Tmobile Introduces Month To Month Contracts

Hate long-term cellphone contracts? Starting August 6th, Tmobile will be the first national carrier to offer month-to-month plans, straight up.

TmoNews says, “It sounds like these plans will be very similar, if not the same, to T-mobile’s current offerings of individual, or family time plans, with or without MyFaves.” For new customers, this will mean that, if you buy from Tmobile, you will have to pay full retail price for your new cellphone. Unless there’s some caveat against it, it would be smart though to buy your phone off eBay or convert pay-as-you-go Walmart-style phone to the month-to-month plan. There will also be an activation fee. But at least there will be no early termination fee.

Thumbs up to Tmobile on this one, even though it’s probably just a placating gesture in advance of the FCC ruling on ETFs. Hopefully the other carriers will follow suit with similar placating gestures.

T-mobile Introduces Month to Month Contracts [TmoNews] (Thanks to Scott!)

Comments

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  1. squatchie44 says:

    I give it 60 days before the others join in

  2. AI says:

    As a fool, I am offended by this T-Mobil ad featuring Mr. T. It’s obviously directed at gay people as well.

    Month to month plans are good though, because I already have perfectly functional cell phones left over from other contracts.

  3. Streyeder says:

    @AirIntake: Foos? As in foo-foo!? I OBJECT TO THIS HATEFUL LANGUAGE AS WELL! Shame on T-Mobile for such horrid taste in marketing schemes!

    Seriously, it’s about frikkin’ time. This is WAY past due.

  4. barty says:

    FYI, Powertel (one of the companies that eventually got absorbed into T-Mobile, ironically enough) and Sprint had no contracts 10 years ago.

    Back then, players like AT&T, BellSouth Mobility, etc., were too entrenched for these “upstarts” to get them to reverse course on their contract policies and as we all know too well, they went the way of the mainstream and started requiring contracts as well. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out this time since they both have significantly more market share now.

  5. theblackdog says:

    Will it be like apartments, where you pay a much higher rate to be month to month rather than be under a contract?

  6. EGBTMagus says:

    T-Mobile is not the first to do this. Actually at&t has been allowing anyone who brings their own handset or purchases one out right to start service without. yes we know consumerist hates big bad corporate America but at least you could get your story right…

  7. krispykrink says:

    They’ve had this for a while now. It’s called Flexpay. Same rate plans as the on-contract plans, without the contract. All you do differently than being on contract is pay your monthly bill before the month starts.

  8. Parting says:

    There was no month to month plans in USA?
    Honestly, I’m surprised. Here in Canada, cellphone contracts can last up to 3 years. Only, you can get month to month, 1 year, or 2 year contracts anytime. It user’s choice. And most plans are exactly the same. Your phone’s price varies depending on the length of your contract and the plan.

  9. Mr_D says:

    My contract with T-mobile ran out and I’ve been month-to-month ever since. I pay the same as their contract rates, and at the end of the month, too.

    I’ve called up several times and confirmed, yes, I am not on contract.

  10. krispykrink says:

    @EGBTMagus: I’ve heard of this rumor. Since I flat out own my phone I decided to try and get it and I’ve found the rumor to be false. I’ve spoken to about 5 CSR’s with ATT directly and dozens of ATT store employees. They all flat out deny that they offer the same exact contract plans without a contract. They all confirmed that you have to either sign a contract or use GoPhone, nothing like what T-Mobile offers.

  11. viqas says:

    AT&T would sell you a plan not on a contract, but all they will give you is a SIM card. Other carriers are not going to jump in as tmobile is a light weight.

  12. tylermorgan says:

    @krispykrink:
    FlexPay is only available to people with poor credit. They require FlexPay customers to pay their first month’s bill at the store when purchasing the phone. Also, FlexPay phones cannot go over the allotted number of minutes/texts/etc per month, or the phone will be turned off until the customer adds more money to their account or a new month begins. There are 1 and 2 year FlexPay contracts, as well as a No Contract option. The FlexPay No Contract is only offered to the customers with the poorest credit; the prices for the phones are $200-$300 without a contract, so many people cannot afford them anyway. Hopefully the new no contract option they are offering will mean that they bring down the prices on some no-contract phones, so that they are actually affordable.

