T-Mobile has apparently been so successful at adding new customers that they've starting to ratchet back some of the promotional deals they have been using to lure those new subscribers. Three recent changes have made things more expensive for customers of T-Mobile prepaid brands.
Last Sunday T-Mobile raised the price of prepaid SIMs from $10 to $15. I don't know what SIMs cost the carriers but I'm pretty sure it's a lot less than $15. Many operators sell SIMs for a dollar or two or even give them away to make it easy for customers to switch to their service. In fact, T-Mobile has been putting their prepaid SIMs on sale on their website for a penny or a buck for about a week out of every month all year long. Maybe they will continue that practice. If they don't or if you can wait, Amazon and eBay sellers have T-Mobile prepaid SIM kits for around $8 each.
On Nov. 1, T-Mobile's GoSmart's prepaid brand launched a double data promotion that gave every GoSmart customer twice as much data for the same price. Sounds good, but it's going away soon. This week GoSmart quietly modified their Rate Plans description page to say that the promo will end Feb. 1. This isn't a huge surprise, as the double data was always billed as a "limited time offer" However, two of GoSmart competitors, Sprint's Boost Mobile and AT&T's Cricket Wireless also doubled their plan's data this fall and don't seem to have any plans to roll back the change. Boost even says their double data is a "permanent" change, whatever that means. Cricket says theirs is temporary but that any customer who gets double data now is grandfathered and gets to keep it when the promo ends. You'd think GoSmart would do the same for competitive reasons, but their terms change makes it clear that aren't saying; "starting February 2, 2015, all data plans will revert back to their full, original high-speed data allocation". So no grandfathering and that's going to mean some unhappy customers I suspect.
The third negative pricing change is less of a surprise but seems to be mishandled. For 2014, T-Mobile cut the prices of their $20, $30 and $40 mobile broadband plans by $10. Those prices were advertised as good all year "Through 2014 save $10 on our 1 GB, 3 GB, and 5 GB monthly passes." (see it in the Internet Archive). However the prices of those plans on the T-Mobile website went up a month early on Dec. 1. It seems rather dishonest of T-Mobile to end the promo earlier than advertised.
I suspect T-Mobile is trying to get a small portion of the millions spent on its many "un-carrier" promotions to designed to lure new (mainly postpaid) customers, like paying off early termination fees, unlimited free music streaming and free international data roaming, It does seem a little unfair that prepaid customers, who didn't get most of the un-carrier benefits, seem to be paying for them with this month's round of price increases and rollbacks.
Sources: T-Mobile, GoSmart via PhoneNews.com