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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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Gotta love America
By bill4 on 8/12/2011 1:57:25 AM , Rating: 1
The world going to hell and the biggest thing by far fat lazy americans bitch about is the phone company. Phone companies that give amazing service for great prices.

That's because most Americans are communists and trained to attack corporations rather than the liberals taking over...oh no, ATT charges me a few bucks if I go over a really high, extremely reasonable data cap, that's way more important than Obama raising the deficit by 4 trillion and taking away all my freedoms.

Why dont we just turn all phone service over to the govt so you stupid people will stop bitching. Then you can all pay $500 a month to Obama and like it. Isn't that what this constant phone company bashing that occupies at least half the internet is really about? American communists?

Oh no, ATT charges me $67 a month, AND DARES TO CHARGE ME IF I GO OVER TWO GIGABYTES OF DATA. Life just isn't worth living in this hell.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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