T-Mobile has started the process of merging its newly-acquired Sprint customers into its network, killing support for a handful of older phones some customers may still have ahead of the upcoming 2022 legacy network shutdown. Over the last day or two, some Sprint subscribers on specific plans have received notice that they'll be upgraded to improved T-Mobile-inspired plans. Perks of the change include tax-inclusive pricing, extra hotspot data, and a $50 credit if they buy a new device. However, some customers could pay up to $3 more per month under the new plans, and folks that don't want the change can opt out.
A T-Mobile representative tells us these are very specifically not T-Mobile plans, and subscribers are still on the Sprint platform, though they can enjoy T-Mobile-like benefits.
A notice received by a Sprint subscriber regarding the plan change.
The notice being sent to customers via SMS and email and is targeted to subscribers of four specific plans: Unlimited Basic, Unlimited Freedom, Unlimited Kickstart, and Unlimited 55+. The notice directs customers to an FAQ regarding the change that a T-Mobile representative tells us was published on January 5th. Customers on those plans will be upgraded to corresponding tax-inclusive plans. In some cases, that could mean a price increase, up to a maximum of an additional $3 a month, though we are told most customers will either pay around the same or see their prices reduced.
All of these plans are also getting hotspot data adjustments to go with the change, but the quantities vary. Unlimited Basic, Unlimited Kickstart, and Unlimited 55+ customers will get 5GB of hotspot data (up from 500MB, zero, and unlimited 3G, respectively, according to The T-Mo Report), and Unlimited Freedom customers are getting 60GB (up from 50GB). Only in the case of Unlimited 55+ is the change to 5GB a potential downgrade, though I wouldn't wish 3G hotspot speeds on anyone.
On top of that, customers on these plans are also getting a $50 rebate in the form of a prepaid Mastercard if they buy a new device from T-Mobile before the end of July — there are some terms, and you need to register to get it, so check the FAQ. All plans still include unlimited talk and text, as you'd likely expect, plus 5G access. Sprint customers that make the migration may also need to get new SIM cards to enjoy full benefits of the change, according to the FAQ.
These changes kick into gear 35 days after the notification is received, which means up to two billing cycles may pass before customers are migrated. If for any reason customers on those Sprint plans do not want to be "upgraded," they can also opt out during that period or up to 30 days after getting their first bill under the new plan.
Although the section of T-Mobile's FAQ discussing rate plan changes isn't very clear, we're told by a company representative that these plan migrations won't impose any new limits on accounts when it comes to things like video streaming. (For context, some T-Mobile plans place limits on streaming video quality unless you pay more.)
We should also point out that the support page regarding this change also mentions three other plan types: Unlimited Plus, Unlimited Premium, and Unlimited Savings. That could indicate that this offer or one similar to it will extend to more Sprint plans in the future.
A T-Mobile representative informs us that customers with these upgraded plans are still on the Sprint platform, and these are not technically "T-Mobile" plans, merely plans with T-Mobile-like benefits. Our coverage has been corrected.