moto g/x) don’t have one of TMOs killer features, which makes it a non-feature. I don’t know how it would work on iPhone, but at least on android please!

  • xmarklive

    Were talking windows phone and ios here right ???

  • Keith Barnes

    I agree, phones should be sold unlocked and un bloated. If you think about it we, the consumer are buying the phone so it’s ours. Why can we not Remove bloat from our own phone? Also no matter what they say it’s always a hassle to try to get a phone unlocked. If a phone is locked to a provider doesn’t mean they still own part of your own phone? This is the reason I am using the Moto x and before that I used the Nexus 4, both on T-Mobile. Come on John, make this happen!

    • Rdaex

      With the X, yes, you bought it outright and the carrier didnt have anything to do with it.
      With someone who is on EIP, no way should that device be unlocked at purchase.

  • thatuptowncat37

    The unlock function maybe not so much, but HELL YESS to removing BLOATWARE….If we are not under contract then YYYY the BLOATWARE??!!!

  • fentonr

    I agree that this would send a good message and that bloatware is ridiculous on Android. On Windows phone you can remove anything it comes with and IOs doesn’t really come with bloatware but it is definitely a problem.

    As to unlocking phones, I think it would send a nice message but there isn’t a whole lot of point to it otherwise. Most people use AT&T phones on T-Mobile, not the other way around and that is about as much as you can do when it comes to moving phones from one carrier to another. One reason not to do this is that it could have a negative effect on T-Mobile. I wouldn’t be even a little surprised if people bought T-Mobile phones, used them on another carrier, had a bad experience because the phone wasn’t built for that carrier and then blamed T-Mobile.

  • Alan

    No bloatware or even removeable bloatware would make me switch to T-Mobile. Even if T-Mobile doesn’t pay my ETF, I’d still switch.

    The Korean government has officially outlawed bloatware on smartphones. I hope the US government doesn’t have to intervene in such a stupid situation.

    • krazytrixxxsta

      South Korea didn’t outlawed bloatware on smartphones. They made a new law that require every bloatware on smartphones to be deletable. OEMs and Carriers can still put their apps on their phones but now customers have the ability to uninstall them.

      • qpinto

        which is what i wish the rest of the world would follow suit with.

    • Ordeith

      Avoid bloatware? Avoid Android.
      None of the other OS options have it installed in a non-easily-removed fashion.

      • qpinto

        bloat is defined as any app that an individual doesnt want. Nexus devices even have “bloat” as some people dont want to use googles apps on android. its not required by any means either. However when a phone is carrier branded is what brings the bloat as every carrier wants their own apps on the phones they sell. The only way to get around the bloat is to buy the phone internationally unlocked directly from the manufacturer or a nexus device from google on android.

        • Ordeith

          iOS – Only Apple Bloat.
          WindowsPhone – all carrier apps are easily removed. Nothing to affect the OS.
          Android – Laggy bloatfest.

        • Devin

          Android is not a laggy bloatfest

  • william43

    Jump 2.0 – I would love to see Jump turns into a voucher type system where you can buy any compatible phone and T-Mobile would just enroll you into their finance plan. When I brought the Dell Venue Pro this was the process:
    1. Went to Dell Website
    2. Called Dell
    3. Dell verified I was eligible for an Upgrade

    4. T-Mobile paid the subsidy and I paid the rest

    5. Phone Shipped

    Proposed Process:
    1. Go to Amazon Wireless
    2. Type in T-Mobile information (similar to their check upgrade function)
    3. T-Mobile system verifies that Jump Program and upgrade available
    4. I Purchase Phone from Amazon Wireless
    5. I ship T-Mobile my previous Jump covered Phone
    6. End of Process.
    ========================================

    This would be awesome and then T-Mobile wouldn’t even have to worry about stocking phones and finally I would have a great selection of Windows Phones!