  13. Sam2k says:

    AT&T has been offering no contract service in limited circumstances for a few months now-at least my store has been able to do it. AT&T didn’t like it at all though…

  14. jnews says:

    @Victo: For T-Mobile, you go month to month only after you’ve completed a contract, each and every time you change your calling plan. For example, if you want to go from 600 minutes to 1000 minutes, but you don’t want or get a new phone, you still have to sign a new 1 or 2 year contract. This is because they claim you have to sign a contract to switch to a “promotional” plan, but taa-daa! All of their plans are “promotional”. How convenient!

  15. krispykrink says:

    @tylermorgan: “FlexPay No Contract is only offered to the customers with the poorest credit”

    No it’s not. It’s open to anyone that asks for it. I’ve used it before with my iPhone. I bought a SIM, called TMo and said gimmie month-to-month flexpay. Wham, bam, all done in about 15 minutes. They don’t ask for an SSN and they don’t do a credit check.

    ———-
    After reading more at the linked site, this kinda sounds really stupid. The purpose of “Month To Month’ plans, is to skip the contract and get… “Month to Month” service. Allowing you to leave at any time of your choosing. But this new thing, you have to sign a contract to get month to month?

  16. jswilson64 says:

    @tylermorgan:
    No, Flex Pay is available to anyone who doesn’t want a long-term contract. Or a plan that incurs over-charges. With a teenager and a preteen, a T-mo Flex Pay family plan and two e-bay unlocked GSM phones works pretty good. The rate is the same as with a contract, we just pay up front. If they use up the minutes before the end of the month? Too bad for them (instead of giant bill for me).

  17. Norcross says:

    Good for T-Mobile. I’ve had them since they were Ariel, and I’ve always had good service from them. And when a contract ends, I can keep going month to month. My brother kept the ‘per second’ billing from Ariel for years after they were purchased by Voicestream, and then T-Mobile.

    On a side note, I wonder if that when people see the ‘real’ cost of these phones, (esp. Smartphones), the price will come down.

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    But is Mr T throwing a T-mobile cell phone at potential customers? The Motorola warrantee guys must hate that.

  19. Legal_Eagle_In_Training says:

    @Mr_D: I was in the same situation back in college when I had US Cellular (yeah, I’m from the midwest). I called and asked them how much longer I had on my contract one day, and they said I’d been on a month to month basis with them for the past 3mos. I decided it was time to do some comparison shopping, especially since my cell phone was waaayyy outdated at that point.

  20. Fortain says:

    No offense, Ben, but Sprint & AT&T have been doing this for a few years now. When I worked at RadioShack, we weren’t able to do this, but it could be done at a corporate store, over the phone, or online.

  21. Verdigris says:

    Alltel has also had this option… the only reason you sign a contract is to get a deal on the phone. That’s the ONLY reason. It’s been that way for about 10 years.

    Calling this news is like saying McDonald’s now offers value meals which, if you haven’t heard yet, contain a drink, entree, and side of fries for much cheaper than buying them seperately…

    Good on T-Mobile for actually telling someone about it though!

  22. fostina1 says:

    thank god. with cellphones being outdated trash within just a few months 2year contracts are evil.

  23. Verdigris says:

    @Norcross: “On a side note, I wonder if that when people see the ‘real’ cost of these phones, (esp. Smartphones), the price will come down.”

    The real cost being in the ballpark of 500-600 dollars.

    Seriously, smartphones cost about that even a year after they are out. Heck, the original RAZR still costs about 200-300 dollars. You sign a contract and get about 200-300 dollars off of the phone, then people complain when they have to pay an ETF of 200 dollars. If you don’t want to pay an ETF, PAY FULL PRICE FOR THE PHONE!

    Think about what you are saying before you say it… simple, really.

  24. krztov says:

    @EGBTMagus: everyone does that, t-mobile has always had contract free plans, they just have less features like no free nights, or weekends, etc.

