Telcel America brand appears to be getting rid of its $45/month unlimited plan. That plan offers unlimited domestic calling, messaging and data plus unlimited international texting. It doesn't include international calling. For that you need Telcel's $60 Unlimited International Plan which comes with 400 minutes of calling to Mexican cell phones and unlimited calling to up to 15 different landline numbers in 37 countries.
News of the $45 plan's demise comes from letter sent to Telcel dealers which an anonymous tipster shared in a comment on this site. According to the letter, the change was effective April 15.
I haven't been able to confirm the news independently so consider it a rumor for now. But there's a strong clue on the Telcel America site that the $45 plan is indeed on its way out. When you buy a phone or SIM on the site you are given the option to buy only the product only or bundled with a $60 Unlimited International plan airtime card. Until recently the site offered buyers a choice of either a $45 or a $60 card.
Here's the letter:
Thanks to your efforts, Tracfone experiencing great success with Telcel America. As they continue to enhance the experience each of their key constituents have with the brand, they have decided to make two plan revisions effective 4/15/2013:
Discontinue the $45 plan.
Change Telcel’s $60 Unlimited Talk, Text, Data and ILD plan to an Unlimited Talk, Text, Data, and ILD (unlimited landlines + 400 mobile-to-mobile minutes to Mexico) plan.
We believe this will make Telcel an easier value proposition to both understand and convey. The $60 plan comprises over 90% of Telcel’s total customer base. As such, removing the $45 plan should have minimal impact. Dealers should love the $60 plan for multiple reasons; namely:
Its high ARPU translates into high replenishment net dollar margins
It's the highest value plan for its target market (unacculurated Mexicans)
Having a defined number of mobile-to-mobile minutes to Mexico (400) eliminates customer confusion
The simplicity of a single plan
A big unanswered question is what will happen to current $45 plan users. Will they be grandfathered? If not will they be allowed to switch to Straight Talk's $45 plan without having to buy a new phone or SIM?
This is the latest in a series of recent shakeups in America Movil's offerings:
- In January, Straight Talk's AT&T BYOP plan was discontinued and AT&T based phones were removed from most markets across the Tracfone, Straight Talk and NET10 brands.
- In February, NET10 imposed a 1.5GB data cap on users of AT&T based BYOP SIM cards.
- This month Straight Talk, NET10 and Telcel America launched a Bring Your Own Verizion Phone options and then cancelled them a few days latter.
- Also the this month, Telcel America modified its Unlimited International Plan which used to include unlimited calls to Mexican mobiles and unlimited international calls to landlines. Now there's a 400 minute cap on calls to Mexican mobile phones and unlimited landline calls are restricted to 15 unique numbers per month.
One has to wonder what's going on at America Movil. Most of these changes (limiting data and international calling and getting rid of high cost AT&T options) seem designed to increase the company's profit margin. If that's the case I think it's short sighted. The changes and reversals are hurting America Movil's reputation, discouraging growth. The changes are shaking current users confidence and encouraging them to look elsewhere.