    • bob90210

      That’s too much work. Here should be the process:
      1. Buy the phone you want from whoever you want.
      2. Stick in the SIM
      3. Do whatever you want with the old phone.
      4. Enjoy.

      • Rdaex

        How is this different than currently?

        • william43

          You only can get the phones that are in stock at T-Mobile store and online, but they carry like one WP device at a time, which is understandable but I would like a broader selection.

  • Alex Zapata

    The bloatware I do enjoy is WiFi calling, and turning that into a standalone app would probably be a challenge. I do like the idea though.

    • fsured

      It was done as a downloaded app before T-Mobile decided to build the functionality of WiFi calling into the firmware of the phones. It is so baked in that people have attempted to get the app to work on custom roms but it takes far more effort than it is worth to remove it and recompile it properly.

      • philyew

        They changed the technical solution between the Kineto app and the current method, which uses IMS. If I’m not mistaken, it requires integration with the Radio Interface Layer, which is most times proprietary.

        It seems to have defeated everyone over at XDA-Developers and CyanogenMod, which pretty much means it’s not do-able.

        • Durandal_1707

          Also, the Kineto app never worked nearly as well as the current IMS-based solution does.

      • Alex Zapata

        If you’re talking about the old kineto app that one still required custom firmware. I remember when people were still tinkering with it on XDA and couldn’t get it to work on quite a few devices.

  • philyew

    Some of the industry’s justification for network locking has gone away over the year, but even without subsidies and contracts, the argument about outstanding financial responsibility still persists with EIPs.

    The CTIA spelled out their arguments last year after the Librarian of Congress’ decision to re-apply the DMCA to cellphone locking.

    http://blog.ctia{dot}org/2013/01/26/unlocked-devices/

    Their argument about fencing stolen phones was, originally, their strongest point, but their willingness to accept unlocked phones into the market, if there is no carrier liability, makes something of a mockery of those concerns.

    Their comparison with car registration transfer was a straw man, since the comparable issue would be whether you could drive your vehicle in another legal jurisdiction, not whether you could transfer its registration.

    In fact, IMEI blacklisting would be a better deterrent against non-payment of outstanding debt, though it wouldn’t stop the offloading of stolen devices in foreign markets.

    I’m torn on the validity of their position. I can see there is an argument which asks why a carrier should unlock a device to be sold or used on another network, if they are still owed money for it. On the other hand, even with international roaming arrangements, there are still ways that the customer can benefit from using a local SIM when overseas, without it being a breach of their responsibilities to pay for the device.

    On balance, I think the current policy could be tweaked to ensure immediate unlocking when the device is fully paid off, but I don’t think it’s sufficiently serious to be an Uncarrier issue as long as overseas travelers can still get their devices unlocked on request.

    Bloatware is another story. When the trend is towards devices that come with fixed memory, then the locked portion needs to be as small as possible. However, the issue of bloatware is marginal in this consideration. The real issue here is the conspiracy to drive storage up into the cloud in order to build revenue streams for a segment of the industry largely comprised of Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

    Does bloatware constitute a viable revenue stream for the carrier? I’m willing to trade minor aspects of my hardware experience in return for lower service prices, if I can be convinced that revenue from bloatware is being used to moderate mobile service costs. However, you can’t drive everyone’s revenue initiatives without it becoming overly intrusive.

    If you want to install bloatware, give me a device with a microSDHC slot to compensate, a way of switching off billable services with no enrollment tricks, and the ability to hide pre-installed stuff that I don’t want to see. Again, not really an Uncarrier issue.

    • fsured

      I fully agree with the issue of storage being used up on entry and mid level devices for software a customer may not want. This leads people turning to cloud storage that Google and others want us using. This uses up data to load up, download, or stream your content from the cloud. That is a carriers dream if their customers are paying for that service in data allotments. There is convenience in it for sure. But if you find yourself with no internet/data connection, that storage is useless and you can’t access the files. They should be including memory card slots.

