Watching T-Mobile Raise Prices

by Colin Berkshire

Watching T-Mobile is always fun. They are the only US cellular company that seems at all creative. They drop prices, extend service, and offer things that no other carrier does. They are just a hoot to watch.

In the past few months I have observed that T-Mobile has been steadily raising its prices. Have you noticed?

You used to be able to get 4 lines with 10 GB each for $100. In mid-October the deal worsened to 4 lines with 10 gigabytes for $120, a 20% increase. Now, in mid-November they are raising prices again to $120 for 4 lines but only give you 6 GB of data. Oh, and they also apply a cap on your data state (rollover) that wasn’t there before.

What they do that is especially clever is they always give you something when they take away more. Everybody focuses on the freebies. They seem to miss the price increases.

In mid-November they give you free streaming to popular video sites such as Netflix and Hulu. Streaming from these sites doesn’t count against your data allowance. But this is only true at “DVD” quality, which is to say not at HD quality. At DVD quality it takes a fair amount of video watching to consume the 4 GB that they take away from you. I’ll bet they have done the math and the average consumer will use less than 4GB of streaming, meaning the new deal is a net loss, or price increase.

T-Mobile maps advertise that you get all of North America as their coverage area (they recently added Canada and Mexico) but this doesn’t mean you are going to get Idaho, Montana , Wyoming or other low-population states. They color those ones magenta only by giving you a worthless 50-MEGAbytes, which is about zero. That’s a terrible gimmick most probably don’t understand until they are stranded.

T-Mobile is smart. Count your fingers after shaking their hand.