T-Mobile putting an end to overages on all consumer plans

By Derek Kessler on 14 Apr 2014 09:26 am EDT

After introducing a $40 base plan and then doing away with extra charges for cellular tablets and giving them a free gigabyte of data, T-Mobile is at it again by doing with overage fees. The elimination of domestic overage fees hits all T-Mobile plans. T-Mobile CEO John Legere called out his competition, pointing out that overage fees amount to $1 billion in extra payments from consumers every year.

Being the poking and prodding type, T-Mobile has also started a petition on Change.org to put a voice towards ending overages on competing carriers as well. It's a PR stunt, sure, but it also gives a bit of a voice (let by a corporation) to the people.

When T-Mobile Simple Choice subscribers do go over their limit, they won't be hit with overages now. Their access to data will continue, but their speeds with be throttle back to 2G speeds. On the Simple Starter plan with its 500MB cap, they'll be presented with the option to purchase additional data passes to make it through the end of the month.

Press release:

T-Mobile Abolishes Consumer Overages, Challenges Other Wireless Providers to Follow Suit

Legere Starts Petition for Consumers to Call on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to End Overages

BELLEVUE, Wash. - April 14, 2014 - T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) today shifted the national conversation on wireless to a new level, unveiling its latest Un-carrier move - a campaign to eliminate overage penalties, one of the most reviled wireless industry practices. While abolishing overages for all customers on T-Mobile consumer plans, its CEO has also laid down a challenge to the nation's largest carriers, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, to do the same.

More than 20 million Americans were hit with punitive overage charges in 2013. And these penalties from the three largest U.S. carriers take more than an incredible $1 billion out of consumers' pockets every year.

"Today I'm laying down a challenge to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to join T-Mobile in ending these outrageous overage penalties for all consumers - because it's the right thing to do," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. "Overage fees are flat out wrong. Agree with me? Join me in putting this challenge to all the major national carriers by signing my petition on Change.org. Right here. Take one minute to be a part of this consumer movement."

Last year, T-Mobile banished annual service contracts and began phasing out overage charges with the launch of Simple Choice. T-Mobile's stance against annual service contracts is now well known by consumers, and today it's taking on the even more unpopular and unjustified practice of slamming consumers with surprise bills in the form of overages charges.

"Charging overage fees is a greedy, predatory practice that needs to go," continued Legere. "Starting in May for bills arriving in June - regardless of whether you're on Simple Choice, Simple Starter or an older plan, we're abolishing overages for good. Period."

Traditional carriers' entry-level plans lure customers in with a low monthly fee for a fixed amount of domestic minutes, texts or data. Once consumers go over those limits - even by a little - they're hit with much higher rates, often dramatically higher. These plans are purpose-built to drive customers over that invisible line into massive overage charges. The result has been a culture of fear, worry and surprise every time the wireless bill arrives. For example, an individual on AT&Ts entry-level plan, advertised at $45 per month, will pay $125 if he uses just the average amount of data for a U.S. smartphone user (1.5 GB per person).

"The worst thing about these overage fees is that they're often inflicted on those who can least afford them," added Legere. "As an advocate for consumers, we're putting a stop to that. I personally won't be satisfied until we obliterate this shameful practice from the entire wireless industry."

To give a voice to U.S. wireless consumers, Legere has started an online petition at Change.org/AbolishOverages calling on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to end overages. You are invited to sign the petition and add your voice to the growing movement to rid the wireless industry of domestic overages once and for all.

For more information, visit the T-Mobile Newsroom, download T-Mobile b-roll or read John Legere's blog about today's announcement.

Overage estimates from third party bill screening report surveying over 20,000 wireless customers multiplied by major U.S. carriers' reported postpaid subscribers. No overages for U.S. domestic calls, texts, and data usage only. Visit a T-Mobile store for details. As always, we encourage customers to review their plans and features, and talk with our retail associates to make sure their current wireless service gives them everything they need.

