T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages

For its latest trick, T-Mobile says it will abolish domestic data, text, and voice overage charges for all its customers on any plan, and it's calling on its competitors to do the same.

T-Mobile US Inc. announced the move on Monday, the third of its latest round of "uncarrier" moves. Last week, the carrier also introduced a $40 500MB data plan and reduced the price of the LTE iPad to WiFi levels. Killing overage charges is its final act for what could be seen as version 5.0 in its sequence of uncarrier shake-ups. (See T-Mobile Drops LTE iPad Prices to WiFi Levels and Look Inside T-Mobile's 'Uncarrier' Transformation.)

Overage charges -- fees incurred when subscribers go over their allotment of monthly data -- can add up quickly. T-Mobile CEO John Legere said Monday that more than 20 million Americans were hit with overage charges in 2013, making $1 billion for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless , and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) combined.

He's doing away with the charges for all of T-Mobile's customers on domestic voice, text, and data plans. T-Mobile already started down this road with its Simple Choice plans that include unlimited voice and text and throttle speeds rather than charge when the data cap is reached. (See T-Mobile Shuns Overage Charges.)

The T-Mobile chief has also started a petition imploring its three competitors to do join him in killing overages. Nearly 400 people had signed the petition at our latest check.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Sarah Thomas 4/14/2014 | 10:35:55 AM
over overages This really isn't that groundbreaking, since T-Mobile had already moved away from overages with Simple Choice and it doesn't apply to international data, where the charges tend to be most dramatic. It'll be interesting to see if the other operators respond though. They do make a good business from overages now that most are on tiers.
mendyk 4/14/2014 | 11:00:49 AM
Re: over overages I understand the visceral reaction to anything called an overage fee, but do you think users are going to be happy when their data rate throttles down after they hit their cap?
Sarah Thomas 4/14/2014 | 11:02:58 AM
Re: over overages If they can accept that unlimited gone, then they have to be okay with something happening once that cap is hit. They are given the opportunity to pay more if they want more data at that point, so it's basically an overage fee by a different name. If they don't want to pay that, they have to wait it out on slow speeds until the next billing cycle starts.
mendyk 4/14/2014 | 11:08:08 AM
Re: over overages Speaking of overage charges, did you see the story about the woman (a math teacher in the UK) who spent 2,600 pounds to download a Neil Diamond album when she was in her cups and visiting family in South Africa?
Sarah Thomas 4/14/2014 | 11:20:14 AM
Re: over overages Wow, I did not hear that story, but I believe it. I spent $250 to send two emails once in Italy, but calling to complain about it got the charge removed pretty quickly.

Which album was it? Totally worth it?
mendyk 4/14/2014 | 11:24:58 AM
Re: over overages The downloadee claims she's not even a fan of Jewish Elvis and that she was securing a copy for her boyfriend. Which may make this even worse.
PaulERainford 4/14/2014 | 1:26:39 PM
Re: over overages At that price it had better be the concept double album in the gatefold sleeve. In coloured vinyl.
mendyk 4/14/2014 | 2:07:38 PM
Re: over overages The sad part is that Mr. Diamond won't see a penny from this transaction beyond his cut of the 8.99 fee to iTunes. Orange pockets the rest.
Mitch Wagner 4/14/2014 | 5:27:19 PM
Re: over overages No, the sad part is that so many of us know so much about Neil Diamond. 

I'm sure that woman was not thinking good times never felt so good. 

And now a gratuitous embedded video of Neil Diamond performing Sweet Caroline live:


kq4ym 4/14/2014 | 7:01:43 PM
Re: over overages Given the choice consumers will probably pick throttling vs. overages. And depending on what's being downloaded there may not be much difference seen by most in the throttling scenario. It's probably and win win for T-Mobile and customers and maybe others will follow.
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