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T-Mobile Tweaks T-Mobile ONE

When T-Mobile announced its “unlimited” T-Mobile ONE plan, many outlets, including TidBITS (see “T-Mobile and Sprint Announce Unlimited Data (for Higher Prices),” 19 August 2016), complained that for most users, T-Mobile ONE would effectively be a price increase. Just days before launch, T-Mobile announced some changes to T-Mobile ONE to ease concerns.

When first announced, tethering on T-Mobile ONE was limited to 2G speeds — 5 GB of high-speed data would have cost $15 per month. Now, all T-Mobile ONE customers will get unlimited 3G tethering at no extra charge.

T-Mobile ONE is limited to SD video streaming unless you pay an additional fee. Originally, that HD streaming fee was to be $25 per month. Now, T-Mobile has added a $3 Day Pass that grants HD streaming for 24 hours.

Perhaps the biggest change is the introduction of T-Mobile ONE Plus, which replaces the previously announced $25-per-month HD video fee. For $25 per month per line, T-Mobile ONE Plus includes unlimited HD Day Passes, “unlimited” 4G LTE tethering, and 2x faster data speeds abroad.

Of course, there are catches to T-Mobile ONE Plus. T-Mobile says in the fine print that customers who use more than 26 GB per month must use that data mostly with a smartphone or tablet. There are no specific penalties for using too much data while tethering, but T-Mobile says you might get a call if you’re a heavy user. Also, T-Mobile says that it will prioritize smartphone and tablet data over hotspot data.

Finally, T-Mobile ONE availability was moved up, from 6 September 2016 to 1 September 2016.

To address customer concerns about the price going up, T-Mobile also emphasized in its press release that existing customers can keep the plans they have for as long as they wish.

Some have complained that T-Mobile’s changes further complicate the company’s “simple” plans, but I applaud T-Mobile’s attempt to respond to complaints. Bundling HD streaming and high-speed tethering in one package does make things a bit simpler.

However, after an industry-wide trend of simplifying mobile plans, it’s frustrating to see a move back toward basic plans with complicated add-ons, such as T-Mobile ONE Plus and the $15 Safety Mode on lower-tier Verizon data plans (see “Verizon Wireless Offers More Data for More Money,” 7 July 2016).

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