T-Mobile just announced it will offer a new set of tiered unlimited plans, called Value plans, alongside their current offerings, which have been newly rebranded Classic plans. As silly as ‘tiered unlimited’ sounds, T-Mobile is aiming to eliminate overage charges through data throttling. So while customers will technically be able to use as much data as they want, they’ll only be able to download 2, 5 or 10GB per month at 4G and 3G speeds, depending on their plan. All data that exceeds that soft limit will only flow at 2G speeds, but won’t cost anything extra.
The new service is slated to roll out July 24, and it’s an interesting counterpoint to the limited data plans of AT&T and Verizon. In any of the carrier’s offerings, customers still decide how much baseline data they’ll need each month to set their standard monthly fee. However, its when you run out of data that the competition kicks in. AT&T and Verizon both charge $10 per GB, while T-Mobile (and now Virgin Mobile USA) just slow your downloads down.
For the user who occasionally goes over their plan’s limit, and will definitely need speed when they do, AT&T and Verizon’s tiered pricing models seems to make sense. In that case, having the carrier slam on the data brakes once you hit your limit would be a real pain. It’s unclear how T-Mobile might free up your data for the rest of the month, but it most likely involves changing the base monthly plan, rather than paying a flat fee for some extra data.
However, for the value conscious (and that’s what the plans are named for, after all), T-Mobile’s throttling system does guarantee zero overage charges. If data speed isn’t crucial towards the end of a particularly data-heavy month, the plans save users the hassle of trying to see how close to their sometimes-fickle data caps they’re coming.