Yesterday, AT&T announced new Mobile Share Value plans that were pitched as making subscriber’s monthly rates cheaper if you already own a smartphone.
It seemed like a pretty honest move. Most carriers bill you a set monthly that includes a fee designed to pay off your smartphone’s full prive over a two year period, which is common knowledge. What isn’t common knowledge is that on most carriers, even if you bring your own smartphone to your contract or fully pay off your device, the carrier will continue to bill you for that smartphone subsidy in perpetuity. It’s super sleazy, so AT&T’s move seemed like a refreshing dose of honesty.
That’s not how T-Mobile sees it, though.
In an email sent to CNET, T-Mobile says the plan is a price hike for customers:
The plans, which involved a large and confusing series of changes to different elements of AT&T’s offering, do offer savings to no-contract customers. But AT&T also made some changes to the terms for contract plans, including moving to a flat-rate $40 fee to add a smartphone to its plans and away from a variable rate that had many families paying as little as $30 per device… So for some families with a contract plan, which gets the benefit of lower cost, subsidized phones, the changes would actually mean a hike in the total price
According to T-Mobile, “After you do the complicated math, in multiple cases, these new plans are actually a price hike for customers.” Which sounds pretty much like the AT&T we all know, doesn’t it?