      • Dakota

        thats why i hate when people say you don’t need storage; use the cloud. You don’t need your iPod classic; use the cloud. No I have a lot of music – I don’t want to use data whenever Im listening to music; I want my entire collection on a device I can use anytime, anywhere for free with media I already own

  • Dakota

    Getting prompt Android updates like iOS users could be another good differentiator

  • danbutter

    They need to make WiFi Calling available to as many phones people bring to Tmo as possible. I’d have a moto x OR nexus 5 on Tmo right now if I could get wifi calling on them!! Big draw for the carrier. Make it more accessible!!

    • Mitch

      The inability to add WiFi calling to the iPhone and Nexus series is a limitation placed by Apple and Google, respectively. They won’t allow T-Mobile to make the necessary software modifications because of exactly what Cam is talking about.

      • philyew

        In the case of the Nexus series, allowing the carrier to make modifications would completely overturn the underlying premise, which is that the device is differentiated entirely because it contains only the AOSP build. Even a single, beneficial change such as adding wifi calling, which is exclusive to TM, would break the concept.

        Maybe that’s what you are saying…

        • Ordeith

          It does not. It is AOSP + Google Play Services + Google Apps.
          and Google is moving more of the “OS” into the “Services” and “Apps” categories to keep Android theirs.

        • philyew

          Stupid of me. Of course the Google apps are not part of the AOSP. Thanks for correcting that.

  • Travis Tabbal

    I’d love to see something like this. To really speed updates, for Android anyway, stop with the custom devices. Work with manufacturers to include the TMO bands in international devices and sell those. Then don’t stand in the way of updates. Do a quick check to make sure any changes to the radio interface don’t break the network, and call it a day.

    Also, they should make all phones bootloader unlocked so the customer can decide what software they want. Granted, it is a small subset of people that are interested, but it’s a big deal to a lot of us. Also, clarifying warranty support issues would be nice. Software shouldn’t be a warranty issue for obvious hardware problems. Sure, if you want tech support, you have to use the stock software, that’s only reasonable. But we don’t let Dell deny warranty for broken hardware just because the user installed Linux. We shouldn’t be doing that with mobile devices either. For bonus points, allow users to install signing keys and protect our devices ourselves. There are a lot of good uses for things like signed code, but most of them require the user to be able to set the keys. A lot of malware could be stopped in it’s tracks with this. The Raspberry Pi handles the warranty issue the best way, IMO. You can overclock, and mess with just about anything, but if you disable the thermal limiter it sets an e-fuse to deny warranty. That’s reasonable as unless you do that, you can’t harm the hardware.

    Carrier apps could be installed by default, but should just be normal app store apps so the user can remove them if they wish and get them back easily if they wish. Even the current wifi calling can be done this way. The IMS based version can be an app. It doesn’t need low level RIL modifications from what I’ve read. I believe the only reason we can’t just install an IMS app for it is that we need TMobile to provide the keys and such to allow it. If they had their own app, those issues are solved. Even better would be to allow any IMS app, but there are legitimate security issues there.

    As for the storage aspect, it would be really nice if they would list the USABLE storage in the advertising so that people could be aware of the situation. Or solve the problem and include a micro-SDHC slot. They are tiny and there’s no good reason not to have them. I’d also like to see flagship devices with more internal storage, and faster storage. Like normal computers, storage is starting to bog down devices. It doesn’t do any good to have a super fast CPU if it’s spending all it’s time waiting for the data it needs.

    • philyew

      You may or may not be right about the ability to make a wifi calling app, but if you read the comments in the thread which was shut down in the XDA-Developers forum just a few days ago (for lack of actual development being reported), they are still going around in circles after over two years and some of the interested parties were again looking at the RIL, even though the main issue seems to be related to the dependence on SIM-based authentication. No one seems to be claiming that TM could solve all this by providing “the keys and such.”

