One Hand Gives, the Other Takes Away: T-Mobile Revamps Family Plan Data Allotment but Terminates Unlimited Option

by Matt Klassen on July 16, 2015

T-Mobile announced this week that it is offering more data than its rivals for customers who sign up for the company’s combined Family Plan, revamping its bundle so that each member of a Family Plan will be given 10GB of data. The two-person plan starts at $100/month, and each additional line will cost $20. The move serves as a way to differentiate T-Mobile from competitors’ similar Family Bundles, as notably Verizon offers a bucket of 10GB that everyone draws from, for $140/month no less.

But while this latest promotion has yet again thrown down the gauntlet for the rest of the mobile market, it also serves as an indication that T-Mobile is starting to phase out its unlimited offerings, as in a much more subdued revelation, the company announced it would be subsequently terminating the two-person unlimited data plan as well.

While the company has promised to retain some form of unlimited data plan for at least two years, it’s clear that T-Mobile is attempting to reign in its wild spending on promotional campaigns and find a way to make all this UnCarrier business sustainable over the long-term. But it never looks nice when yesterday customers could pay $100/month and get unlimited data, when today they pay the same amount and only get 20GB.

“Why share Verizon’s 10 GB with everyone when you can have 10 GB ofAmerica’s fastest 4G LTE all to yourself?” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. The company’s latest move to beef up (and paradoxically pare down) its Family Plan data allotment follows new offerings like free roaming in Canada and Mexico, and its new leasing plan that allows customers to change phones up to three times a year.

With its revamped Family Plan its clear that T-Mobile is getting ready for the Back-to-School gadget craze, one of the key times during the year when families in particular look for ways to control their mobile spending while equipping family members with smartphones. To that end, T-Mobile also announced that any new customer who signs up for three lines on this Family Plan ($120/month); will receive a fourth line at no extra cost. This particular promotional offering will only last until September 7th.

“It’s one of the biggest times of the year as families think about resetting their plans,” Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Sherrard said in an interview.

Now granted the $20 cost for adding additional lines is double what the company previously charged on its Family Plans, the company noted that customers get far more data than before, as the previous option dolled out a measly 1GB to 2.5GB per line.

While this new plan certainly offers an enticing deal for data hungry families, given that previous Family Plans are disappearing it also means that families who don’t use their phones that often may be looking elsewhere for more affordable options.

So with everything in the mobile world, one hand gives while the other takes away. Sure T-Mobile has promised to give families far more data for their money, but really they’ve reduced the data offering by scuttling the unlimited option. Further, by similarly doing away with cheaper Family bundles, customers will now be forced to pay more, whether they need 10GB of data each or not.

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

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