Yesterday was a big day for the mobile world as T-Mobile introduced a business model to shake up the standard contract method used by the big 4. Calling it the Simple Choice “Uncarrier” plan, customers are no longer tied down by 2 year contracts for a subsidized phone price which is usually $200. Instead customers who choose to purchase a new phone have the option to make $20 monthly payments for 24 months after an initial $100 down payment or buy the phone outright. Not only has T-Mobile rid the contract model but they’ve also greatly simplified the plans available. Everyone starts off with a $50 unlimited talk and text plan and can choose between a $10 2GB data option, or a $20 unlimited data option. At this point T-Mobile has nothing to lose and much to gain by experimenting with different schemes to bring customers back to T-Mobile.
So how much money will you really be saving if you decide to switch to T-Mobile’s new Simple Choice plan? Now without taking into account coverage (since it varies from area to area), necessity, and throttling we’re going to be comparing the costs of brand new phones on UNLIMITED plans provided by the big 4.
We’ll start with the star of the show. T-Mobile Starts at $50 for unlimited talk and text and another $20 for unlimited data. Adding in the down payment of $100 and $20 a month for the phone, the total cost of the first month will come out to $190 w/o taxes and fees. Over a span of 23 months at $90 the total cost for 24 months comes out to $2,260.
AT&T’s unlimited talk comes in at a whopping $70. Add another $20 for unlimited texts and we’re already at $90. Now here’s the tricky part. AT&T doesn’t offer a unlimited data plan (unless you grandfathered in) so the mid and top tier options are 3GB for $30 and 5GB for $50. For comparison sake even if it’s a bit excessive for the average user we’ll be going with the 5GB option. Calculate in the typical $200 for a new phone and your first months costs come in at $340 w/o taxes and fees. Over a span of 23 months at $140/month, the total cost for 24 months comes out to $3,560.
While offering an unlimited talk and text option for $90, Verizon does not offer an unlimited data plan. The highest data option for an individual is 10GB for $80. Adding in the initial $200 for the phone, we’re looking at $370 w/o taxes and fees. Over a span of 23 months at $170/month, the total cost for 24 months comes out to $4,280. Wow.
Sprint makes it easy by offering an all unlimited plan for $110. Lets tack on the initial $200 for the phone and we’re looking at $310 for the first month. Over the span of 23 months at $110/month, the total cost for 24 months comes out to $2,840.
Even though this isn’t the most “fair” comparison you can see even at these extreme set-ups T-Mobile comes out to be the cheapest individual “unlimited” option. If you were to already own a smartphone, then the 2 year cost for T-Mobile would drop to $1,680 which is must cheaper than any other options out there. It’s nice to see that T-Mobile is willing to take a risk and try something new because in the end we the consumers are seeing the benefits. How successful T-Mobiles new approach may very well shape the future of the cellular industry. It’s exciting to see how things will turn out.