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T-Mobile increasingly proving a tease, offering customers "unlimited" data plans and giving them something less. Rumor has it that it's preparing new fees.  (Source:

A leaked document reveals overages coming on Saturday.  (Source: TmoNews)
Overage fees are capped to limit the damage done

Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA is showing creeping signs that it's moving towards its possible new parent company, AT&T Inc. (T), in pricing and allowances.  While T-Mobile continues to offer competitive multi-line plans, some loyal fans have been fearful about a series of erosions to the company's "unlimited" data plans.

i. Bye Bye 200 MB "Unlimited", Hello, Overage!

In recent months "unlimited" was transitioned to a capped plan where T-Mobile did not charge for overages, but throttled data connections past your plans defined MB/GB limit.  Now T-Mobile may be preparing to make an even greater shift, with word leaking that there will be overages on new 200 MB plans, starting August 13.

The 200 MB plan is T-Mobile's most affordable tier, available for a mere $10 USD/month.  Existing customers can continue to use the plan in its current (overage-free) form, at least until their contract expires.

For new subscribers, you will get hit with $0.10 USD/MB fees.  That may seem rather high (AT&T's overage is $10 USD/GB -- or rough $0.01 USD/MB), but T-Mobile has softened the blow, capping the maximum overage at $30 or $35 USD, depending on what kind of line you have.  In other words, customers will likely reach the overage far faster, but won't risk the hundreds of dollars of overages that customers on some other carriers have experienced.

ii. AT&T to Grandfather T-Mobile Users

In related news, an AT&T spokesperson responded to our inquiry regarding how the possible acquisition will affect T-Mobile users' plans.  They stated, "T-Mobile consumers will be able to keep their rate plans for as long as they want to, even when upgrading to a comparable device, once the merger is completed."

We asked what exactly "comparable device" meant.  Our guess was it was based on the type of modem (3G, HSPA+), but it could also mean feature phones versus "smart phones".  The AT&T spokesperson was unsure of the definition and was unable to provide us with this information, so the precise details of the grandfathering scheme are a bit nebulous, even if it is clear there will be such a scheme.

AT&T has the second highest data prices in the industry, behind only Verizon Wireless (VZ).  Ironically their price follows their current size in terms of U.S. subscribers -- Verizon is no. 1 in the country, while AT&T is a close no. 2.  Despite the newly added limitations, T-Mobile's data plans are still cheaper and less restrictive than either of the top two.

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) remains the only carrier to provide truly uncapped and unlimited smart phone data.  It also happens to be in a close competition with T-Mobile for lowest data rates.

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Cellular data
By atlmann10 on 8/11/2011 9:14:20 AM , Rating: 2
As far as it goes this At&t/T-Mobile deal in many ways is an absolute fiasco for the general cellular consumer. The FCC/DOJ have also received more complaints regarding that probability than any other singular event from what I am hearing. However; they have also been bought and paid for to a very large degree from what I see as well so it is most likely an inevitable event.

I know Sprint has been the major complainant as far as companies/corporate interest's go. I don't know though as I know At&t and Verizon controlling all the data backhaul lines is a bad thing. I still don't think you can really even dream of a better marketing campaign.

If the At&t/T-Mobile take over goes through I will be going to Sprint. There is not really much choice carrier wise period in the US on the same spectrum. Oh and I have been an At&t customer in the past, and I dumped Verizon somewhat recently and went to T-Mobile. I also was a Sprint customer for a small amount of time (27 days lol) last October.

At that time I could not use my Wireless N home network as a connection, and I get basically no service with any carrier stably at my house. So we will see what happens, which I am still hoping for the best thing, which is that the FCC/DOJ says no such luck At&t as you don't even need the spectrum or deserve to be a government made cellular monopoly.

With our government now though I doubt that will be the case, not to mention the fact that they have paid off every single state representative (all federals) in the state of Georgia down to our Governor. They have probably done the same for almost every individual here.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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