T-Mobile Terminates Grandfathered Rate Plans

by Matt Klassen on October 18, 2013

T-Mobile has announced it will terminate all extant grandfathered plans and move all those customers into the company’s newly revamped plan structure. The company will begin to shift customers starting November 1st, noting that the “vast majority” of customers will see “similar or better features at a comparable price,” but conceded that “a small number of customers will experience a noticeable change.”

To that end, the company is giving those customers affected a grace period of a few months to try things out, providing the option of cancelling their T-Mobile plan without penalty by early in the new year.

While terminating grandfathered rate plans may seem like an unnecessarily tumultuous move for a company in the midst of a strong brand rebuild–a move that is sure to produce some negative fallout– the shift comes as part of the company’s larger ‘UnCarrier’ philosophy, for while “Maintaining thousands of rate plans is the norm in the industry…it creates unnecessary complexity,” T-Mobile explained. “Simple is better.” [Italics mine]

When T-Mobile revamped its entire mobile strategy back in March it knew that some wouldn’t like the changes, and at the time the company allowed existing customers to keep their plans, while directing new subscribers to one of the new options. By eliminating those older plans now, however, it seems the company is ready to absorb the fallout, as the letter to customers has made it clear while the company will do everything in its power to keep customers happy, this is the way forward, like it or leave it.

If you’re wondering how things will work come November 1st, the company gave scant details about how it would determine what’s best for each customer affected, but as one customer has revealed, T-Mobile has indicated that it will attempt to find the ‘best match’ for the plan the customer is already on. For this particular customer, the company is switching him to the new Select Value Plan for $45/month, offering unlimited talk, text, and 4G access for a $5 increase on his existing plan.

Again, while some are sure to be put off by this restructuring, its clear T-Mobile holds no ill will, in fact, it seems to be preparing itself for at least some backlash. As I mentioned, the company is providing customers with a grace period, giving them until February 1st, 2014 to drop their T-Mobile plan without penalty it they’re not satisfied with the changes.

What’s humorous, however, is that in an effort to make things simple, T-Mobile has seemingly made things unnecessarily complex, as there’s no indication on T-Mobile’s website that such ‘Select Value’ plans exist, with insiders stating that the company has created these ‘Select Value’ plans specifically for those on grandfathered plans…although I suppose creating 49 different ‘Select Value’ combinations may still be easier than maintaining the reported 350+ grandfathered plans currently being utilized.

In the end, while uncomfortable for some customers to be sure, such restructuring and streamlining is really par for the course in the wireless industry, and T-Mobile customers can take solace in the fact that as part of its ‘UnCarrier’ policy the company seems to once again be flouting conventional wireless wisdom by actually respecting customers throughout the process, giving them choices, options, and a clean way out if they so chose; more, I would guess, than you’d get from any of the other major American carriers.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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Martin January 27, 2014 at 5:04 am

I got the letter forcing me to migrate from a Family Flex plan to a Select Value plan late last year and the letter said we could add up to 3 more lines. So sounded family-plan like. The letter also said I would be migrated and service would continue without me having to do a thing.

Then mysteriously last week, my phone was disconnected. Turns out we had been migrated to a post pay plan. I spent literally hours on the phone with T-Mobile. First they suggested the letter was a phishing scheme since there was no Select Value plan. When I finally got them to admit the letter was theirs, they alternately said it had been sent by mistake or that they had made a mistake and cancelled the Select Value plans. They no longer existed. All they wanted to do was credit me $10 for 2 months, since the post-pay plan was $35/mo instead of the $25 stated in the letter.

So I am really angry and thinking of going to small claims court. Anyone else have a similar experience lately?

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