T-Mobile sent out invitations for its next Uncarrier announcement, taking place Sept. 10 in San Francisco. As usual, T-Mobile is being cryptic about what Uncarrier 7.0 will be. The invitation only notes that “This time it’s personal.” This will be the first official Uncarrier announcement since late June saw T-Mobile announce a 7-day test drive for its network and the end of data plan charges for streaming music.
The FCC has levied a $819,000 fine against T-Mobile, citing the carriers has for more than two years failed to offer its customers enough hearing aid-compatible digital wireless handsets. Originally spotted by Phone Scoop, the FCC’s complaint against T-Mobile alleges the carrier “willfully and repeatedly” violated the mandate toward carrying hearing aid-compatible phones.
nTelos today launched a promotional single-line plan that pairs unlimited talk and text with 10GB of data for $45 a month. For an extra $10, customers can upgrade to unlimited data. The promotional plans are available to new and existing customers eligible for upgrade. Subscribers have to opt for nTelos’ Equipment Installment Plan (EIP). Device charges for EIP run $35 a month.
T-Mobile today added AccuRadio, Black Planet, Grooveshark, Radio Paradise, Rdio and Songza to the list of streaming music services that won’t affect its customers’ data buckets. The carrier also revealed Google Play Music won its online poll to find another service to exempt. Google’s streaming music service will be added to Music Freedom later this year.
When T-Mobile Simple Choice customers add a tablet to their plan for $10 a month, the carrier says it will now match their smartphone data plan up to 5GB and set it aside for use on the tablet. Beginning Sept. 3, any tablet added gets the LTE data plan match for a limited time as well as the 200MB free per month T-Mobile has previously offered for tablets.
In a post on the carrier's website, Verizon said that "in the coming weeks, Verizon Wireless customers can begin to see what Advanced Calling 1.0 -- HD Voice and Video Calling -- can mean to their wireless experience when tightly integrated with their 4G LTE smartphones."
T-Mobile will begin offering Simple Starter customers an additional 1.5GB of data for an extra $5 a month. Beginning Sept. 3, subscribers opting for T-Mobile’s $40 Simple Starter plan can bump their 500MB cap to 2GB. The limited-time offer is available to new and existing Simple Starter customers and once customers sign up, they get the 2GB cap indefinitely.
Cricket Wireless has joined the current wireless bounty bonanza by offering a $100 bill credit to customers who switch over from T-Mobile or MetroPCS. From August 24 to October 19, customers who switch will get the credit. The promotion is only available for customers coming over from T-Mobile or MetroPCS but there’s no limit on the amount of lines a single customer can switch over and get the credit.
The new Sprint plans are available starting Friday and reward families that need a lot of data. But the company is also keeping an unlimited-data plan that's beneficial for individuals — and competes with a similar T-Mobile offering. Now that most Americans have cellphones, wireless companies have been trying to lure consumers with lower prices.
“Sprint’s new everyday price of $60 a month for unlimited saves customers $480 over two years against T-Mobile’s $80 everyday pricing. And, customers can save $120 over two years versus T-Mobile’s promotional price…and they don’t have to jump through T-Mobile’s hoops and recruit their friends,” Sprint said in a statement.
T-Mobile today announced that customers who “rescue” subscribers from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon will earn one year of free unlimited data from themselves and their friend. Beginning next week, subscribers who port over their number to T-Mobile and an existing T-Mobile subscriber will earn unlimited LTE or, if they already have unlimited data, a $10 monthly credit for 12 months.
In measuring during the first half of the year, RootMetrics found earned an overall score of 71.5 out of 100 and Sprint scored 69.6 out of 100 in the same category. In RootMetrics’ previous report, which covered the second half of 2013, Sprint scored 68.2 and T-Mobile scored 64.3.
Sprint announced the Sprint Family Share Pack, a new set of shared data plans that start at 600MB and reach all the way up to 60GB. Under Sprint’s new offer, four lines with unlimited talk and text plus 20GB costs $160, doubling the data allowance packages with similarly priced plans from AT&T and Verizon.
The new plan, which includes unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data for $60, or $50 if the customer signs up for Verizon’s Edge device financing program. Verizon's 'More Everything' plans include data packages that range from 250MB to 100GB of data that can be shared with up to 10 lines.
Although the discounts are typically less than the subsidies you're forgoing, it's the reverse for plans with at least 10 gigabytes of data. So big families sharing lots of data are probably better off with a full-price plan. That's also the case if you don't need a high-end phone, as the monthly fees for voice, text and data services factor in the costs of subsidizing the most expensive phones.
Sprint next week will start rolling out new “very disruptive” rate plans. Light Reading reports that new Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure held a company-wide call to detail Sprint’s new priorities, with lowering prices being number one. Claure told employees that Sprint is behind in network quality and therefore has to become more competitive on pricing. He promised new rate plans would be “simple and attractive."
T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said the next Uncarrier announcement will come before the end of summer. Speaking at an Oppenheimer conference that was broadcast online, Carter didn’t offer details on what will be “Uncarrier 7.0,” only saying that it is “coming up very quickly.”
T-Mobile is asking the FCC to consider reserving half or more of the 600 MHz spectrum cleared for auction for smaller carriers to bid on. In an FCC filing, T-Mobile said adjusting the spectrum reserve based on different clearing scenarios would “promote robust competition among service providers and ensure the continued vitality of four nationwide providers.”
T-Mobile could soon be bringing its prepaid brands together under one offering called “Simply Prepaid.” In a description of a T-Mobile booth on the CTIA Super Mobility Week website, Simply Prepaid is described as “a new concept that brings together four amazing brands under one roof.” It says further that Simply Prepaid customers will be able to choose from T-Mobile, GoSmart Mobile, Univision Mobile, or Ultra Mobile for their service.
As was reported earlier this month when Claure's appointment was announced, Sprint is backing off a proposed acquistion of T-Mobile. In the memo, Claure said that consolidation makes sense in the long-term but noted that Sprint will have to focus on growing and repositioning Sprint.
Alcatel-Lucent is to deploy a complete 4G LTE overlay network in the Midwestern U.S. states of Oklahoma and Kansas to enable Pioneer Cellular, an affiliate of Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, to offer ultra-broadband mobile access to its customers.
T-Mobile is acquiring 700 MHz licenses from Actel, a subsidiary of CenturyLink. The 12 MHz licenses (698-704 MHz and 728-734 MHz) cover markets in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana and New Mexico. As TmoNews points out, the licenses cover about 6.1 million POPs.
In a press release touting his company’s new dominance in the prepaid space, T-Mobile CEO John Legere voiced the fairly safe assumption that T-Mobile would surpass Sprint in total customers by the end of 2014. “As a matter of fact, I’m going on record—I predict we’ll overtake Sprint in total customers by the end of this year. Not someday. Not next year. This year,” Legere said in a statement.
Lower cellphone bills seem like a good thing for consumers. But T-Mobile and Sprint are already losing money and AT&T's profits are down. (Verizon, as the market leader, is doing fine.) This matters because U.S. wireless carriers invest more in their networks than European companies, and higher profits in the U.S. are a big part of the reason.
Incoming CEO Marcelo Claure will still have his hands full as he looks to reassure investors that Sprint has a plan beyond buying T-Mobile. Already shares of Sprint were down 15 percent Wednesday morning on reports that SoftBank was killing the deal for T-Mobile.