Rumor: T-Mobile Uncarrier Phase 3 To End New Customer Deposits

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 11.59.59 AMPrepare yourself for another round of rumor wonderland as a source tipped us a potential highpoint of T-Mobile’s Uncarrier Phase 3. Now, I know you don’t need the standard disclaimer with all good rumor stories but I’m saying it anyway…take with many grains of salt. According to a source, T-Mobile’s Phase 3 of their Uncarrier plan will include a removal of all deposits from the Simple Choice postpaid plans leaving just “well qualified and other qualified” pricing. There’s been plenty of discussion about what Phase 3 would involve and T-Mobile’s usually boisterous CEO hasn’t left us very many hints. Still, this is one rumor that makes a bit of sense and wouldn’t surprise us upon its arrival. Deposits can be a huge hiccup for customers in the wireless industry and are often seen as a reason customers choose competitors or even prepaid carriers. Removing them could be a big win for T-Mobile and a carry-over from MetroPCS, which has no deposit requirements for customers.

There’s no telling if Phase 3 would involve more than just deposit removal, but given that Phase 2 had multiple levels it’s entirely possible this could be just one part of Phase 3.

So, there it is…the first rumor I’m comfortable running for Uncarrier Phase 3 but prefaced with the yawn-inducing “grain of salt” disclaimer.

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  • Manny

    It makes plenty of sense. Especially with this summers 0 down pricing? You could think of it as a test run? Am I right? They gave away all there phones with 0 Deposit and people really loved it and took advantage of that and jump at the same time. Who wouldn’t wanna stick with that? I know I took advantage and picked up a phone for my brother, the Xperia Z.

    • Guest

      Deposit is different from down payment. Deposit is required to start service on top of the down payment for people who don’t have good credit history.

      • Manny

        You are correct. Although no down payment still sounds good. The deposit thing doesn’t affect me in the least though.

  • VG

    David: I’m confused. Is a “deposit” considered the initial payment for a new smartphone? If all smartphones were $0 down, that would be huge! Unless “deposit” refers to something else?

    • No, a deposit is on top of these things.

      • Zac

        You mean a deposit for people with less-than-stellar credit right?

    • jonny84

      the 0$ down payment for the phone installment doesn’t mean anything if you have bad credit. they charged me $222 down payment
      for my lumia 925 which is half the cost of the phone. there wasn’t any deposit for the line of service thought.

  • Willie D

    Even if they do away with deposits, they still run your credit. They wont let you activate a line if you have a debt bought by a collection agency. So it really does not matter. A lot of people have this issue.

    • Manual Review

      Yes they will…Just need manual review

    • I signed up for T-Mobile a month and a half ago with plenty of debts bought by collection agencies. I didn’t even get charged a deposit.

  • Teamlead

    People come …. There’s a difference in deposit (new service credit check) and the equipment down payment for EIP.

  • Guest

    This would make sense with T-Mobile’s tiered deposit system (which can be a bit confusing..) but I’d have to think that they will still have tiers in them.

    Or maybe just line limits? Deposits are still relatively fresh for T-Mobile with FlexPay having just ended (just under 2 years)

  • Luis Medina

    They need to work on their coverage here (Chicago) in big cities like for example inside malls and universities and the rural areas.

    • Dakota

      or in many cities 5 -10 minutes out of downtown

    • Eric

      T-Mobile has high-frequency spectrum, so the only thing that would help would be to build more towers near your area.

      • CPPCrispy

        Or upgrade existing towers.

      • J-Hop2o6

        Or grab some lower frequency spectrum, which will be in a few short years.

      • MastarPete

        ^^ This, just about the only way to improve in-building coverage with high frequency spectrum is to fill in the gaps with towers or micro-cell sites. The only problem is the “Not in my backyard” crowd, especially in suburbs with mostly single family/duplex/town homes. So in reality it won’t happen unless the town is dense enough to be mostly apartment buildings where residents may not care as much and the antennae will already be at an appropriate height.

        There’s a section of the town where I live (a Chicago suburb) that badly needs another cell tower to cover the core residential area. A couple years ago a carrier (I believe it was T-mobile) asked to build a tower behind the library on library property, iirc they were going to pay rent and everything to the library. Its about the only reasonable place for a tower and would have been a great spot but when the library held a public meeting it was overwhelmingly blocked by the nearby residents. :-/

      • Luis Medina

        That is true but they can have coverage by adding das systems which is cheaper than adding full on towers.