Derek Kessler Derek Kessler "Managing Editor of Mobile Nations" 89 (articles) 5 (forum posts)

Reader comments

T-Mobile putting an end to overages on all consumer plans


Yah, and here he goes again trying to pretend like he cares about the people and not just about his bottom line through a gimmick.

Just like how doing away with the discounts was somehow to the consumers' benefit.

And gullible fools believe this crap.

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

What are you talking about? Sure, he is interested in the bottom line but he is also changing the wireless industry for the better. But go ahead and enjoy paying 45 cents a minute for going over your plan.

I like T-Mobile as much as BlackBerry. I just wish the two could hash out their differences.

Posted via CB10

I have unlimited data, unlimited texts, unlimited calls to mobile, and about 10 times more landline minutes than I've EVER used... Yah, I'll let you know how much I pay in overages...

Edit: While I'm enjoying better coverage and my 17% discount...

I was just thinking the same thing. When will Canadians start to see these changes. All we get is the "Middle Finger" from Rogers and Bell and the standard comment, "Deal with it because we own the market."

That's good t mobile even though you and BlackBerry had a fight I'm glad that you are taking a stance against overages because it's very true

So what do they do once you go over your minutes/texts/data limit? Cut you off except for wifi calling/texting, prompt you to bump up your plan, throttle your speeds? A little work from the "author" would be appreciated above and beyond being a frictionless pipe for T-Mobile's PR department.

If I go over my limits in the UK I just get charged at a standard rate. For example 10p for every text etc
No fees or penalties.
I'm quite surprised to hear about it happening at all. The US mobile industry seems very primitive when it comes to carriers

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

All major US carriers have unlimited talk and text so overage is no longer a consideration. Prior to that I had a 200 text plan and if I went over I would be charged 10c per text. That was then. I do not believe the article is correct, if I had a barebones $45 per month plan, there is no way I would be using the services to rack up a $125 bill.

@darkehawke: That is an overage you just described.
The standard rates tend to be higher per unit of usage than if you have an inclusive plan and Legere is just trying to sensationalize it by labelling overages and penalties as 2 different items.

It's just a standard rate we get charged. The article makes it sound like an overage is more than standard rates? My bad if I read it wrong

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Mavs....my understanding is that they lower you to 2G speeds...

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

I hate when an incomplete article gets posted. The obvious question is unanswered and I tend to agree, it seems like free PR without explaining "the catch."

Posted via CB10

They are phasing out overage charges by going with their Simple Choice plans that have unlimited voice and texting at all tiers. Data is "technically " unlimited, but only at 2G speeds. 4G/Lte speeds are limited, and that's where the different tiers come in. The more you pay, the more 4G you get per month. Also affects how much mobile hotspot data you get. But at least there is no overage for going over your limit, you just get knocked down to slow speed.

Posted via CB10

So what's new? They've always had throttled data past the limit for their SC plans. And unlimited talk and text are standard.

It's hard to root for them after everything that happened, but I have to admit -- this is a great move in favor of the consumers. A GREAT move.

Posted via CB10

Business is business. Why can't we just accept it and move on. Why focus on TMO's slip up, when Blackberry has crapped on us for years, yet we still stick with them. At least try to be fair.

Blackberry always.....

The CEO acting like a child towards Chen was uncalled for and unprofessional. That's why all the hate for that provider...as I see it anyway, I'm Canadian.

Posted via CB10

True, but over all they are a good BlackBerry carrier. When I got my z10 everyone at the store thought it was a nice device and was supportive of my buying it.

Posted via CB10

Carriers were being forced to do this anyways by the FCC. No news here.

Posted via CB10

So, he basically wants to go back to fixed rate unlimited data plans.

After all, if you don't charge for going over your allotted amount, what's the point in having tiered plans at all. Sign up for the cheapest plan, go over all you want.

I'm all for that.

I'm still on a grandfathered unlimited plan on AT&T now that I started back in 2007, and want to keep it as long as I can.

Posted via CB10

Well, Europe has a solution:
If you go over your data allowance you are throttled to KB/s - enough to receive emails or IM but not to browse.

Alternatively, you pay for extra data.

