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).
Thank you for pointing out the fine print potential gotcha. I had called T-Mobile the other day to specifically ask if there was any hidden (i.e., fine print) or soft data cap for 4G LTE Tethering, as one example. Like watching Netflix 24/7 via my Apple TV ...
The phone clerk was very emphatic about there being no restrictions or caps. No restrictions whatsoever with the ONE Plus upgrade. Too bad. Either the phone answering folks are uninformed or they misinform intentionally.
At some point, like what AT&T should have done in 2008 - offer more bandwidth and continued unlimited data - instead of retracting those plans, a smart, future looking carrier could put the cable companies out to pasture with true broadband (4G LTE) and no actual or hidden limit on data. No matter what.
I thought T-Mobile was at a breakthrough point. Wrong and better luck next time, I suppose.