T-Mobile introduced a whirlwind of changes last year as it rebranded itself as the "Un-carrier," with perhaps its most substantial shift being the decision to forgo annual contracts, breaking away from a long-standing practice among carriers in the US. Now the company is doing away with another perpetual mobile pain in the rear by eradicating its domestic overage charges. This applies regardless of whether you're on a Simple Choice plan, the new Simple Starter, or an older plan - and it will take place starting in May, with those bills arriving in June.
CEO John Legere, not one to shy away from making grand gestures, has taken to Change.org with a petition calling on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon to abolish their overage charges as well.
This announcement follows two days of preceding ones last week, starting with the unveiling of a new $40 "Simple Starter" plan with unlimited talk/text and 500MB of data. T-Mobile came back the next day with Operation Tablet Freedom, offering LTE tablets for the price of their Wi-Fi variants. The company then paused on Friday for the global launch of the Galaxy S5 and its personal launch of its HTC One M8.
See the full press release for today's announcement below.
T-Mobile Abolishes Consumer Overages, Challenges Other Wireless Providers to Follow Suit
Legere Starts Petition for Consumers to Call on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to End Overages
BELLEVUE, Wash. – April 14, 2014 – T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) today shifted the national conversation on wireless to a new level, unveiling its latest Un-carrier move – a campaign to eliminate overage penalties, one of the most reviled wireless industry practices. While abolishing overages for all customers on T-Mobile consumer plans, its CEO has also laid down a challenge to the nation’s largest carriers, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, to do the same.
More than 20 million Americans were hit with punitive overage charges in 2013. And these penalties from the three largest U.S. carriers take more than an incredible $1 billion out of consumers’ pockets every year.
“Today I’m laying down a challenge to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to join T-Mobile in ending these outrageous overage penalties for all consumers – because it’s the right thing to do,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “Overage fees are flat out wrong. Agree with me? Join me in putting this challenge to all the major national carriers by signing my petition on Change.org. Right here. Take one minute to be a part of this consumer movement.”
Last year, T-Mobile banished annual service contracts and began phasing out overage charges with the launch of Simple Choice. T-Mobile’s stance against annual service contracts is now well known by consumers, and today it's taking on the even more unpopular and unjustified practice of slamming consumers with surprise bills in the form of overages charges.
“Charging overage fees is a greedy, predatory practice that needs to go,” continued Legere. “Starting in May for bills arriving in June – regardless of whether you’re on Simple Choice, Simple Starter or an older plan, we’re abolishing overages for good. Period.”
Traditional carriers’ entry-level plans lure customers in with a low monthly fee for a fixed amount of domestic minutes, texts or data. Once consumers go over those limits – even by a little – they’re hit with much higher rates, often dramatically higher. These plans are purpose-built to drive customers over that invisible line into massive overage charges. The result has been a culture of fear, worry and surprise every time the wireless bill arrives. For example, an individual on AT&Ts entry-level plan, advertised at $45 per month, will pay $125 if he uses just the average amount of data for a U.S. smartphone user (1.5 GB per person).
“The worst thing about these overage fees is that they’re often inflicted on those who can least afford them,” added Legere. “As an advocate for consumers, we’re putting a stop to that. I personally won’t be satisfied until we obliterate this shameful practice from the entire wireless industry.”
To give a voice to U.S. wireless consumers, Legere has started an online petition atChange.org/AbolishOverages calling on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to end overages. You are invited to sign the petition and add your voice to the growing movement to rid the wireless industry of domestic overages once and for all.