      Any security change that would allow the user to alter or delete components of the OS is going to invalidate the warranty for non-hardware issues. I agree that the manufacturer should honor its warranty for manufacturing defects in the hardware, regardless of the state of the OS, but it will seldom be obvious that the equipment has failed as a result of a manufacturing defect, rather than accidental damage or interference with the OS, if the device is rooted. How much diagnostic effort should be expected of the manufacturer to establish that they are or are not ultimately responsible for the failure?

      The process of establishing warranty responsibility is simple and cost effective at the moment: if there is no visible damage and no possible OS interference because the security measures are intact, then the warranty will apply. Spend an hour having to determine the root cause when the security is not intact and the cost efficiency is overturned. The customers will end up paying for it.

      • Travis Tabbal

        For Wifi calling, it’s hard to say without knowing what TMO is doing differently from a “standard” IMS setup. I haven’t seen the thread you’re referring to, so I’ll just say it should be possible, particularly if you drop the requirement to use the SIM to authenticate. Of course, that’s partially the draw, ease of use. SIP calling has been available for years. It’s just harder to set up.

        My point with software and warranty was that software changes shouldn’t be able to damage hardware. If it is, that’s the fault of the hardware design, really. Crashing, sure, but actual physical damage? No. That said, some people do abuse the warranty for things a quick flash would fix. On the manufacturer side, a clean wipe and install the OS. If that doesn’t fix the fault, it’s hardware. If it does, return the device and call it a day. Perhaps make the user pay for the time to flash it if it could be done with the official tools. If it requires anything other than the USB port and the standard tools, it’s a hardware fault. Send back a refurb and you’re done. Nothing regular computer manufacturers haven’t been doing for decades. The only new bit here is the attempt to lock it down in the first place.

        • philyew

          If I recall what it said, it was an OS limitation that pushed the authentication onto the SIM.

          Remember that TM’s wifi calling isn’t end-to-end VoIP. They route the call onto their circuit switched infrastructure from the IP interface. There has to be some network based authentication establishing that the user has a legitimate presence on their circuit switched network, otherwise they become the host to any freeloader who can install an APK without a TM account. The SIM is a good identity authority when it comes to accessing the carrier network.

          Do PC manufacturers warranty the OS? Not in my experience. Any amount of time spent re-establishing an AOSP build costs money, so unless your idea of the customer paying for that time can be established, I doubt that there would be any possibility of manufacturers continuing to offer replacement warranties.

  • Ordeith

    I agree. Get me an unlocked phone the manufacturer can update directly. I don’t need my updates to keep being blocked and denied by T-Mobile.

  • neal lavoie

    Yes please, the Tmobile Note 3 is the best example of that. So bogged down by Samsung bloatware and Tmobile bloatware, laggy and stutters bad.

  • Rdaex

    As a TMO store manager, NO NO NO. Unlocked devices are a MASSIVE invitation for fraudulent activity, and will open the floodgates to people putting nothing down, never paying a dime on their bills, and selling the phones overseas.
    This ALREADY happens on the regular, but with factory unlocked right from the get go, youre inviting that sort of behavior.

    • levi

      and your point is?

    • Gunther

      I believe this is where the credit check would come into play. The $0 down should only be for those that are approved above a specified credit rating, anyone below that rating would have an upfront down payment; maybe below an even lower score has some other financial restriction. Will this curb the avoidance of paying the phone off in full? No. Will it curb people selling the phones overseas for a healthy profit? No. Will people even care if this type of activity hits against their credit score? Maybe, maybe not.
      The point is that this type of activity (selling partially-paid-for phones overseas for a profit) is happening now and will likely continue to happen as long as there is a market and money can be made. At the very least some of these folks will be hit in the wallet up front to some degree, thus lessening their potential profit and at least making them feel some of the pain.
      The other side of this is attempting to curb the demand overseas for these phones. This obviously is more of a corporate plan of attack in terms of creating a company-sanctioned supply chain for these markets – possibly initiating some sort of customer selling forum similar to what the NFL does for game-day tickets. At least that way the company would channel some of the activity through them and be able to get a read on where the international markets need to be expanded.