    • Trevnerdio

      Agreed. Coverage in my school blows. Can hardly hang on to a bar or 2 of EDGE. Walk out into the parking lot, though, and boom…full bars HSPA+ and LTE is just a couple miles down the road, currently. But will I ever see that signal in the building? No I will not.

  • Chris

    I’m sorry but…what’s a deposit? Is that the 100 you pay for the phone initially?

    • GwapoAko

      Payment when you open your account with Tmobile.

      • Dakota

        I dont get it – what payment? Is the payment the deposit on the phone and then you pay your rate with the monthly phonst costs?

        • thepanttherlady

          You don’t pay a deposit on a phone, you make a down paymernt towards the purchase.

          Deposit = line of service
          Down payment = device purchase

        • No, it’s a bad-credit deposit. If your credit isn’t good enough, they protect their expenditures by offsetting your postpaid costs with an upfront deposit, in case you default on your monthly bill.

        • GwapoAko

          Deposit is like when you want to rent a house .. you pay the deposit and you get the deposit back at the end of the term of the lease..

          Down payment is like when you buy a house you pay a down payment and you never get the money back

        • taron19119

          when we first signed up with T Mobile you have to pay activation fee that’s what you mean by the deposit

    • It’s a deposit you pay if your credit isn’t good enough. They charge you a deposit, like other carriers, to recoup their costs if you fail to pay your postpaid bill.

    • LC

      A deposit would be paid by customers who have credit that isn’t great in order to simply have service activated. It’s separate than what is paid for a phone and is simply for the line of service. With T-Mobile the deposits range from $50-$400 a line depending on credit and how many lines are being activated. This deposit is refundable after one year of good payment history. It use to ensure that if the customer defaulted on their account that some cost could be recouped by the carrier.

      • Chris

        Wow well if that’s seriously what phase 3 is that’s pretty lame. Thanks for the great explanation!

  • Mattcat

    IF this is true then it makes more sense for the Jump program. Having a down payment does not make sense when appying Jump. If I needed to put a down payment of $99 or $199 to a phone then I would be reluctant to use the Jump program since It doesn’t make sense to swap to another phone since I already made an initial investment with the down payment. In addition the $10/mo that I save from not using Jump amounts to $240 which I more inclined to do as I take on the risk without an insurance.
    The Jump program I believe can be leveraged by $0 payment down and that goes for all phones old and new. The monthly payment for the EIP will vary based on the price of the phone but overall you end paying for full retail price plus tax of course.

    • Good

      they said deposits, not down payments

      • Darkbotic

        What’s the difference?

        P.S. Not trolling, just confused.

        • fsured

          Like starting new residential power service, many companies require you to put a deposit and after 1yr you get that back as a credit on your next bill. The deposit is the same situation where you put money upfront in the event you don’t pay your bill but it gets returned to you.

          The money put toward a phone is to cover the cost of the phone and is used for that purpose only.

      • gpt2010

        Now I am confused too. So phase 3 is only about deposits and how many lines a customer can get? Basically $0 for deposits for a certain amount of lines. If this is true, Phase 3 is just for the credit challenged who are looking for multiple lines. I really would advice T-Mobile not to do that. Sprint had the same kind of offer around 2002 when I worked for T-Mobile. It came back to bite Sprint because most of them did not pay their bills. Not a good move T-Mobile. Yes, it will pad the base customer numbers, but it won’t pay off in the end when they don’t pay their bills.

    • gpt2010

      If you don’t put a deposit down, I am assuming that you just pay more monthly for the phone. On average now the monthly payments are around $20 for a high end phone. With no deposit, would it raise the cost to around $26-$28 a month? I am sure T-Mobile will get that money back somehow. I think most would people wouldn’t mind this on especially on family plans. I would still rather pay a deposit to pay off phone faster to keep my monthly bill lower.

      • Good

        no no no, deposit != down payment!

  • guest33

    i want it to be no credit check for single lines

    • Good
      • quest66

        we have it but they don’t pay the employees if we set up a no credit check single line. So we don’t do it, we make you do prepaid if its 1 line only.

      • JRT

        stop trying to promote prepaid phones…no they don’t already have that, no credit check single line postpaid is NOT the same as a prepaid…PERIOD!

  • DT

    What’s “yawn-inducing” is this rumor. C’mon Tmobile you better have something more up your sleeves than that. Remember when Legere foreshadowed Phase 3 with “stay tuned, we’re going to have some fun with that.” I’m not sure if there is mass-market opportunity to draw in the credit challenged.

  • thepanttherlady

    Deposit = line of service
    Down payment = device purchase

  • Good

    this is dumb, this is not phase iii!

    they already have postpaid. why risk no deposit???

