[Opinion] The art of the money grab

[Opinion] The art of the money grab
I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for a couple of years now, and overall I’ve been pretty happy with their service. Crucially, the plan has unlimited data with a ‘fair usage policy’ – which turned out to be 500MB.

Naturally, being a blogger, I go over that limit within a few days of each new month and receive a text message informing me that my data from now on will be ‘restricted’. This is an arrangement that I’m fairly happy with, considering what I pay for the contract (despite the fact that it was advertised as unlimited).
So, as per usual, this month I received my text informing me about my data usage. It was slightly different from usual:

[Opinion] The art of the money grab

I’d like you all to focus on the last part of the text:

We will soon give you the ability to purchase internet boosters to enable you continue to stream and download until your new allowance starts

It turns out that T-Mobile will soon want me to pay to use my data allowance I’ve already paid for. I understand that mobile networks need to find new ways to make money – from being squeezed on EU roaming charges to consumers wanting more for their money, the networks have to find ever-more ways of raising more money to fund infrastructure upgrades and reward shareholders. However, in my eyes this policy goes too far, especially considering that the plan was originally advertised as unlimited.

Does this new plan go too far, or do you think it offers a reasonable deal for data-impoverished users? Let us know.

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  • buff69

    They should stop using the word “unlimited” when it isn’t they should tell customer’s the real data allowance they will be getting. To call 500mb unlimited is a real joke.unlimited should be unlimited.

    • Gears

      Very good point. I’m SO TIRED of the word “unlimited” becoming diluted and twisted into a “marketing” word instead of keeping it’s real and true meaning.

    • What’s really crazy is the only truly unlimited package out there (AYCE), can’t be called unlimited!! Not least because that term has been brought into disrepute by the other networks (and broadband providers, and generally marketing companies everywhere!)

    • tmjmavery

      Honestly, it says right on their brochure that the data on the $50 plan is only 500mb of high speed. That isn’t deceptive, it’s right there. Pay twenty dollars more a month and you have a TRUE unlimited data package with no slow down. That’s cheaper than any other of the big four!

      • Martin

        You are confusing the US plan with the UK plan that is being talked about here.

  • Dave

    They do no stop your network connectivity at 500MB nor do they charge you once you pass it. Streaming is restricted but you are still unlimited in everything else, as per the t&cs you agreed to. What’s the problem? I actually think this is by far and away the best way to keep things under control (putting Three’s AYCE aside). Do what you want until you hit a threshold and then you just can’t stream. End of.

    I’ve been with T-Mobile a fair while and I’m a heavy data user. I had a right go at the CS agent when they changed their data tariffs but I have had no impact on my data or charging since. Nothing. Nada.

    As for your post, it seems the only thing changing is you now have the option of turning that streaming back on before your billing cycle hits. Which, for those who want it, must be a good thing!

    • That is a valid point, it does offer the convenience to some users. If they are going to restrict certain types of data usage after 500MB though, then it is hardly ‘unlimited’ in the literal sense of the word and should not have been advertised as such IMHO.

  • Ken

    I had the same problem – never had a problem with T-Mobile in the past: now they’re sending me these messages. When I signed up, the FUP on this plan was 3GB/month. Now they’re saying it’s 500MB. The other thing that’s annoying is T-Mobile CS can’t tell you how much data you’ve used or how much you have left.

    • tmjmavery

      T-Mobile has never had a 3GGB data plan…

  • tmjmavery

    I think you misunderstand the way T-Mobile plans are designed to work. T-Mobile had an unlimited high speed package, but you’re not paying for that one, you’re paying for the cheapest one. Why complain about not getting unlimited high speed if you’re not willing to pay for it? No one else offers what T-Mobile offers right now, the pricing is awesome.

    • I’ve just seen your other comment – to clarify, this is T-Mobile UK I’m talking about here, not T-Mobile US. We don’t have an unlimited high speed package branded as T-Mobile here in the UK (4G is marketed under a brand called EE over here with a comparatively hefty markup). I’m in favour of T-Mobile (US) Jump, and it’ll be interesting to see how the US mobile telecoms market evolves over the next couple of months.

  • nick

    I’m not a T-Mobile user so don’t know the answer to this: Are they advertising as unlimited data or unlimited browsing and email?

    If its unlimited data with an asterisk saying that only certain types of data are unlimited but others aren’t, that would be illogical as data is data when transmitted over a connection, its a bunch of packets.

    Glad I’m not on T-Mobile or Orange. I’ve rarely if ever heard anything good from my contacts about them.

    • When I took out the plan, it was advertised as unlimited data (with the caveat of Fair Usage Policy applies). To be fair to T-Mobile, their service has been spot on (despite attempting to charge me double every time the contract rolls over).