Print 15 comment(s) - last by Jeffk464.. on Aug 23 at 12:53 AM

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:]

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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By uallas5 on 8/22/2012 2:07:41 PM , Rating: 3
Plus, unlike Sprint users, who enjoy uncapped connections

As an unfortunate Sprint customer (through work) I object to this statement. Why on earth would Sprint "throttle" an already abysmally slow 3G connection? I won't even mention 4G since I very rarely see a 4G signal, and I work 20mins west of Boston.

RE: misleading
By immortalsly on 8/22/2012 4:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, Sprint's WiMax 4G kinda sucks. On the rare occasion that I'm able to get it if I stand outdoors, its speed is about 4-8mbps. A co-worker who just got a TMO phone free on contract and we ran some tests. She easily gets 8-10mbps on HSPA+ while I lag along at 4mbps. Even at full bars and standing outside I have not ever gotten above 10mbps. (At 3G, my speed is 500-800kbps). So the advantages of "true 4G" doesn't seem to pan out.

I've been staying with Sprint off-contract because I like the fact that their plan is unlimited. I only use 1-2GB/month but I like having that unlimited cushion. I think it's time to consider switching to TMO.

RE: misleading
By Samus on 8/22/2012 5:03:42 PM , Rating: 3
I'll chime in being a recent T-mobile to Ting switchee (Ting is a Sprint MVNO)

I hated T-mobile, but if there was anything to like, it was the HSPA+ data connection. It was ridiculously fast. Faster than anything Ting/Sprint offer, 3G or WiMax.

The real benifit of T-mobile's HSPA+ is the simplicity. It's 3G and this is a good thing. 3G is simple, has improved battery life, is rolled out globally (go to Europe, Mexico or South America and see how well your LTE works)

It's ironic T-Mobile, as unprofessional as they are, is truely the best business-oriented carrier for travelers. No other carrier offers you the ability to travel from Chicago to China without changing a SIM and still getting HSPA+ speed and reliability.

The other thing nobody talks about is battery life. 3G is so mature and simple that it offers far superior battery life than anything LTE/WiMax ever will.

Sure, HSPA+ still has 100ms+ pings, but unless your playing Battlefield 3 over a cellular connection, who cares?

RE: misleading
By Jeffk464 on 8/23/2012 12:50:23 AM , Rating: 2
I have unlimited verizon 4G LTE so take that. :) Only problem is I have to make damn sure they don't update me to a new plan.

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