Posted via CB10

The same here happens with the Caribbean carriers.. they throttle you to KB/s and any other message you send, it takes money from your phone balance based on how much MB you do use

I am on T-Mobile and that is what they have done for a while. If I go over I can simply increase my plan with no penalty.

Posted via CB10

That att plan you have is what made me go to TMobile. The point is you never get surprise billing. I have at times gone over and my speed was lowered. I then had the opportunity to increase my plan but I was never penalized and I never get surprises on my bill.

Posted via CB10

You all should know that it is only Tmobile US doing these kinds of changes. Any other Tmobile area is just another run-of-the-mill provider.
So the T-mobile franchise as a whole apparently has no influence over these decisions, and it is just a US-centered campaign.

In fact T-mobile (NL) in my country has one of the worst positions in the market. They will not get 4G rolled out untill way after the competition, their contracts are not more attractive than the competitors and they are actually 'recommending' people to move away from their old unlimited data plans with misleading new offers.

BlackBerry 10 signed.

"In fact T-mobile (NL) in my country has one of the worst positions in the market. They will not get 4G rolled out untill way after the competition, their contracts are not more attractive than the competitors and they are actually 'recommending' people to move away from their old unlimited data plans with misleading new offers."

This sounds nearly identical to T-Mo in the US, lol. Don't let the PR stunts fool you.

T-Mobile in the US blows away the competition with their plans. Their coverage is the issue, but even that, theh have great coverage for many people.

Posted via CB10

Be that as it may, really none of the carriers in the US are our "friends." One way or another, they'll make their money off of us and merrily continue on their way.

Government really got it right blocking the Tmobile merger with att. This has been a huge win for the us consumers. My att bill has dropped dramatically. And my verizon bill has dropped a bit as well. I'm entirely off contract on both of them. Though verizon keeps trying to get me to resign for a subsidized phone.

Posted via CB10

I don't like his obnoxious approach here. What happens if/when he decides to renege on this offer years down the road? I'll tell you what happens, he looks like an idiot. I get that he wants to be edgy and non-traditional, but he's backing himself into a corner with his challenge and statements like "it's wrong". Good on him for removing overages, but bad marketing job in my opinion.

I wish AT&T had the guts to come out and say...TMO can afford to do this because of their limited number of customers, limited size of their network and make sure everyone is aware he was doing this right up until he decided not to as a MARKETING PLOY, not out of the goodness of he heart and he knows if he challenges AT&T and VERIZON to do the same, they lose way more money than him due to their enormous size compared to TMO. I am willing to pay Verizon a little extra (very marginal at this point) for the extremely great coverage and speeds I get anywhere and everywhere I go from Eastern US to Western US and the Midwest I call home.

His goal to try and get the large companies to do what only works well for smaller carriers in the hopes he can join the big boy ranks...

With you there. I will buy direct from BlackBerry and reap the rewards of being on t-mobile.

Posted via CB10

That is my plan. I actually will prefer that as long as T-Mobile gives me good support and wifi calling works

Posted via CB10

The carriers screw everyone over these days. Just look at the plans, and then the pricing.

Retarded, to say the least.

Posted via CB10

And how about the fact that AT&T & Verizon both warn you if you want long before an overage...

Just my opinion but if someone has overages...its their problem, not the carrier...

I have a 2GB data plan...If I use 6GB...that is my choice and my fault...pay up or don't use the data.

No one has plan where the the data limit changes...I mean its not like in March Verizon was nice and gave me 4GB of data and now in April hate me and gave me half a gig of data...

Sorry but the changes at Tmobile seem to me to be catering to morons...not that all their customers are morons, but it seems that is who they want to attract...people who don't realize overall their bill is not going to be lower, just pay for it somewhere else...

You clearly don't understand their billing then. Coverage is inferior to Verizon but their plans are tons better.

Posted via CB10

Their plans are different, not sure if they are better, you get what you pay for...I might pay more with Verizon, but I get more as far as coverage goes and once again, I will say, overages are a thing of the past and if they happen, no one has a reason to be surprised or upset as there are controls available for that problem.

