T-Mobile users thought they had a lifetime price lock—guess what happened next

Enlarge / T-Mobile logo above the Deutsche Telekom pavilion at Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona, Spain, on February 28, 2024.

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When T-Mobile announced price hikes of up to $5 per line on older smartphone plans last month, many customers were shocked because of T-Mobile’s years-old promise that their price would never rise as long as they stuck with the same plan.

“New rule: Only YOU should have the power to change what you pay,” T-Mobile said in a January 2017 announcement of its “Un-contract” promise for T-Mobile One plans. “Now, T-Mobile One customers keep their price until THEY decide to change it. T-Mobile will never change the price you pay for your T-Mobile One plan.”

Unfortunately, the promise wasn’t as simple as T-Mobile claimed it to be in that press release. T-Mobile also published an FAQ that answered the question, “What happens if you do raise the price of my T-Mobile One service?” It explained that the only guarantee is T-Mobile will pay your final month’s bill if the price goes up and you decide to cancel.

The FAQ stated, “The Un-contract is our commitment that only you can change what you pay and we mean it! To show just how serious we are we have committed to pay your final month’s recurring service charges if we were to raise prices and you choose to leave. Just let us know within 60 days.”

The FAQ link now just redirects to the T-Mobile home page but the Internet Archive has a capture of the FAQ from January 2018. While we couldn’t find an earlier capture of the page, a discussion on an Android Central forum shows that the text mentioned above was noticed by some customers in January 2017.

The Un-contract was also previously applied to T-Mobile Simple Choice plans starting in March 2015. The 2015 announcement said the Un-contract would be enabled automatically with “no crazy strings, no hoops to jump through, no hidden fees, no BS.”

The recent price increases reportedly affect Simple Choice plans as well as other packages, but we haven’t been able to find any language from 2015 that acknowledges an exception that lets T-Mobile raise prices on Simple Choice. We asked T-Mobile several questions today and will update this article if it provides more information.

T-Mobile disputes complaint to FCC

T-Mobile is pointing to the above caveat to defend itself against at least one complaint filed to the Federal Communications Commission after the recent price hike. Yesterday, a Reddit user and T-Mobile subscriber posted a letter in which T-Mobile asked the FCC to close the complaint filed by the user.

T-Mobile’s response to the FCC and the user who complained said:

Regarding these changes, we are aware some customers have inquired about T-Mobile’s Un-contract and Price Lock. With Un-contract, T-Mobile committed to its customers that if we were to increase prices and customers chose to leave as a result, T-Mobile would pay the customers’ final month’s recurring service charge, as long as we are notified within 60 days. Consistent with this commitment, customers who activated on an eligible rate plan between January 5, 2017 and April 27, 2022, can request to have their final month’s qualifying service charge reimbursed if their rate plan increases and they choose to cancel service. Customers simply need to request reimbursement within 60 days of the price increase.

The T-Mobile response goes on to describe the more recent “Price Lock” guarantee that was offered starting in April 2022 and discontinued in January 2024. The T-Mobile response said that customer lines covered by Price Lock are exempt from the recent price increases:

As for customers with concerns about T-Mobile’s Price Lock guarantee, it is important to note that customers with Price Lock are not impacted by the change. On April 28, 2022, T-Mobile began offering Price Lock on new account activations on qualifying rate plans. For customers who activated on a qualifying plan between April 28, 2022 and January 17, 2024, Price Lock guarantees that accounts activated with a qualifying rate plan, within the enrollment period, would not be subject to a price increase, so long as the account remained in good standing and the customer remained on the qualifying rate plan.

T-Mobile’s response to the complaint also said that customers who switch plans lose their Price Lock guarantee.

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