  25. temporaryerror says:

    @Fortain:
    For Sprint, if I recall, you paid full price for the phone and then you paid an extra $10/month for a no contract plan.
    Don’t know about AT$T…
    I think that if you do FlexPay, you still get a discount on the phone as long as you sign a contract, but it’s not the same discount that you get with a standard contract.

  26. jst07 says:

    Hardly worth it. Contracts are great for getting a phone cheaper, especially if you don’t want to run the risk of pulling one on Ebay. Like mentioned above, Alltel has had this for years (and I always assumed every company did?). However, I’ve always signed 2 year deal with alltel to get a discount and rebates on my phone. My last Smartphone was $100 cheaper than any I could have got on Ebay after rebates.

  27. Jubilance22 says:

    @krispykrink: So basically its MetroPCS. They have the same type of billing system. No contract, just pay for your service a month in advance.

  28. jst07 says:

    @Verdigris: And to add, If you dont want to pay and ETF…don’t end your contract, its not hard (Unless for other circumstances where you are leaving your carrier). Granted your phone might die or get lost/stolen, well then that’s when you Ebay the phone instead of paying your ETF, but otherwise IMO, contracts are the way to go.

    Prorated ETFs should be enforced though, and it looks like thats what were going to be getting across the board soon.

  29. Verdigris says:

    @jst07: I agree with you on the prorating. Cell phone companies make ALOT of money in your monthly rate plan bill. The company I used to work for did prorating and when we got bought out by a larger company they obviously got rid of that. Something I miss about the small guys in the business. They didn’t do all of that because they had to, they did it because it makes sense.

  30. T-Mobile should just sell hacked iPhones and tell AT&T and Apple to shove it.

  31. @Verdigris: They do, but there are some subtle differences. Alltel has three plans that are contract-free. Two have no anytime minutes (the pay-per-minute and pay-per-day plans), while the last (pay-per-month) includes 700. The route T-Mobile is taking is that you can select from any of their regular plans and either pay in advance (Flexpay) or do it post-paid (this new thingie). The benefit here is that it can include data, text messaging, myfaves, etc. as part of the plan, and not some add-on option that you pay more for. In general, most (I’m unfamiliar with one that doesn’t but you never know) cell companies will leave you on the plan your contract was on after it has expired.

    I am employed by a company mentioned in the post and/or the comments

  32. Teqonix says:

    Man, this is awesome news. I’ve had an unlocked 2G iPhone for months on end now, and because I didn’t want to sign up for a 2 year contract for data, I was never able to be a real iPhone user and have internet anywhere. I really hope these plans include data options, because I definitely want to try out EDGE for at least a couple months.

  33. samurailynn says:

    Everyone is saying AT&T will let you have service without a contract, but I practically begged them to let me purchase a phone at full price and get service without a contract and they wouldn’t let me. They said that the only way you can use their monthly plans is to have a contract, otherwise I had to purchase a prepaid phone and use the prepaid per minute phone cards.

  34. krispykrink says:

    @valarmorghulis: I’d hate to correct a T-Mobile employee but, Flexpay also offers Text, Data and Blackberry services at the same rates as post-paid. Had it on my iPhone, MyFaves, Unlimited TXT and Unlimited Data.

    @Teqonix: Dunno why you’ve been waiting, you can already get everything for the iPhone on T-Mobiles Flexpay.

  35. Verdigris says:

    @valarmorghulis: No, you are thinking of the Pre-Paid plans. That’s the problem with the way cell phone companies operate. I can’t tell you how many time I get yelled at on the phone for someone HAVING to sign a contract. News flash: you can be on a monthly plan, pay full price for a phone, and NOT sign a contract! No pre-paid, no less features.

    There seems to be some general confusion about this subject. I am assuming that retail employees are probably not making it any easier to understand.

    If you want to start service without signing a contract, your best bet is to call customer service and ask for a sales dept.

  36. razdigital says:

    samurailynn@samurailynn: Try going to a att corporate store and say your bringing your own device and want to pay month to month. Also might want to bring along an unactivated att sim card, they probably will try charging you $25(really big on doing that at some places) if you don’t. The only reason they sign you up for year contracts are to earn back the cost of the new phones they sold you at a discounted rate(that’s right free phones aren’t free).