Maybe the carriers could make a change.org petition to provide customers choice and have t-mobile carry BlackBerry in their stores lol!

Posted via CB10

Wish Canada had a company willing to take the lead like this, but the big 3 are all in bed together and ****ing the consumer over.

The only way Canadian telcos would do this is if the government made it law.

Posted via CB10


Of course, it's marketing....

But overage billing and the T-Mo / BlackBerry disagreement are unrelated matters. The only thing these two things seem to have in common, they were both initiated / executed by the same marketing department.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

I hope all the tmo fans realize right up until he announced this change, he was doing the same thing...

He want's to pressure all the other carriers to do the same because it cost's him a tiny fraction of what it will cost AT&T and Verizon. I know I pay a little more to be on Verizon but when I travel and can make a call, get on the web, etc. anywhere and everywhere I stop...its worth it.

TMO wants to be one of the big dogs without having to lay out the billions of dollars to get a nationwide network...

Notice he doesn't brag about coverage, data speeds, etc except right in the small areas they have towers.

For the loudmouth he is, he gets awfully quiet when asked about coverage on Twitter. Because he knows they need spectrum (especially good, low frequency spectrum) to really make a push. And AT&T and Verizon are going to extract their pound of flesh at the next auction.

Umm T-mobile has been harping for MONTHS about coverage ( they claim 96% of the US population, who knows ?) and the data speeds for T-mobile ( where available) ARE the fastest.

If you think Legere is a D-bag, fine. But T-mobile, has, been the first of the 4 to move away from subsidised phones, is the most accomodating for BYOD, and was the first to offer the high data low voice plan that, despite being in existence for like 5 years, still cant be approached by verizon or AT&T.
They also are extremely generous about unlocking phones and with Wifi-calling I can travel internationally and make calls to home with zero problems so long as I have a wifi signal, which is close to pretty much everywhere.

T-mobile is not the be all and end all, it is clear that they are not as ubiquitous as Verizon or AT&T. But in my opinion they do WAY more with what they have for WAY less than verizon or AT&T. You might not be like me and you might need 4G LTE at all times, even driving 70 MPH in the sticks. I'm aware of the network limitations and for me, and me only, these deficiencies are more than made up for by the advantages.

And if Legere's preening for the press makes Verizon and AT&T rethink overages, how much credit do you think he's going to get ? I predict none.

For the record, I live in decent TMO coverage area, and am a TMO customer myself. But I drive to places that are not "in the sticks" and data craps out to 2G, or worse, GPRS.

Being "first" doesn't mean squat. If other carriers copy them, guess what? At the end of the day, they still got better nationwide coverage, and in the case of AT&T and Verizon, lots of low frequency spectrum. And TMO has those unlimited plans only because their networks aren't too stressed like AT&T and Verizon's are. BTW...you might want to read the Engadget transcripts for when UnCarrier was unveiled. They've given themselves an out on unlimited data for people they feel don't adhere to the ever subjective standard of "reasonable use."

They do "WAY more with what they have for WAY less than verizon or AT&T" because they HAVE to. They have to set themselves apart somehow to even be a consideration for people. It's nothing new in the wireless industry. The cheapest carrier usually is the one with the shittiest networks. If they had a Verizon-like network or number of subs, I guarantee you they wouldn't be charging their current prices.

Its not about being just first, they were the first to go high data low voice NO CONTRACT for 30 bucks a month. Every month you have people saying they are going to mothball this plan but they havent, and it looks like they wont anytime soon. If they do, guess what I got to AT&T or a MVNO and my loyalty to T-mobile is zip but it wont be AT&T and verizon because they have not, and likely will not, offer a similar plan.

And I dont have a problem with them putting limits on the " unlimited" plans, if someone wants to use their phone as their primary ISP at home, I'd hope they would pay more. And other carriers when you go over you DO pay overages, at T-mobile all they do is throttle.

