T-Mobile ditches cellphone contracts

Cyrus Farivar: "T-Mobile's offering, dubbed “Simple Choice,” makes the company the first of the big four US-based carriers to drop one-year or two-year contracts in favor of purely month-to-month-based arrangements. T-Mobile outlined the new plan on its website Monday."


  1. I like it. I like the trash talking of their new CEO. He’s got swagger. If they can continue to build out the network to level with Verizon and AT&T, more power to them. 

      1. How about Steve Jobs? Its public bluster. Jobs was private bluster. Curse words only have the meaning and impact we assign them. If you have a penchant for saying “bullshit” and “fuck” a lot it has little bearing on your skills as CEO… but it does at least make you look like a mean prick heading into a negotiation.

      2. Of my various bosses, the ones who swore like fishwives were always the easiest ones to deal with.

  2. This is pretty cool, actually. It wasn’t too long ago (like maybe a month or two?) that I was reading an article about how the US market was doomed to be stuck with the horrible contract system forever because it was a kind of prisoner’s dilemma. 

  3. It’s good to see T-Mobile ditching the whole contract culture. Hopefully other companies follow suit!

    1. I recently signed up with Virgin Mobile since it was no contract and 1/2 the price of my Sprint plan and it’s still unlimited data/text.  The crazy thing is Virgin is leasing the Sprint network… so I’m getting the same coverage at 1/2 the price.

      1. I’ve used Virgin Mobile for almost 2 years now. They aren’t perfect, but they are inexpensive, and I am not tied down to them. I switched to month to month service about 4 years ago, first with Verizon, now Virgin Mobile. I love it, and I can’t see anything that would make me want to go back to a contract.

        1. Can’t blame ya there. Virgin was really good for me. But now that i’m with T-Mobile with this no contract subject, it’s working out great for me!

      2. I actually had Virgin Mobile, it was actually pretty good! However, the selection of their phones wasn’t the best, which is why I switched over to T-Mobile

  4. Does this mean my $30 a month, 100 minutes talk, unlimited text, and 5gb 4G data is going away? Because that deal is the absolute best. 

    1.  I know. When we signed up for AT&T, 700 minutes /month was the smallest plan we could get, so we have well over 5000 minutes in our rollover bank that we’ll never use.

    2. I just signed up for this last week. Best deal around, especially when you rarely talk on the phone like me.

    1. I believe that tmobile separates the phone subsidy from the phone bill, at least with some of their plans (and I would assume this one) so you can still finance your phone if you want but do it explicitly (as is common in europe I believe).

    2. I’m OK with it. My family plan is 2 smart phones and 3 regular phones.  Compared to Verizon, I’d be saving almost $60 a month.  That’s $720 a year that I could spend on non subsidized phones, which means I can replace one smart phone a year and leave me with +$120 if the top line smart phones are $600.  Replacing all 3 regular phones every 3 years, and that leaves me at breaking even.  I just need to keep a smart phone for more then 2 years or a non-smart phone for more then 3 (which is easy since my mom’s had the same phone for about 6 already). I’d probably say I’m looking at the savings of one month’s bill every year buying the phones outright.  (assuming I don’t buy used/refurbished phones, in which case I’ll save even more)

      Now if only their service was as good…  

      It’s a step in the right direction and they can easily become #2 for providers.  I would bet though that either AT&T or Verizon follow suit gets all the subscribers from the other big company that doesn’t change, jumping ship once their contract is up.

    3. The deal I saw mentioned was that you’ll pay $99 up front for a smartphone like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 4, and then finance the rest at $20/mo for 24 months.  That’s just for the phone, of course.  Actual cellular service fees are separate.  The phone will be carrier-locked until it is paid off, after which you can unlock it.

      So you’re basically paying $580, (about retail price) for the phone.  Whether that’s a deal depends on how much cheaper T-Mobile’s non-subsidized plans are.  If they’re $20 or more cheaper, or if you go more that 2 years between phones, it could work out well.

      The biggest concern I have is that their LTE coverage considerably lags behind AT&T and Verizon, though they are making some efforts at improving that.

      Interestingly, I think if the other carriers adopt this, the biggest losers will be the phone manufacturers, because if people have to start thinking about paying for phone upgrades, instead of feeling entitled to them, they will likely upgrade less often.

  5. I think tmobile has had month to month smartphone plans for at least a year which didn’t require you to buy a phone from them.  Back when I bought mine it was them or straight talk, went with straight talk because tmobile had no signal at my workplace.

    I believe that the vast majority of smartphone users use less than 2gb/mo anyway, so its a very useful pricepoint.  The easiest way to get over 2gb is to stream a lot of music or not very much video, but lots of people do very little of those.  Also in previous plans tmobile’s overage policy was very reasonable.  Like $10 per additional gb, so even if you went over by almost a gb every month you wouldn’t actually pay more than buying the next larger plan and unless you managed to go waaay over you wouldn’t have a huge bill before you could upgrade your plan (and given network speeds and battery life it isn’t easy to go waaay over).

    Really this sounds like a quite reasonable setup.  Definately competitive with StraightTalk, same price for 2 lines, cheaper for more.  Seems like the main question is if you want tmobile speed (4g) or att network ubiquity (straightTalk gsm is att network).

    1. I wonder about tethering.  That is something I would like to use rarely, but is usually quite expensive as an add on.

  6. They’re on my shit list. They discontinued the perfect basic teen plan that my son has, and I wanted for my daughter, $0.10/ min prepaid calls with a $15/mo unlimited text add on. It’s not like they weren’t making money on the text plan, since text costs nearly nothing! No, they just weren’t making the insane amount other providers do.

    1. That /was/ a great plan. Had it for my teenage daughter for a year or so before I moved her up to a smart phone.

      But tmobile is on your shit list for dropping this plan? You must feel really angry about the other carriers who never offered anything close to it at all. :-)

      1. Yes, I do!  The whole wireless/broadband communications industry is incredibly user unfriendly.  The rapacious pricing of texts, a virtually free product to provide, perfectly illustrates this. But I hate the Comcast/Verizon duopoly just as much as they compete fiercely in ads, but not in pricing. Where is true broadband for <$30 as they have elsewhere in the world?

  7. Thank you! I saw this, and I’m already a T-mobile customer and needed to redo my plan, but did NOT want another 2-year contract. Now I have my bill lowered by about 40 dollars, no longer have to keep up with minutes, got an unneeded line disconnected, and no contract! 

  8. If you’ve got an iPhone 4/4S, can you get 3G yet on T-Mobile? I know they’ve been rolling it out but I’ve got no idea how complete it is. 

    1. I spent some time yesterday looking at their coverage map for the Baltimore/DC metro area and heir “”3G/4G” coverage showed lots of “satisfactory”, with some “good” and less “excellent”, concentrated mainly around the highways and more urban areas.  I didn’t see any area rated worse than “satisfactory” or without service.  They made no distinctions between 3G and 4G, though, and nothing about their new LTE coverage.

      So I’d guess that for just 3G, you’re probably OK, but 4G may be spotty.

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