    • JRT

      you say “they already have postpaid” but then post a link to PREPAID….if you wanna give advice to people and comment, please do it right!

  • Dakota

    By deposit, do you mean the ‘upfront downpayment?” It seems theyd just do what they did on other sales which is just add that money to the monthly plans. A shell game. Pay now or pay later…Seems everything theyre trying to compete on is price and not quality – especially in their advertising – and people already perceive them as the cheap not so good network

    • thepanttherlady

      Deposit = line of service
      Down payment = device purchase

    • AndroidProfit

      Good point! The LTE here in Atlanta is pretty spotty. I guess though it’s still better versus sprint but I see your point. I think T Mobile is still seen as the cheap carrier.

      with that being said though they certainly have done a great job with store remodels.

  • Mr. G

    That’s actually really appealing. As some customer who don’t have amazing credit have to pay a line deposits and also the higher down for the phone. In which some cases to start tmobile they have to cough up like $300+ for just one line. At least this will help a little by removing that extra $50 or $100 deposit.

    • thepanttherlady

      Some people have $200+ deposit so this would be very appealing for them indeed.

  • GwapoAko

    Deposit is like when you want to rent a house .. you pay the deposit and you get the deposit back at the end of the term of the lease..

    Down payment is like when you buy a house you pay a down payment and you never get the money back.

    • fsured

      That is a good analogy. Another one for people that are confused is you put a “down payment” on a car for financing with a bank. The upfront cost of the phone you purchase is your “down payment” and T-mobile is giving you interest free financing for the rest of the phone.

      Your deposit for service is just insurance that you will pay your bill and if you don’t then they can take that deposit to cover it. Pay the bill on time and you get it back.

    • Steve G

      So with this new plan, we’re going to be renting phone, but won’t have to pay a deposit?

      • GwapoAko

        Yes you are correct :0) zzzz

        • ian

          aprob ako

        • GwapoAko

          Salamat kabayan!!!

  • taron19119

    a lot of people are being confused just changed from deposit to account activation fee

    • thepanttherlady

      Activation fee = non-refundable
      Deposit = refundable after 1 year of service

      • Stone Cold

        This would be HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • kalel33

        As long as they pay all their bills on time for that year. Just had to insert the disclosure.

  • Jason

    Amazed at how many people are confused by this.

  • S. Ali

    Anything other than expanded coverage is a waste of time. These are all business-level changes (all the phase 3 rumors have been similar), and not something that will have Verizon and ATT running for the hills. Sprint has already offered a competitive “One Up” plan that is a bit cheaper than JUMP. Do something crazy like offer unlimited home broadband for 4g/LTE markets.

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    More LTE launches and start the LTE-A expansion

    • kalel33

      You have to start LTE-A before you can expand it.

  • symsoul

    While I’m certain this would appeal to a decent percentage of T-Mob’s customer base, I certainly hope this isn’t phase III. It just seems a touch lackluster compared to the first two phases to simply eliminate deposits for new customers, if I’m understanding this correctly.

    Now if it turns out to be about eliminating deposits on new phones, I could see more value in that. But even still, the Jump program (phase II) stole some of that thunder by virtue of making upgrades easier. Besides, I’m sure they’d make up for it on the back end by charging more per month as they did for a similar program a couple months back.

    Make it good, Magenta!

  • tmoman1111

    It seems like everyone is a little confused here…. Tmobile getting rid of deposits would be a really good move. Right now if a customer wants a phone and have bad credit they have three options all with the same pricing:

    1. Pay whatever deposit that you get back in 1 year and pay a higher down payment for a phone.

    2. Do no credit check, pay a set deposit, and pay full price for your phone’s.

    3. Go prepaid and pay for your minutes up front and pay full price for your phone.

    The reason that they make some pay deposits now is the same as any other company generally those people are financial risks. They charge a deposit as a safety net so that way if the bill isnt paid they dont lose all that money. They give that money back to them in a year because they prove they a responsible. It has nothing to do with a down payment.

    No deposits would be a potential risk for tmobile but combined with no contracts and crazy low pricing along with our emerging LTE it definitely is worthwhile.

    The only reason tmobile charges a deposit now is basically so that they can avoid the risk of customers who get the installment plan and don’t pay

    • Paul

      *you get the deposit back after one year of ON TIME payments. deposit must be requested

      • Paul

        If a payment is late the 12 month period restarts

    • gpt2010

      I don’t think it is a good idea to get rid of deposits. Too many customers will join that won’t pay there bill. It will boost overall customer base numbers, which is what they look like they want to do now. However, this will come back to bite them as it did for Sprint several years ago. Bad move T-Mobile.

