T-Mobile is targeting one of the things Americans hate the most in its latest Un-carrier move: taxes.
In T-Mobile’s humor-laden NEXT announcement made Wednesday at CES, CEO John Legere declared the end of taxes and fees for Un-carrier customers, and debuted a new program to refund customers for their unused data.
“Wireless consumers pay billions extra every year in added surcharges, taxes, monthly fees, and carrier price hikes,” Legere said in a statement. “It’s reached epidemic proportions! And, the carriers just keep inventing new ways to make their customers pay. So, the Un-carrier’s putting an end to it. Today, with Un-carrier Next, we’re laying down New Rules for the Mobile Internet, and with T-Mobile One, we’re creating the first unlimited subscription to the Mobile Internet that works for absolutely everyone.”
From now on, Legere said all taxes and wireless service fees will be included in the advertised price of the T-Mobile One unlimited plan. Building on top of the no-price-shock theme, Legere also said the Un-carrier is instituting a price guarantee on its unlimited plan. That means T-Mobile One customers will get to keep their plan pricing – without being subject to increases – until they decide to change it.
Additionally, Legere introduced KickBack, a new program for T-Mobile One subscribers that will give customers refunds for unused data.
Though it might sound similar to what Google is doing with Project Fi, T-Mobile’s version has limits: Consumers on the unlimited plan will receive up to a $10 credit per line on their next month’s bill when they use 2 GB of data or less in a billing cycle. Special note here, though, for customers wanting to take part that KickBack is an opt-in program. T-Mobile COO Mikle Sievert said KickBack will kick in on January 22 for February’s bill and the first refunds will be distributed in March.
Those with a keen eye will notice that all of the announcements made Wednesday apply to customers on T-Mobile’s unlimited plan – and there’s a good reason for that. Legere said later this month the Un-carrier will stop selling its other plan tiers and T-Mobile One will be the only postpaid consumer plan available. He did note, however, that existing customers will be able to keep their current plans if they want.
“I’m doubling down on this: On January 22 all we will sell is T-Mobile One,” Legere said. “We are the going to force the industry to be more transparent. The era of the bit and byte is over.”
Sievert said customers will still have access to the T-Mobile One Plus upgrade – which offers a bump in video quality – for $15 per month, again with no extra fees. Facing questions about whether the push toward unlimited will alienate customers who would have chosen a Simple Choice plan, Sievert said T-Mobile is confident the flexibility KickBack brings to the One plan will make up the different in price for customers who use less data.
To encourage switchers, Legere also announced a promotion offering a “2nd tax rebate” of $150 per line up to 12 lines for every line switched to T-Mobile One. And that money comes with no strings attached – the usual trade-in or equipment financing requirements don’t apply and customers can spend the “rebate” however they like, Legere said.