Prepaid carrier MetroPCS Communications is no longer offering a free month of service with the purchase of a new handset. The news broke less than a week after dealers reported major changes were in store for the company’s service plans.
The cancellation of the free month came as the carrier rolled out a set of all-inclusive service plans similar to those of competitor Boost Mobile, whose flat-rate plans already include taxes and other fees.
“We’re simplifying our service plans and eliminating the guesswork associated with regulatory fees and state and local taxes that, in the past, have caused consumers’ monthly bills to fluctuate,” said Roger Linquist, MetroPCS president and CEO, in a statement. “Just as we pioneered no contract, flat-rate and unlimited services, we remain committed to delivering innovative, competitive service plans, a high-quality wireless network and more choices of affordable phones.”
MetroPCS “Wireless for All” plans range from $40 to $60 per month and offer unlimited nationwide talk, text and Web services with all taxes and fees included. Boost Mobile’s $50 monthly unlimited plan also includes all taxes and fees, as well as unlimited nationwide talk, text and Web services. A MetroPCS spokesman denied that the new plans were rolled out to better compete with services offered by Boost despite the plans’ similarity.
MetroPCS also reported a slowdown in its fourth-quarter net subscriber additions despite a reduction in churn to 5.1 percent from 5.3 percent last year. The company added 317,255 new subscribers in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2009, compared with 519,519 net adds during the same period last year.
For the full year 2009, MetroPCS added 1.27 million subscribers compared with 1.4 million in 2008. MetroPCS’ subscriber base now stands at 6.64 million.
The company’s stock fell more than 9 percent in early trading.