T-Mobile has rolled out an interesting new promotion in San Francisco: a $50 unlimited usage cellular voice plan. Also the company is offering customers in the Bay Area a $135 rebate to switch carriers, essentially eliminating the early termination fee costs.
T-Mobile says the new %50 rate plan is only available to customers who have used the service for 22 months. The new plan would allow T-Mobile customers to have unlimited data and voice for $85. AT&T, for example, charges $99.99 for unlimited voice, $30 for data and anywhere from $5 to $20 for texting.
The good news for consumers is if T-Mobile rolls this plan out nationwide and does well, it could force other carriers to react. A national analyst, John Hodulik, predicts we'll see T-Mobile make such a move next month.
Why? T-Mobile is struggling to keep up with AT&T and Verizon and Sprint in the cell phone wars.
With its best-selling iPhone spearheading purchases, AT&T added 2.1 million customers in the fourth quarter of 2008. Of those, 1.9 million were iPhone users.
Verizon added 1.4 million new users, but T-Mobile added far fewer: 621,000. That was down from 670,000 new customers in the third quarter and down from 951,000 new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Sprint/Nextel lost 1.3 million customers in the fourth quarter as cell phone users seem to be choosing sides: AT&T or Verizon.