      • Magdalena

        The $0 is in fact only for those that are approved with a specified credit rating. However, most fraudsters are usually identity thieves, thus the credit check guarantees nothing if they’re using someone else’s ssn.

    • Jesslyn Hendrix

      I’m so tired of being penalized for what criminals do, I may die. If that’s the case, then why don’t iPhones have a problem? I reject the argument that fraudulent costs are built into the price of the iPhone because their cost is no more than my Note 3.

    • Bklynman

      Or they can simply put some kind kill switch into phone softwear,where the phone become totaly useless once,that happens. I am sure once the phone goes oversea,they have somehow jailbreak the phone softwear for it to work overseas,can’t the makers,put some kind kill softwear into the phone,
      to make them totaly useless when that happens. Not sure if it is possible to do. What little I have read about carriers from overseas,most phones unlock anyway,not sure if that’s true or not.

    • TylerCameron

      How exactly does this happen? If the customer doesn’t pay for the phone, then it goes to collections. T-Mobile will get the money from that customer one way or another. They won’t just forget that some customer basically took $600+ from them.

  • calvinneal

    The apple model works. Buy a gsm phone at Apple. Use it anywhere

  • nana

    how about this? you order a phone and you can determine which tmobile “”bloatware” for lack of a better word is installed on it. sort of a customisation. everybody happy.

    • That’s what the Play Store is for. You pick what apps you want on your device.

      • Bklynman

        No what she talking about is the apps that already installed on the phone,like Tmobile TV,Netflicks, etc. She not talking about apps from Google play store.

        • No… What I’m saying is that phones should ship out from the manufacturer with no carrier intervention and then any carrier related apps can later be added through your respective Play Store or App Store. No need to make choices through the carrier.

    • Anon

      Agreed, or it can just come preloaded (with the bloatware) like normal, I’m fine with this, as long as we can choose to delete the apps, rather than disable them.
      They’re taking up too much space, it’s pointless since we’re
      just going to disable most, if not all of them, anyway. It’d be nice, right now, since we’re forced to have them if we could save them to SD. Unfortunately Google decided to rid Android of this feature which I think was truly ignorant on their part(although with bloatware this was never an option anyway but it should’ve been, I think). That’s one of the reasons why we love android, that option, to be able to add memory to our devices, saving apps to SD was a nice feature (despite its irrelevance now because we’ve devices with 16/32 gbs of internal memory but for low-end Android phones, it’d be nice to have the option).

  • Chong

    Will unlock phone make it harder for stolen phone to be black listed with IMEI?

    • Sean

      No.

  • eric

    uncarrier 5 should be no deposit for customers and instead just higher down payment on the phones.

  • GSMUnlockLabs

    sadly, being locked to a carrier really isn’t a “pain-point” for many people when it means they get a $700-800 phone for $99 or for free. and what you call bloatware the phone company or whoever is paying them to put it there calls it a “value add” or some other nonsense. in other words, while both are good ideas neither of them will be the norm any time soon. so, until then, flash your own ROM and unlock your device via IMEI: http://gsmunlocklabs.com offers IMEI codes for almost any GSM phone.

  • Brandon

    Uncarrier 5 should be about getting me 4G LTE where Verizon can. If they could expand their 4G LTE outside of metros and highways, their growth could become exponential with the prices we pay for service. But the old adage remains true “you get what you pay for” with TMobile. I love my service when I’m in the city but my Job isn’t always near a metropolitan area. Most of the time it’s in the middle of nowhere Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and so forth.

  • fpants

    Uncarrier 5 should be free tethering

    • eric

      if you get unl data for t-mobile. u get 2.5gb of free tethering.

  • Don Kim

    The only protection (sort of) that T-Mo has for $0 deals for all phones is carrier lock.
    If they get rid of it, things will get uglier in a hurry with tons of fraud accounts.
    No. Never should happen.