A set of leaked T-Mobile documents detailing how the carrier would move subscribers on legacy plans onto newer, more expensive offerings set off a tidal wave of news reports and consumer backlash this week. The idea that the “Un-carrier,” which has presented itself as the pro-consumer carrier, would forcibly migrate subscribers was both shocking and disappointing to many.
Notifications were set to come this week, something T-Mobile itself confirmed to Cord Cutters News. But that didn’t happen, with the company now calling the documents part of a “small-scale test” that hasn’t kicked off. Yet on Reddit, a number of users claim they’ve already talked to customer care and opted out of the automatic migration.
So what the heck is going on? Let’s break down everything we know about this plan.
What’s this forced migration about?
Last week, documents appeared on Reddit, and were subsequently confirmed by The Mobile Report and other publications, including Cord Cutters News. The affected plans include:
- Simple Choice Business
- Simple Choice/Select Choice
- Magenta 55+
Older Simple Choice plans, which debuted in 2013, would migrate to Magenta or Essentials Select plans, while the Magenta plans would move to Go5G plans. Magenta 55+ would move to Go5G 55.
Is it really forced?
That’s how it’s been presented. You would be told that there is a new plan that you would move into, and that you had to contact T-Mobile if you wanted to opt out of the change.
What would this mean for the price of the plans?
The changes would mean customers would pay $10 a month more, or $5 if they hadn’t already enrolled in an AutoPay discount program.
Why would I want to pay more?
T-Mobile’s plans have evolved over the last several years, especially from the Simple Choice days. Newer plans have more flexible data usage policies, with some coming with perks like access to better iPhone upgrade deals and perks like video service.
Nah, I just want to save money. How do I opt out?
Hold your horses. You’re going to have a tough time opting out of a program if you’re not enrolled in it. You should only contact customer care if you are notified that T-Mobile will be making a switch. T-Mobile has said this test hasn’t started yet.
Didn’t T-Mobile say notifications would start going out on October 17?
Yes, it did. But apparently even T-Mobile has been a bit confused by its own messaging. T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert sent out a memo to its employees confirming that this test hasn’t started, and a spokeswoman confirmed to Cord Cutters News that no notifications have gone out.
What about the people on Reddit who say they’ve already opted out?
It’s unclear what’s going on there, but it might have been customers who have pre-emptively contacted T-Mobile about opting out and gotten a receptive customer care rep. There were also reports that the option to opt out appeared and disappeared on apps and the site’s online portal, but those have not been confirmed by Cord Cutters News.
So when are the notifications supposed to happen?
Sievert said it would happen in the near future, but didn’t give a timeframe. T-Mobile declined to be more specific when asked in a follow-up question.
How many people are part of this “small-scale” test?
That’s unclear, and T-Mobile didn’t give a number. There’s a stat floating around that 1% of customers would be affected, but a T-Mobile spokeswoman questioned the validity of that number. It’s also unclear if that 1% figure applies to all customers — which would amount to more than 1 million customers — or just 1% of legacy customers, which is a smaller number.
The point is not everyone on a legacy plan will get the notification.
How will the notification work?
Customers will receive a text message or email. The note will say that they are eligible to move to a new plan. If a customer does nothing, they will migrate to the new plan. As mentioned before, the customer can opt out, and Sievert said everyone will have the option to stay on their current plan or move to a similar one.
Why the confusing messaging?
The leak clearly threw T-Mobile for a loop. The company likely didn’t anticipate the backlash, which is why it’s been slow to respond.
“Clearly a leak of any shift in plans versus a stated announcement reflects poorly on the carrier,” said Maribel Lopez, an analyst at Lopez Research. “T-Mobile obviously had to acknowledge that the data was real but didn’t have a story lined up to share how it would deliver new value.”