updated 12:05 pm EDT, Sun October 25, 2009
Even More Plus plans beat AT&T by $30
T-Mobile on Sunday quietly launched its Even More Plus plans in a bid to undermine rival US carriers. The plans provide a simpler and potentially less costly approach to phone service and scale linearly in voice minutes and data features: users pick from 500, 1,000 or unlimited US voice minutes and can add either unlimited messaging alone or messaging plus data. Prices as a result range from as little as $30 for voice only to $80 for an all-unlimited plan.
Device pricing has also been inverted compared to the typical American approach: subscribers aren't asked to sign a contract by default and only have to do so if they prefer a subsidized price. Although not fully confirmed by the product pages, it's believed T-Mobile will let customers pay the full price of a phone over as many as four instalments.
The strategy is aggressive and contrasts sharply with other high-end plans from other carriers, particularly T-Mobile's only GSM-based rival, AT&T. A starter smartphone-class plan at T-Mobile with 500 minutes and unlimited data costs $60 per month versus AT&T's minimum $70, which unlike T-Mobile's also excludes any messaging; adding unlimited messaging brings AT&T's plan up to $90 for similar features. Sprint comes closest with a $70 plan that brings 450 minutes and similar features, but Verizon asks $100 for 450 minutes and the combined unlimited data and messaging features.
T-Mobile's approach is combined with a new push into Android smartphones like the Motorola Cliq and Samsung Behold II and is counting on lowering the actual, long-term cost of owning a desirable smartphone to lure away competitors and move past its fourth-place standing among US providers. The $30 difference in plans would amount to $720 saved over the span of two years, or more than enough to offset the full price of most smartphones.