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T-Mobile raising prices on grandfathered-in customers with older plans

Customers on older tiers like "T-Mobile One" and "Simple Choice" will have to pay $2 to $5 extra if they don't move to a newer, potentially-costlier plan.

Customers on older tiers like "T-Mobile One" and "Simple Choice" will have to pay $2 to $5 extra if they don't move to a newer, potentially-costlier plan.

A T-Mobile retail store in downtown Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Matthew Keys for The Desk)
A T-Mobile retail store in downtown Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Matthew Keys for The Desk)

T-Mobile is taking a page out of the “Big Wireless” playbook by implementing price adjustments on some older plans that will see most long-time customers pay more money for the same service.

Affected customers began receiving text messages this week warning them of the price increase, which could see them pay between $2 and $5 extra on top of their old monthly rate.

The rate adjustment appears to primarily impact older wireless tiers like T-Mobile One and T-Mobile Simple Choice, according to KnowTechie, which published a copy of a text message received by a long-time customer.

A T-Mobile executive affirmed the price increases in a memo circulated to employees on Wednesday, noting it was the “first time in nearly a decade” that the wireless provider had adjusted its price on long-time customers. It comes several months after T-Mobile abandoned a plan to automatically move some customers on older plans to newer, pricier tiers of service amid criticism from subscribers and the press.

Like other wireless providers, T-Mobile has adjusted fees related to its core services in an effort to address higher costs associated with labor and inflation. Two years ago, the company increased its in-store activation fee from $30 to $35, offering customers the option to purchase service online and pay $10 for a SIM install kit if they wanted to avoid the fee.

Business at T-Mobile has been good since then, with the company adding 532,000 lines during the first three months of 2024, according to financial documents filed with regulators and presented to investors.

“Our model is working,” Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s CEO, said on a conference call following its first quarter (Q1) earnings release in April. “It’s consistent, and our confidence in it only builds with each passing quarter of success.”

T-Mobile competes fiercely against AT&T and Verizon for wireless customers, and has benefitted from a trend of subscribers shopping around for the best service, rate and value-added perks like streaming subscriptions and other discounts on goods and services.

To reach price-conscious consumers, T-Mobile announced last year it was acquiring Mint Mobile, which resells T-Mobile wireless connections through a unique pay-in-advance model. Unlike T-Mobile, Mint Mobile customers prepay for several months of service at once, and receive substantial savings compared to if they purchased postpaid wireless service on a monthly basis. The acquisition secured regulatory approval earlier this year and was finalized in April.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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