This is why competition is good for consumers: On the heels of Verizon’s surprise announcement yesterday that it’s bringing back unlimited data options, T-Mobile, refusing to be outdone, boosted its own offering.
Starting on Friday, Feb. 17, T-Mobile will no longer charge its T-Mobile ONE unlimited data subscribers for watching full HD non-throttled video. Existing consumers can change their settings either through the T-Mobile app or website after the change goes live.
T-Mobile is also increasing its cap for free data tethering to 10 GB of data per month, for consumers who want to use their phones as mobile hotspots to connect their other devices to the internet. (After exceeding 10 GB of data, subscribers are throttled to a 3G connection for the rest of the month, rather than charged for overages.)
On top of that, the company is announcing a limited time promotional deal for family plan subscribers with two phone lines: a fixed, all-inclusive bill of $100 a month for both. That’s compared to Verizon’s new offering, which costs $140 for a two-line plan, before any taxes, fees, or surcharges are added.
The timing against Verizon’s new offering is no coincidence, as T-Mobile’s announcement makes painfully clear.
“I don’t blame Verizon for caving. They just lost their network advantage, and they know it … and more importantly, more and more customers know it. Their back’s against the wall,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. “This is what the Un-carrier does—drag the carriers kicking and screaming into the future. Next up, we’re going to force them to include monthly taxes and fees. Mark my words.”
Driving, cutthroat competition between mobile carriers is so far spurring positive change for consumers… and is likely to continue. That’s because the wireless market is, as the money folks say, mature. As Pew research indicates, 15 years ago, barely more than 60% of American adults had some kind of cell phone. But as of late 2016, that number is a whopping 95%.
Carriers are publicly traded businesses that need to show quarterly and annual growth. But that growth can no longer come from finding new adopters, because there isn’t a meaningful pool of those left. Growth, now, can only come from managing to peel subscribers off of other carriers’ networks.
That means that you, the consumer, are now the most valuable commodity the wireless companies have to fight for. And so fight for you they will.