    My advice if your planning to stick around for a year or two get the new phones at the discounted rate and sell it off and pocket the cash. If your going to be paying them why not make them work for their money.

  37. @krispykrink: That was actually my point, and that this new option is apparently the same thing as flexpay, but postpaid. This is actually the first I’ve heard about the new one though, so I can’t say for sure.

    @Verdigris: With Alltel? I was refering to the plans they list as “contract free.” It does not explicitly state that they are prepay, but I don’t know with certainty if they are or not. It would be counter-intuative for any company to list plans as specifically contract-free, yet offer them all without contracts. I can tell you from experience (about a year and a half ago anyway) though that ATT renews with a 1 year contract for changes to the account, even after the original contract had been met. These included things like changing the primary account holder (say from a business to a person or parent to child) or shifting billplans. So saying that all companies offer contractless, post-paid accounts that are the same as their contracted plans might be an exaggeration. If you complete you original contract though it would be a different sotry.

    I am employed by a company mentioned in the post and/or the comments

  38. darkryd says:

    Since cell phones are becoming more the standard these days as opposed to land lines, when will we see the phone companies forced to abandon contracts all together?

    Regular land lines dont really use contracts, so why should cell phones?

  39. wcnghj says:

    Ya, flexpay has been around forever.

  40. suzapalooza says:

    Actually, Sprint began in 1996 with no consumer contracts, but did require business customer contracts. (I walked many a new customer thru theirs when I activated their phones – the fabulous Sony CMD600 with the slide-up earpiece – snazzy!)

    And Cricket, a nearly national carrier (they are launching new markets as we type), has never had contracts, has all the bells and whistles as the other guys, and has a better network than most. We’ve had their service in several markets and it has been great.

    DISCLAIMER: my guy works on the network side for Cricket.

  41. TechnoDestructo says:

    Does Virgin Mobile not count because they’re on someone else’s network?

  42. @darkryd: Completely agree with that! It would be like the cable company celling you a TV. If cell phones were to be sold in retail stores only and you just relied on the carrier for service the prices of the phones would probably drop quickly because of competition…..maybe.

  43. Mykro says:

    I have a virgin mobile month-to-month contract. Been on it for a while now… So T-Mobile is far from the first… Virgin Mobile is way down the line, so T-Mobile doesn’t even get sloppy seconds.

  44. Teqonix says:

    @krispykrink: Huh, I hadn’t heard about the flexpay options that T-Mobile offers, but looking at the plans online, all I’m seeing for data plans with flexpay is the Sidekick data plan for $30/month. I don’t think that includes EDGE, because sidekick service is done by Danger/Microsoft.

    Well, either way, I’ll head into an office Aug 6th and find out what they have to say.

  45. mizike says:

    Wow, can they come up to Canada? Rogers wants a THREE YEAR contract for cell phones, which is why I still have a pay-as-you-go through Virgin Mobile.

  46. technopimp says:

    Nice…thanks T-mobile…I have 3 months left in my contract, want an iPhone, but have to wait or be charged $200. Nevermind I’ve been a “wonderful customer” (their words, not mine) for almost 10 years. I guess they only screw the ones who have been most loyal to them.

  47. infromsea says:

    The really neat trick here is that cell phone companies have gotten everyone to consider cell phones as a standard utility similar to the natural gas bill or the power bill.

    They did it by spreading out the true cost of the phones and service over the life of the contract and now they’ve hooked generations on cell phones (and their payments) providing them with endless streams of future revenue.

    Stop and think about why and how often you are using your phone, how many times a day do you truly “need” the phone? I did this little introspection and realized that my family needed a phone about once a month, two pre-paid tmobile cell phones and a year later, we’ve spent 150.00, including the price of the phone. That works out to 12 dollars a month. No contract, no month to month, just buy a few minutes every couple of months and move on.

    I’ll fund my retirement rather than have a phone that I hate paying for so I can talk to people I don’t like about things I could care less about.