What I dont understand are posters who think that EVERYONE has to use their phones the way they do. If you dont spend a lot of time on the road and are either travelling or in a big metropolitan center my guess is that you wont be griping about Tmobiles coverage or LTE speed. T-mobile isnt obligated to give everyone access to lte, if you think that paying more for Verizon is worth it for you, that's great. If I have to deal with occasional less than stellar coverage in order to get a cheaper plan, that should be fine as well. My daughter is on PAYG where her minutes last a whole year, and when the year is close to being up top ups carry over.

Its not perfect but for me it is by far and away the best choice, if its not your cup of tea I'm not going to post link to engadget slagging verizon

It's called business. Business is war. In war, you take the shortest, most effective route to victory. Prolonging the battle only ups the cost of the war. Additionally, he has to be unpredictable in order to keep his opponents from guessing his next move and thus cutting him down. I think he's doing a pretty good job of both for now. T-mobile may not be as huge as Verizon or AT&T, but I'm interested to see where his handiwork will take him.

Posted via CB10

I don't get it. Aren't all the current plans overage free anyways (with Starter having a hard cap?) Is this for grandfathered plans or something?

I just want a simple and fair plan where I pay for actual usage.

For example, on Verizon is half-way there with their share everything plans. I have my "plan" set to 1 GB per month. On the last day of my usage cycle, I check to see how much my Z30, tablet and hot spot used. If I went over or were about to go over, I just call in and ask them to "back date" the current billing cycle to my actual usage and then "forward date" next month back to 1 GB.

The "forward date" is the key so that the plan would return back to the base allocation because one (supposedly) cannot back date to a lower amount / plan.

While I am grateful that I can do this, my perfect plan would be a reasonably priced plan where I do not need to play a game of 'Twister' every month to keep my bill in check.

I actually wouldn't mind seeing overages on talk and text, if in return the overage fees would be used for network expansion. I'm a Canadian who uses their $3/day prepaid plan when I visit. It's cool to get unlimited talk and text, but really, when the limit resets every 24 hours, I wouldn't complain if they dropped it to say 100 minutes and 100 texts (as long as data is unaffected).

I love T-Mobile either way, but coverage could definitely improve. In the big cities like Seattle and Boston (the ones I visit the most), it's all right but the signal drops to 2G more often than I'd like. Plus in the suburban areas there can be no indoor reception whatsoever - I remember once staying in a hotel in Newton, MA as it was half the price of staying in downtown Boston, and being annoyed that I had to step outside into the carpark (in the freezing cold) just to call my friend. Outside of cities, e.g. much of I-5 between Bellingham and Seattle, there is also no coverage. It's not a problem when I'm driving, but sometimes I pull over for food/gas and it's disappointing to be unable to use my phone, whereas the people using the evil Big Two (AT&T and Verizon) have no problems.

Nevertheless, I'm still very grateful that T-Mobile is even an option. Until I bought my first AWS phone, I was using an AT&T GoPhone plan which, while still much cheaper than roaming, was a major ripoff even compared to my Canadian domestic plan. I didn't visit often enough to justify getting a monthly prepaid plan, so I was charged by-the-minute for talk and text, and data was $5/50 MB, and the overage charges were also insane.

T-Mobile, please ask your German overlords to buy Wind/Mobi and set up in Canada :D I don't want AT&T or Verizon - they're just as evil as the Big Three!

Why is Crackberry giving tmobile so much press when they are anti BlackBerry? Or am I missing something?

Posted via CB10

I second that thought! I don't really care to hear about T-Mobile. They are clearly not interested in supporting BlackBerry.

Surprise to see this here and never got to see the $200 offer when you trade a BlackBerry for any samsung galaxy

Posted With My ZL1 OS:Unknown Via CB10

If you really want to see a revolutionary plan, check Sunrise Freedom in Switzerland, just launched last week:

- Unlimited minutes
- Unlimited data (you still choose a volume, 1Gb, 5Gb etc, with LTE speed, the moment you overuse the speed is limited BUT you don't pay more!!!)
- unlimited sms as usual
- no minimum contract, quit the carrier or amend your contract on a monthly basis, to the upside AND downside...
- roaming still applies, and Switzerland being sooo small and not EU, the odds are high that you're gonna need it, but who cares, before you go on holiday you raise your package to one with roaming included and go back to your standard contract...

