April 14, 2014
T-Mobile Calls For End Of Overage Fees
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
T-Mobile is calling an end to overage charges, and expects other mobile carriers to do the same. An end to overage charges is what some are calling the "third act" in T-Mobile's uncarrier campaign.
The underdog mobile services provider said it would eliminate overage penalties, "one of the most reviled wireless industry practices," said a corporate statement. The overage charges that T-Mobile said it will eliminate are for consumers who go over their allotment of voice calling, texting and data allowances.
Removing overage charges from mobile plans makes T-Mobile an attractive carrier for customers, though the company CEO John Legere is challenging other carriers to follow suit. "More than 20 million Americans were hit with punitive overage charges in 2013. And these penalties from the three largest U.S. carriers take more than an incredible $1 billion out of consumers' pockets every year," according to T-Mobile.
Legere's challenge extends to the largest carriers in the country, namely AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, who each have more subscribers than T-Mobile. Legere started a petition on Change.org that consumers can enter their names to help support the end of overage charges.
"Today I'm laying down a challenge to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to join T-Mobile in ending these outrageous overage penalties for all consumers - because it's the right thing to do," said Legere. "Overage fees are flat out wrong. Agree with me? Join me in putting this challenge to all the major national carriers by signing my petition on Change.org. Right here. Take one minute to be a part of this consumer movement."
Calling it the "third act" in T-Mobile's uncarrier campaign, CNET reports that new plans aim to move the number four nationwide carrier up a notch or two. "T-Mobile is up and roaring after a relatively quiet few months, unveiling a series of new programs designed to entice consumers to make the switch and needling its competitors along the way. As the No. 4 nationwide carrier, the company has had to put on a brash face to garner attention and combat its larger competitors' more extensive marketing reach," wrote CNET's Roger Cheng.
An unlimited plan that includes voice, texting and data is enticing to customers, among a string of offers that the carrier terms "uncarrier" in that it offers benefits to the consumer that other carriers do not. T-Mobile's last move was an offer to pay early termination fees to carriers for customers who move to T-Mobile.
T-Mobile will end overage charges for all of its plans such as Simple Choice, Simple Starter and older plans beginning in May for bills arriving in June.
Currently Verizon offers free talk and text, though it puts a cap on data. If a user goes over the carrier will charge fees that quickly add up. T-Mobile says the plans are purpose-built. "The result has been a culture of fear, worry and surprise every time the wireless bill arrives," the corporate statement said.
"The worst thing about these overage fees is that they're often inflicted on those who can least afford them," said Legere. "As an advocate for consumers, we're putting a stop to that. I personally won't be satisfied until we obliterate this shameful practice from the entire wireless industry."
It is likely that other carriers will continue charging overage fees, and this petition is a way for T-Mobile to gain attention and potentially a few more subscribers.