T-Mobile on Wednesday rolled out a new “Smart Fit” plan to help new customers gauge how much data they use each month.
The $65 plan offers customers 30 days of unlimited talk, text and data, plus up to 14 GB of tethering. During the plan period, T-Mobile said it will keep track of how much data customers use and issue a recommendation at the end of the term for which Simple Choice plan best fits the customer’s needs.
At the end of 30 days, users can choose to either accept T-Mobile’s recommendation or be enrolled by default into the Un-carrier’s 6 GB high-speed data plan. However, if customers decide to switch their plans during the 30 day trial, they will lose their unlimited data allowance and won’t receive T-Mobile’s recommendation.
The move comes as T-Mobile continues its attempts to woo switcher customers, with the Smart Fit plan meant to ease customer concerns around switching from a competitor’s data plan to a new plan structure.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that the inclusion of unlimited data in the trial period likely means customers will be less careful about how much time they spend browsing the web and scrolling through social media on their device, and will use more data than they might otherwise. It’s the same setup as the shampoo bottle principle: you use more shampoo when the bottle is full, but become more judicious with your dollops as the supply becomes increasingly limited.
By extension, this means user recommendations from T-Mobile might be for higher plans than the customers actually need.
For example, a customer who regularly and comfortably used Cricket’s 5 GB prepaid plan might go the extra mile and use 8 GB of data in the Smart Fit trial period.
T-Mobile didn’t lay out the methodology for its recommendations on the Smart Fit site. However, a T-Mobile spokesman on Thursday said the carrier will take a balanced approach in making its recommendations – suggesting higher plans past the midway point in between its 2 GB, 6 GB, 10 GB and unlimited tiers, and lower plans for usage below the midway point. So, a customer who uses 3GB of data may be recommended for T-Mobile’s 2 GB plan and a customer who uses 4 GB of data may be told they’re better off with the 6 GB plan.
In our example, the 5 GB Cricket switcher who used 8 GB of Smart Fit’s unlimited data would receive a recommendation for the Un-carrier’s 10 GB data plan.
This means instead of ending up on T-Mobile’s 6 GB plan for $65 per month as they might have without the Smart Fit Plan, then, that customer could end up paying $80 per month if they take T-Mobile’s recommendation.
Here, it bears saying that T-Mobile’s intentions could be entirely altruistic, but then again…maybe not.
One last interesting item to note is that T-Mobile also appears to be borrowing a page from Verizon’s playbook for once.
Back in February when Verizon was fending off demand for it to roll out an unlimited plan, Verizon Executive Vice President of Wireless Operations David Small said the carrier would do no such thing.
Why? Because, as Small said, Verizon believed it was better to educate customers about their actual usage patterns than to let them jump on a more expensive unlimited plan they might not need.
“I think at times consumers also tend to not fully understand exactly what their consumption patterns are,” Small said. “So we work to help them understand that unlimited isn’t necessarily the right thing for them.
Sounds a little bit like Smart Fit, no?