T-Mo, Sprint CEOs take Price Wars to Twitter
The CEO’s of T-Mobile and Sprint both announced new–and very similar–rate plans today, and took to Twitter to spread the news. They also used the opportunity to boast and talk smack–after all, a public price war is a lot more fun when CEOs jump in the ring and square off.
T-Mo CEO John Legere tweeted: “ICYMI: We just changed the industry FOREVER…AGAIN!!” Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint, tweeted, “Let’s see drama queen @JohnLegere say that the market is lying. @sprint stock up 66.57% vs @TMobile up 19.94%,” and Sprint tweeted, “What our competitors are doing after they hear about our #UNLIMITEDFREEDOM launch! #FactsMatter”
So what are the facts? Well, T-Mobile’s new Uncarrier 12 announcement is a single one-size-fits-all plan called T-Mobile One. Customers get 26 GB of mobile data per line before being throttled. The cost per line is determined by how many lines are on a plan; for T-Mobile One, it’s $70 for the first line, $50 for the second, and $20 for each additional line. T-Mobile One limits all video playback to 480p, which the company claims is DVD quality, but in most circles would be considered low resolution. The new T-Mobile One plan will be available September 6.
Sprint’s plan, called Unlimited Freedom, has the same video limitations as BingeOn, but applies it across all video streams, unlike T-Mobile, which requires video providers to opt-in to its program. Sprint takes the “optimization” even further, limiting music streams to 500kbps (which is relatively high) and gaming to an extremely slow 2Mbps.
What about additional fees and “catches”? Surprisingly, it’s the UnCarrier T-Mobile that is pitching the most foul balls. T-Mobile will “allow” customers to remove the video “optimization” and view videos at HD resolution for an extra $25 per month per line. And those monthly cost figures? They are based on auto-pay being active on all lines. Otherwise, each line is $5 more expensive. And Tethering? Fuggedaboutit! The only tethering available on T-Mobile One is at 2G speeds; in other words, useless.
So how do the plans stack up? For 1 to 3 lines of service, Sprint offers the better price. The companies are tied at 4 lines, and beyond that, T-Mobile offers the best price, as you can see below.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. T-Mobile’s additional fees and (essentially) elimination of tethering could hurt their strategy, despite all the freebies it throws its subscribers. These type of one-size-fits-all plans could also backfire–consumers generally like more choice, not less, even if that choice is illusory.