Last but not least: They separated the monthly rates in a section for the subsidized phone and one for your usage, so completely transparent...

Ferrari ZetaDieci

The only catch: If you got a new phone and quit before the phone is completely paid, you're gonna have to pay the difference at once...

Still a VERY reasonable plan...

Ferrari ZetaDieci

After t-mobile's recent offer to BB users to switch to Samsung with a $200 credit, I don't even want to hear from t-mobile ever again!

I hope Chen gives BlackBerry t-mobile users a $200 credit to switch to another carrier if they keep or upgrade their devices to a newer BB10 device.

Now if T-Mo & BB would kiss and make up. Maybe I can upgrade to a Z30, especially since there is no other full touchscreen on the horizon. Otherwise if nothing is announced by the summer, I may look at other phones for my upgrade. T-Mo plan is more important than what phone I am using. My Z10 works just fine and would like the Z30, but that's not possible with T-Mo, unless I buy an unlocked Z30. Too expensive since I am still paying for my Z10. No interest in switching 6 lines to Verizon.

Wind slows you down after 5GB, and after you add the additional 5GB, yeah, but it's totally worth it. At least in canada. Once rogers (fido, chat-r), telus (koodo) and bell (virgin/solo) get forced by the government to do that... hoooooly shit will it cause a ruckus! :D

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

Well isn't he just the best consumer advocate. Doing so much good for the world. LOL, psyche, it's a provider.

Posted via CB10

Pretty much my thoughts. As long as I can still get fully functional BlackBerry phones to use with TMo, I will

Posted via CB10

My T-Mobile plan has always worked this way, when I go over 5GBs they throttle me back to 2G, and pretty much make data unusable except for email. ;)

That's the way it should be. With super high data speeds and super low limits. You can use up an entire months worth of data in under 30 minutes. I really don't care about data speed on my mobile. I'd much rather have infinite EDGE than limited 4G..

Posted via CB10

I don't think the speed at which you can use the data is the problem...its using data no matter what speed if its over your known and chosen limit that like saying a car that go over the 25MPH school speed zone is the problem, not the driver using too much of the power at the wrong time.

I am just not getting this whole overage being a big issue...

When America treats cellular service like other countries where you buy your phone outright, and get a sim card second. This will open up the doors to competition, if companies like Tracfone, and Republic wireless start offering simcards it will destroy T-Mobile, and make Verizon look like Bell. I don't see why Blackberry wouldn't offer a sim deal when you purchase a BB10 smartphone on their website. These carriers have become so arrogant to think that they are in control, but without the right devices, they are nothing.

Posted via CB10

@Derek K,

(LeD by a corporation) not leT. Please proof read your work ;)

BlackBerry Q10  & Full Metal CB10!

If TMobile just had better tower infrastructure, it would be the obvious choice. But it doesn't. So that's that.

First they sent me a message telling me they care for blackberry users and then they send one a few days latter offering $200 credit towards a new samsung. What a douche bag of a company. If it weren't for the international data and text, I would leave them for AT&T. Hint to AT&T: Get your act together with those roaming agreements in Mexico and Europe.

It's the same thing! If I gotta pay extra just for extra speed it's the same damn thing! I'm still paying extra, this is just plain simple extortion no matter how you slice it!

T-Mobile used to have 5 gigabyte plans too then it went away like many of their customers, I like many have come back but at least I got a phone I can deal with.

Coverage is still a questionable issue that I may need to deal with at a later date since I drive cross country for a living.

At least the people are super nice.

Posted via CB10

Like @ranio said they need to improve coverage before trying to run up on the big boys!

True they have gotten better but they need a fresh supply of cash

Posted via CB10

Oops hit the x when my mail bugged me this app did something screwed up too! Anyways T-Mobile needs to find some investors before throwing up a smokescreen because Sprint can shoot holes right through it and Verizon can too! Don't even try it T-Mobile you are picking a fight with some big ol dudes that can and will dust your britches one day!

Posted via CB10