  • Luv_Johnny_L

    This is a horrible idea. If this is one of the “pain points” John was talking about, he must not have been listening to his customers. Phase 3 needs to be: COVERAGE. NO MORE 2G or EDGE.

    • Get_at_Me

      Expanding coverage shouldnt be an UNcarrier phase but something they just do….Eliminating deposits has an immediate impact on many new and existing customers.

  • Turb0wned

    How about upgrade all the EDGE and GPRS to 3G. Doesn’t even have to be LTE.

    • kalel33

      Most of the Edge and GPRS you see, outside of cities, is actually you roaming on someone else’s towers, which won’t ever see 3G. At least in the Midwest that’s the case.

      • Turb0wned

        Ridiculous, I love unlimited data which is the only reason I haven’t gone back to AT&T…

      • TmoJohnstownCustomer

        Not really: T-mobile has plenty of EDGE/GPRS towers that they own (In my area they were just transferred to Crown Castle but were all constructed by Voicestream and sat mostly untouched (never upgraded) by T-Mobile. I have seen some of the GPRS upgraded to EDGE this year. Unfortunately, still no 2G to 3G/4G. Not very exciting, but it is something. If you are roaming, it will clearly show (usually AT&T) and if you are prepaid you get no data, including picture messages.

        • kalel33

          You must live on the East coast, where they have more of their own towers but if you look at their coverage map the vast majority of coverage, outside of cities, is roaming partners.

    • brenda

      Over here in los Angeles outside the city it used to be pretty bad but now they getting rid of edge slowly but they doing it just cAme from Tijuana on the way there the whole 2 hour trip was EDGE /GPRS on tmobile last year2012 now 2013 I saw 4G more than half the trip there on my xperia Z. Had 4G all the way to otay mesa n san isidro once I was crossing the bridge into TJ and it switched to TELCEL MEXICO I maintained a 3G icon all the way to ensenada does anyone know why when I roamed in Mexico it showed 3G? Cuz in the US I only see 4G lte or 4G or 2G when on edge never 3G but this time when I was in Mexico I saw “3G” for the first time. Once I ccrossed back to San diego I saw “4G” once it was on tmobile again.

  • 21stNow

    I thought that what David wrote was clear, but it seems that T-Mobile is about to confuse their customers again. If tmonews readers don’t get it, the non-blog-reading public won’t understand it either.

    • Encino Stan

      Yes, what David wrote is clear. BUT I had no idea that deposits were required for any users. I never had to pay a deposit for wireless. Perhaps most of the blog-reading tmonews readers are like me and didn’t know that deposits were an option.

      • 21stNow

        Even though I’ve never had to pay a deposit, I knew that they existed. Every time I open a new line on AT&T, they tell me “good news; you are not required to pay a deposit for your new line”. T-Mobile said basically the same thing when I opened my postpaid line three years ago.

  • Stew

    Bring on the shared/family data plans with rollover data!

  • twicetheprice

    I’m hoping this isn’t “Phase 3”, but if it is I can definitely see it being a huge thing to a lot of potential customers. Of course us here probably aren’t that targeted market so that’s why we’re “pooh-poohing” the idea since it doesn’t apply to us.

    But still, if there was one customer pain point that needs to be addressed it’s COVERAGE. It’s actually pretty good where I’m at, except when I go to visit my mom — I actually hit GPRS on the way. :

  • Bklynman

    If they are getting rid of deposits,what they should also do is take the down pay the 2nd down payment off,if you don’t jump in 6 months. Plus they should make the 1st one only $50.00 then 6 months later make it another $50.00. Also they should sell there refurbished phones,like Att.does with there GO phone service,the last time I look
    on TM site,the only refurbished phone they were selling was the Q10 bb.Does anyone know what TM does with the phones that are return to them?

    • st

      don’t get what you’re saying about the down paymnet…..but i think assurant is buying them for refurbishing as insurance replacements

      • Bklynman

        What mean,with jump,you put down $99.00,now 6 months later you
        the next super phone that just came out,then I have pay another $99.00,
        I am saying they should not charge people the full $99.00 up front.
        But only charge them $50.00,then charge them another $50.00 6 months later. If the person doesn’t jump until year later,don’t charge the person,
        another$99.00,unless they jump within 6 months,if it is not possible not to
        charge them instead of $99.00,make it only $50.00,Tm,is getting the phone back,where they are going to do something with it,what who knows,because they don’t sell their used phone , on third site or stores.
        Any Tm,reps care to us what does Tm,do with their returns.

