T-Mobile’s ‘uncarrier’ event: What to expect


A T-Mobile store is seen at 7th Avenue and 49th Street on March 23, 2012 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/GETTY IMAGES)
March 26, 2013

T-Mobile hasn’t been terribly secretive about its future plans to completely retool its approach to being a wireless company, but at a Tuesday news conference the carrier is expected to give more details about its new month-to-month plans and decision to stop discounting the price of phones.

The company gave consumers an early look at its plans Sunday, whenit posted new calling plans that do away with the industry norm of two-year contracts and subsidized phones — a practice that leaves carriers paying the difference, for example, between the $649 Apple charges for the iPhone 5 and the $199 that most customers pay for it.

Instead, T-Mobile is offering month-to-month plans and charging customers the full price of a phone either upfront or on an installment plan. Once the device is paid off, users pay only for their month-to-month data service.

The plans give users a few data options. All the plans are “unlimited” in that they don’t charge overage fees, but the company will throttle back the speed at specific data limits. For example, a completely unlimited plan will cost $70 per month, while a data plan that lets you use 2.5 GB of data before slowing down will cost $60 a month. For $50 a month, you get 500 MB before data speed slows down. All the plans offer unlimited talk time and text messaging.

The company also is expected to offer updates on the rollout of its 4G LTE high-speed network, which the company has devoted a lot of resources to building out. Last week, T-Mobile announced that it would be adding 4G LTE capabilities to the Galaxy Note 2 in eligible areas; the BlackBerry Z10 also will have LTE capability.

And there is some speculation that the company will finally detail its plans for filling a long-standing gap in its product line-up — namely Apple devices. T-Mobile said last year that it would begin offering Apple products such as the iPhone this year. CNET noted that there’s an “off-chance” that full announcement will come Tuesday, though it’s possible that T-Mobile would want to save such big news for its own event.

The company also could provide updates on its proposed merger with MetroPCS, having received final regulatory blessing for the deal last week. MetroPCS shareholders still have to approve the deal in a vote scheduled for April 12.

Related stories:

T-Mobile USA gets rid of 2-year contracts, introduces ‘installment plans’ for phone buyers

FCC approves T-Mobile merger with MetroPCS

T-Mobile to offer Apple products next year

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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