[Update - Images] T-Mobile changes upcoming: Simplified billing, no prorated charges, and EIP included from first bill

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We’ve been hearing little snippets here and there about a few changes that could be coming up as part of Uncarrier 5.0, but one seemingly steady feature on the list is billing. T-Mobile is going to be changing its entire billing system, to make it simpler for customers to understand by including and removing current features. Whether it is as part of Uncarrier 5.0, or not, changes are coming.

First up is prorated charges. When you sign up to a new service plan with a new device, currently you’ll find charges often get prorated on the first bill. It’s not unique to T-Mobile, and it’s a system used widely across the globe to help fit charges in to billing cycles. It can be frustrating for users. You’re expecting your first bill to come in at $70 (plus taxes/fees) and instead, you get a bill with (as an example) an extra two week’s charges on it to cover the time between activation and billing date. According to our sources, this system is gone, to be replaced with a new one very soon.

Instead, you will get no prorated charges. Your first monthly bill will be exactly that: A monthly bill. One month’s charges. No more, no less. And all on one completely paperless bill.

What’s more, T-Mobile is also going to be ensuring that your first bill also includes what you owe on your first EIP installment. We’ve heard plenty of times that – at the moment – some customers have been waiting sometimes up to 3 months before being charged their first EIP payment. No more. EIP payments will be included on your bill from the very first month.

This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Let’s say for instance you sign up to the JUMP! program, and you want to upgrade after 6 months because there’s a great new phone out you want. You’re expecting to have to pay half the device’s cost to upgrade, and you think you’ve already paid a quarter of it. Only to find that you’ve only paid a couple of months, and you’re out of pocket. Or, if – after 12 months – you’re sick of T-Mobile, want to pay off the remaining EIP balance and skip off to AT&T. You assume you’ve already paid half the cost, except you haven’t. You’ve only paid 9 months worth.

Although the financial difference isn’t huge, the simplification of billing, cutting out prorata and saving the trees by going paperless is all positive as far as I’m concerned. This way, you know exactly what your first bill is going to be. And that is the key. It’s one of those frustrations you can often forget about, and take as just part of the industry. But, it’s certainly one T-Mo could change, and is about to if our information is correct.

Once we have some images to share with you, we’ll update the post. But, T-Mobile staff are being trained on these changes as I type this.

UPDATE – As promised, the images for you to enjoy: 

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Highlights to look out for in the images:

  • Your new, simplified monthly bill will show the differences between the current charges and last month’s charges, broken down per line. Up and down arrow show if you’re under or over.
  • “An equipment instalment plan (EIP) monthly charge was billed for the first time.”
  • A notice at the bottom encouraging users to switching to the paperless billing system.
  • Although worth noting on the more detailed itemised bill, there are taxes included and mentioned in the bill. Possibility that the rumours surrounding the “all-in” simplified plan charges could be wrong. But, even if they’re right, it’s likely T-Mobile are still required to show the individual taxes.
  • Like we mentioned earlier, the bills do seem to indicate that there are no pro-rata charges. One page indicates that there is a new monthly EIP charge, which would indicate a new device was purchased. The other page of the bill shows clearly that there’s only a one-month charge. No prorated charging is mentioned in the breakdown.

All signs then, would point towards this new simplified bill being put in to action soon. I would be very surprised if this was the main jist of the Uncarrier 5.0 announcement. It’s not as “industry changing” as perhaps an all tax-inclusive bill would be. But, it’s will be a welcome change nonetheless.

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