  • David Cowan

    Screw the deposits! Turn up the freakin’ power a bit so I can get a signal indoors more than 3 feet from a window!

  • Asael Delgado

    Maybe part of phase 3 we can add up to 15 lines ^__^ that way I can add my entire family and save hundreds of dollars compared to big red and Death Star. But I can only dream -sigh-

  • Nearmsp

    In the end deadbeats end up costing the responsible customers. T-mobile is not doing any one favors by choosing to “spend’ their money for reducing credit quality of customers. That money is better spent on getting rid of Edge network. I have some friends visiting from overseas. They chose AT&T for their travels, because “T-mobile has edge outside cities, AT&T at least has 3G coverage nationwide). It is very frustrating to get Edge when ever you take a road trip on interstate and leave the capital city.

    • red5

      Yeah. When you’re home country is the size of a pop can its easy to cover the whole thing in 4G…

      • Nearmsp

        I have no problem with the city coverage. It is on the interstate between cities. 80% of the time driving from Minneapolis to Milwaukee it is Edge on T-mobile. It is a joke.

        • What the frack are you doing on an “Interstate” that requires “High Speed”? Your data speed will already be degraded due to the fact you are MOVING at a high rate of speed. 2G/3G is fine for e-mail, GPS, etc. Even streaming music.

        • Bellinda

          To be fair, you stop by on the way and want to find somewhere to eat or your kids want to watch Netflix in the back, there are plenty of reasons to want High Speed along an interstate.

        • OK, that makes sense Bellinda! But I still think its exaggerated.

    • EL

      This is my absolute biggest issue with T-mobile and the reason I will switch carriers in the future, assuming they don’t fix it in the next year or so. For me, 2G might as well be 0G. Most web pages or applications are so data intensive these days, that they time out for me as if there is no data coverage. So for most things it’s not just slow, it’s non-existent. I don’t need faster in the city. I need something useful outside of metropolitan areas.

  • sushimane

    People must be crazy to think that any carrier should remove edge or 2g? For those who have a certain amount of data go over their limit should in a month should still have the same speed of a 4g lte or hspa+42 get real. If ur willing to pay an extra cost per gb maybe verizon charge u 15 dollars per gb if u go over ur limit in the month. I understand the places where their are edge and should be upgraded to atleast 3g and later 4g lte at the end of the day its all about supply and demand.

    • Nearmsp

      I have 4.5 GB of data but due to Edge coverage not able to use full data that I pay for. If I ran up, I would upgrade my data package. But having Edge coverage outside cities is not acceptable.

  • Impatient Waiter

    phase 3 should just be a MASSIVE increase in coverage, that’s it. Plain and simple (strategy). Deposits have not been a big deal or turned many people away, at least at my location. The number one complaint we receive is their first prorated month bill…

    • pete

      Right Fit the customer and tell them at the time of sale about the bill proration!!!! I have not had these kind of complaints!!!!

    • elite

      If you tell your customer the monthly plan with the eip, there should be no surprises. If it is $110 with eip, the bill is always $110 until you pay off the phone. Keep it simple.

  • Blu3V3nom07

    Oh boy!

  • Rman12

    If I’m going to make a guess and dream, it’ll be making all T-Mobile compatible phones being unlocked with no bloat ware. That’s something other carriers won’t do. It also make sense that all their phones being unlocked since they don’t require contracts.

    • That would be great but I don’t think that would appeal to “the normal” people. You and I are not “normal” in this sense. Carrier bloat annoys me, but it won’t keep me from buying a phone. High prices will.

  • elite


    A customer comes in wants the Iphone 5S, I run his credit and it comes out to Credit Class H. This means he has to give $100 deposit to open up the line and the $309 down payment for the Iphone 5S. Since he has a deposit he IS NOT well qualified so he pays more upfront for the phone.

    The NO Deposit works is instead of him paying $409 to open up the line and get the phone he will only pay $309 because they are removing the deposits.


    • Bill

      And he still won’t buy because we advertise $99 down. We closed a lot more deposit customers when we charged a deposit and the same down payment. There’s something that makes sense to a customer when you tell them they have a deposit because they know their credit isn’t good and they’re mentally prepared for hat. Telling them they don’t get the advertised price is psychologically different. The customer feels embarrassed and a little like we pulled a bait and switch. I hope it works because we don’t close anywhere near the deposit customers we used to.

  • TMONoob

    Hmmm. Free (or lower cost) international roaming. That would be cool. BAM!