T-Mobile 'UnCarrier' Plan: Nice Language, Less Substance

T-Mobile USA has adopted an aggressive marketing tone lately, emphasizing that it will be an  "uncarrier." In other words, T-Mobile USA wants to grow by proving to users that it is not like a mobile service provider, in serious and relevant ways.

It is, to be sure, a bold ambition. Whether it can succeed is perhaps the bigger question. There already are signs T-Mobile USA might not be prepared to do enough in furtherance of that ambition, though. 

A memo suggests that T-Mobile is revamping plans in the near future to make unlimited talk and text a de facto part of the experience, where data is the variable cost.

Whether  T-Mobile USA actually is doing enough to back up its "uncarrier" claim is the issue. Verizon Wireless and AT&T already offer similar plans that make voice and texting (unlimited in the domestic market) a simple fixed cost, while it is the amount of Internet data access that is the primary variable cost.

So in that sense T-Mobile USA is copying the other carriers it wants to distinguish itself from. The moves by T-Mobile USA to "abandon" device subsidies likewise have gotten lots of attention. 

But T-Mobile also is offering installment plans that blunt the difference between device subsidies and installment plans. A more radical move might have been to end device subsidies and not offer installment plans, a route T-Mobile likely rightly decided was too risky. 

At the same time, T-Mobile USA will, at some point, face a Sprint that probably will try in its own way to further destabilize the U.S. mobile market as well. 

Perhaps the initial information is incorrect. Perhaps T-Mobile USA will produce something that has more impact. If T-Mobile USA wants to shake up the business, it will have to do so. 
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