  48. zanhecht says:

    Cingular (now AT&T) WAS doing this up until 2006. I signed up for a no-contract plan (they called it COAM for Customer Owned And Maintained) in October 2006 right as they were phasing it out. As a customer service rep told me, “You’re lucky to get this plan, because we will require an 11-month contract even if you bring your own phone starting October 31st”.

  49. tubedogg says:

    To clear a few things up:

    This is different than FlexPay. As previously pointed out, FlexPay is aimed at those with less-than-great credit (especially those who are borderline and would otherwise have to put down a hefty deposit), or those who don’t want a credit check done. Those with OK credit qualify for annual FlexPay accounts with a 2-year contract and get the phone subsidies, whereas those with worse credit (or who request their credit not be run) go on month-to-month with full-price phones. The difference between that and prepaid is access to the same rate plans, data features, etc. as FlexPay annual accounts. As also pointed out, FlexPay prevents you from accruing any overages, and all bills are paid before service starts (or when adding features, before the features take effect).

    The new thing coming August 6th (not sure what they’re calling it) is a postpaid month-to-month service. You are still required to have your credit run and you still must qualify for postpaid service. But, if you get to the point where you are qualified for postpaid service, you can go month-to-month with no contract. (Caveat being you will be paying full price for the phone.) The difference between this and FlexPay is, again, this is a postpaid service, and there is no barrier to overages. This is simply postpaid without the contract.

    As regards data plans for FlexPay, the options are:
    – $5.99 T-zones internet (for regular consumer handsets)
    – $19.99 total internet (for T-Mobile Shadow, Wing, Dash)
    – $19.99 Sidekick internet with messaging (for, wait for it, T-Mobile Sidekick)
    – $19.99 Blackberry internet (for all BB models)
    Those are all add-on features for voice rate plans. There is a $29.99 data-only Sidekick rate plan that includes unlimited internet and unlimited messaging, but voice is $0.20/min.
    Fairly similar to postpaid options, however the one thing that is NOT available for FlexPay is a Blackberry data-only plan.

  50. camperdown9 says:

    About a year ago Virgin Mobile here in the United Kingdom started to sell a sim only post pay 30 day contract. Now T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2 & Orange all offer a sim only contract deal. The carriers like it as they do not have to pay towards the cost of the handset and the customers like it as you get more mins and sms on a sim only contract than you would if you signed up to an 18 or 24 month contract with a phone.

    Example

    £15 (about $29) per month on a sim only T-Mobile UK contract you get 350 mins and 650 sms. Ok no handset

    On an 18 month contract you pay £25($48) per month for 350 mins and 700 sms. OK you do get a reduced cost of free handset but you are stuck with them for 18 months. If you want to leave say after 2 months you need to pay the total cost of the time left on the contract. So £25 x 16.

    One of the industry website here said that for each new contract or upgrade that was sold three sim only contracts were sold.

    Sim only works for me as I like to change handsets. This must be the way to go. Why should a carrier tell you when you can change your handse?

  51. marzman says:

    I Work for T-Mobile.

    That said – Here is the deal on flexpay.
    Yes – it is set up for those with poor credit.
    Before Flexpay T-mobile required a $250 deposit per line for service to customers with poor credit. They couldn’t afford it and potential customers were walking out every day. Flexpay was launched in July of 2007 and works great as long as you stay within your plan and don’t go over.

    Also, if you run out of minutes you can add money to the plan with a pre-paid card and have minutes services or ringtones with that.

    Flexpay does offer month-to-month and contract plans. on Mo-2-mo you do not have to give a SS# for the service or have a credit check run. You do have to pay full retail for the phone or provide one also.

    The rate plans on flexpay are the same as regular post-paid – but month 2 month can have exceptions or may not have all of the plans offerred to annual contract or post paid customers.

    The new month-to-month plans does not say t-mobile never offered mo-to-mo before but these are new plans for post paid cusotmers to select instead of the ones offered now.
    The ones before often did not have nights, or weekends, or both. Now customers will have more choices without running up a contract.