Most of us have been hit with overage charges at one point or another in our smartphone-owning years. It hurts. The penalties for exceeding your allotted monthly data, texts, or voice minutes can be outrageous. So T-Mobile capped off its week-long spate of Uncarrier announcements with a new campaign to abolish the industry-wide practice of overage charges.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere started a petition Monday to force his company’s competitors, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, to eliminate overage penalties altogether. T-Mobile customers on any consumer plans will no longer see penalties for going over their monthly limits.
This doesn't mean that T-Mobile will be giving away data for free. It's just not going to hit you with nasty upcharges. On the Simple Choice plan, for example, users have never had data-overage penalties. If they hit their limit on 4G LTE data, T-Mobile simply dropped their data speed to 2G until the end of the billing period. Now, all of T-Mobile's plans will have some alternative to overage fees.
In his petition, Legere cites two astonishing figures: 20 million Americans had to pay for overages last year to the tune of $1 billion. If Legere can convince some of those people to switch to T-Mobile, the company could jump from its current fourth-place postion, lagging behind AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. T-Mobile added 4.4 million subscribers last year and hopes to add 2 to 3 million more people this year.
The overage penalty petition is the latest in a series of T-Mobile moves over the last few days. On April 12, the company introduced a new $40 Simple Starter plan with unlimited talk and text and 500MB of LTE data. If you hit your limit on this plan, you won't pay an overage fee; instead, you have the option to buy more data.
The Simple Starter announcement was followed by a tablet deal: T-Mobile now offers 4G LTE tablets for the same price as Wi-Fi versions, and is throwing in an extra 1GB of free data for the year.
Monday’s petition is business as usual for Legere, who is making a name for himself as the People’s CEO. It’s a role he clearly relishes, as he regularly pokes T-Mobile’s rivals with both official announcements and a stream of teasing tweets.
“Imagine the smile on my face as I watch millions upon millions of Americans flipping the bird to the insanity and pain of the past and joining this consumer revolution—while I sit back and watch the competition flounder,” Legere said in a Monday statement announcing the overage elimination initiative.
Those are fightin’ words if I’ve ever heard them.
“The consumer wireless movement is rapidly approaching a tipping point. And that’s when things really get interesting,” Legere said. “The first year of Uncarrier has been terrific, but it’s going to pale in comparison to what lies ahead.”
We’ll find out May 1 if the Uncarrier campaign is actually catching on with people: The company reports its first quarter results that day.
This story, "T-Mobile stops overage fees, starts petition pressuring other carriers to follow suit" was originally published by TechHive.