T-Mobile said they had three big announcements that were going to shake up the wireless industry last week. We already brought you the first two – a new low-cost wireless plan and a year’s worth of free data for new tablets – and the third is no less a cause for rejoicing. T-Mobile is officially doing away with all overage fees, and is putting pressure on its telecom brethren to do the same.
In some respects, overages are easier to do away with now. All of T-Mobile’s monthly plans offer unlimited talk and text, anyway. But, those on older plans are still covered by this change, too. As you might imagine, though, the focus here is on data – when you reach your cap, you’ll simply be dropped down to a lower speed connection, rather than being charged overage fees or cut off completely. If you’re already data-conscious, the news might not help you too much, but this seems to be pretty great for anyone who has been hit with a surprise astronomical wireless bill because data use ended up being higher than anticipated. For family plans in particular, where monitoring data use isn’t easy, this should come as a big relief.
John Legere, the CEO of T-Mobile who has become the face of the company’s rebranding as the ‘uncarrier,’ made the announcement with the bombast and invective that he’s becoming increasingly known for. He (rightly) described exorbitant and inflated overage fees and rates as a ‘greedy, predatory practice’ before stepping up the pressure on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint by starting a petition on Change.org to ask those three carriers to follow T-Mobile’s lead. It’s a nice bit of gamesmanship from Legere, who has been pushing hard for new subscribers and been succeeding by painting his competitors as unfriendly to consumers. Hard to argue with that, especially when T-Mobile has given potential customers an awful lot of genuinely compelling reasons to switch over the past year.