It seems like every time a company sends out an invitation to an event or is set to announce a new product, rumors begin to surface and swirl around the interwebs, which can make it difficult for consumers to discern exactly what is fact and what is fiction.
This time around, it was T-Mobile’s invitation to its latest event that pushed the rumor mill into full gear. Here is all that we know for sure, concerning the event: The event is slated for March 26 in New York City and invitations were sent out with the tag-line “We’re still a wireless company, we’re just not going to act like one anymore.”
No one knows what T-Mobile is going to unveil at the event, but rumors suggest the company could announce a date for when it will officially move solely to its “value plan” structure, flip the switch on its LTE network, officially announce the completion of the merger with MetroPCS or, perhaps, all three.
In advance of the event, TechnologyGuide is here to shine some light on the rumors and separate the facts from the rumors.
What Else We Know
During a presentation to analysts in December, T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced that the company would be changing its current pricing plans and shifting entirely to the “value plan” model it presently offers, sometime in 2013. The current value plans offer users data plans without an annual or two-year contract, while completely eliminating phone subsidies.
Most other carriers require you to sign on for a year or two, and in return, offer a steep discount on hardware. That\’s why a new iPhone only costs $200 with a two-year contract from Verizon, but retails for $650 without a contract.
Additionally, T-Mobile recently announced it will activate its LTE network in its first LTE-enabled regions by the end of this month.
The company also recently announced the proposed merger with MetroPCS has officially been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
What We Think We Know
Engadget leaked a photo that appears to show pricing options for the “UNcarrier classics” plans with data plans that start at $60 for 500MB of data and go up to $130 for 12GB. Those plans include unlimited talk, text and HD voice and Smartphone Mobile HotSpot. The unlimited data plan comes in at $90 a month, but doesn’t include the Smartphone Mobile HotSpot capability. Compared against the competition, T-Mobile could save customers approximately $10 to $20 per month. But remember, customers will have to pay full price for their devices.
TMoNews reported the uncarrier classics plans will only be available for national retailers like Best Buy and Target, and that T-Mobile would continue to sell its “value plan” options in its dedicated retail stores.
What This all Means
When T-Mobile does officially move over to a pricing model that completely eliminates annual contracts, it will be the first major U.S. wireless carrier to do so.
Users should also be able to upgrade their devices whenever they want. However, T-Mobile is also dropping all subsidies, which means sticker shock for consumers, with higher upfront prices for popular devices.
However, Legere suggested in the analyst presentation in December that the company could offer installment plans where users would pay as little as $99 upfront and add $25-$30 onto their monthly bill until the device is paid off. The @EVLeaks twitter account recently tweeted a photo with text from what appeared to be from a consumer-facing webpage, which also suggests this to be true.
Should all the rumors turn out to be true, consumers have a pretty good idea of what T-Mobile’s move to monthly plans will look like and what its implications may be. However, there are some questions that remain, like what happens to customers who currently have annual contracts with T-Mobile. Tuesday’s event should clear things up and answer the remaining questions, assuming the company actually makes any of the rumored announcements.