T-Mobile Is Slashing Unlimited Plan Pricing by Ending Surcharges

T-Mobile Begins Offering Apple's iPhone
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Apple's iPhone 5 is advertised in the window of a Manhattan T-Mobile store on April 12, 2013 in New York City. Following years of waiting to sell the phone, T-Mobile will begin supporting and selling the iPhone 5 on its network starting on Friday. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photograph by Spencer Platt — Getty Images

T-Mobile announced its latest “Uncarrier” promotion on Thursday at CES, slashing the prices of its wireless unlimited plan by eliminating surcharges and taxes as additional fees.

Consumers who sign up for the plan, which starts at $70 for one line rising to $160 for four lines, will only pay that top line price. T-Mobile will stop adding on the various mysterious surcharges for which the wireless industry is known. Actual government taxes will be included in the top line price, instead of being tacked on and raising the total cost to consumers.

T-Mobile estimates that consumers pay $17 billion a year in taxes and fees above the advertised prices for wireless service across all carriers. Some are industry-imposed fees that carry labels to make them sound like required taxes, such as the “Federal Universal Service Charge.”

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The carrier also said it would be ending the availability of its lower-priced limited data plans for new customers starting this month as the company promised when the unlimited plan was introduced in August. Customers who want to pay less than $70 a month could be offered a prepaid plan from T-Mobile’s MetroPCS subsidiary.

Competitor Sprint (S) also offers an inexpensive unlimited plan, while AT&T (T) offers unlimited plans only to customers of its DirecTV service. Verizon (VZ) has no similar offering. Both the Sprint and T-Mobile unlimited plans reduce the quality of streaming video and can slow download speeds if a customer uses a large amount of data in one month.

Marking his 13th Uncarrier promotion on Thursday at CES in Las Vegas, T-Mobile CEO John Legere also promised that for customers who sign up for the current unlimited plan, the company will never raise the price.

To learn about T-Mobile’s earlier Binge On Uncarrier promotion, watch:

Since Legere kicked off the first Uncarrier deal and did away with two-year contracts back in 2013, T-Mobile has soared. The carrier has added more new phone customers than the rest of the industry combined while its stock price has nearly quadrupled.

Some of the more recent Uncarrier deals have been more limited or more complicated, like the introduction of the cheaper unlimited plans last August. But the latest deal is more straightforward, cutting the price of service by about 5% to 10% by doing away with the fees and including taxes within the top line price. T-Mobile also said it would start refunding $10 per month for any unlimited plan line that used less than 2 gigabytes of data in a month.

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