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T-Mobile has opened up a true all-you-can-eat data buffet.  (Source: The Northwestern Flipside)
New plan is between the cost of the previous 2 GB and 5 GB capped plan

T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE), is one of only two carriers in America to claim to offer "unlimited" 4G data.  But that offer comes with substantial exceptions. Unlike Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) users, T-Mobile customers only have access to HSPA+ -- a "3.5G" or "advanced 3G" tech that T-Mobile rebranded "4G" as a marketing gimmick.  Plus, unlike Sprint users, who enjoy uncapped connections, T-Mobile USA users with unlimited data have their connections throttled after using more that 2 GB of data.

A new deal from T-Mobile USA promises to change that.  Announced yesterday, T-Mobile USA will be offering a "truly Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan" for $20 USD per month on Value plans and $30 USD per month on Family plans.

That rate is (roughly) midway between the current rates that T-Mobile USA charges for its capped 2 GB and 5 GB connections.  For some users who use 2 GB or less per month, it may make more sense to stick with a throttled $25 USD per month 2 GB Family data plan, assuming T-Mobile allows it.  Presumably the more expensive (5 GB and up) capped plans will disappear, with this new option.

A quick refresher on what the "Value" plan is and why it's cheaper: T-Mobile USA in March unveiled a push to get customers to buy their own (unsubsidized) phones, in exchange for cheaper plans.  That's generally the model used in Europe, whence T-Mobile USA's parent company hails.  However, it is generally not used in the U.S. market, where subsidized handsets and more expensive plans are the norm.  

In order to try to push its users to "go European" and buy into the Value plan, T-Mobile USA bumped its Family plan data rates by $5 USD at each tier.

T-Mobile Dushku
The new rates continue T-Mobile USA's push to get customers to "go European" and buy a Value plan.
[Image Source: Whedon.info]

In late June, T-Mobile USA offered up new broadband plans for businesses.

All of these options and flexibility are good news for customers.  But they fail to fix some of the lower level underlying issues afflicting T-Mobile USA.  Among these issues is the lack of a true "4G" network -- an LTE data network.  With Sprint's recent LTE launch, T-Mobile USA is the only carrier to leave customers in the dark in terms of true 4G service.  While its 3G speeds are excellent, lack of LTE is a serious obstacle for the cash-strapped carrier.

The company has been languishing of late under a run of deep losses -- both of the fiscal and customer variety.  Most recently 1,900 employees were laid off.  Amid that poor performance the unit's chief executive resigned, jumping ship to become chief executive at rival Vodafone Group plc.'s (LON:VOD) European unit .

Source: T-Mobile USA



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I'm not sure I care about "true" 4g
By mocyd on 8/22/2012 1:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
Currently I use a T-Mobile G2- my experiences:

Aside from the fact that it's an older phone, connectivity is still lightning fast. I stick with the phone because it offer built-in tethering free (no payments to carriers or "enhanced data plans) and because I like a flip-out keyboard.

In the Seattle Metro area, I usually hit 10 Mbps. I routinely tether multiple devices (laptop + iPad) and work while streaming video over Hulu and Netflix without issue. I've also done this in NYC, Orange County, and Palm Beach.

So until streaming video becomes fatter, or I download more ISO's from Microsoft's EA site, or full version games; I honestly don't know why I need true "4g" on my phone, especially when I beat the average household connection by a factor of 2.




By name99 on 8/22/2012 4:19:22 PM , Rating: 4
Ignore twits like Jason who go on and on about "true" 4G.
The only difference between HSPA+ and LTE is that one is based on WCDMA and one is based on OFDM. OFDM is somewhat superior technology, but it's 20% improvement superior, not OMG superior.
The primary value in OFDM is the flexibility it brings to future operations, including notching out narrow band interference, supporting a range of frequency bandwidths, and allowing for smart scheduling that targets optimal frequency sub-bands at the appropriate users. All good stuff, but none of it really implemented yet.

The bottom line is: you can go read about the technology that powers both HSPA+ and LTE (the 4GAmericas website is a good start) or you can trust the opinions of Jason who, as far as I can see, couldn't tell you the difference between WCDMA and OFDM, or explain any of the other COMMON technology between HSPA+ and LTE.


By Jeffk464 on 8/23/2012 12:53:23 AM , Rating: 2
I think verizon just lost a lawsuit over banning tethering. Pretty sure all carriers will have to allow it, net neutrality stuff. Carriers will only be allowed to cap or throttle.


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