In the old days, Sprint was the only carrier that regularly reacted to T-Mobile's promotions and antics. Rarely, AT&T would also jump in, but for the most part, both AT&T and Verizon treated Sprint and T-Mobile as second class carriers. Up until recently, Verizon rightly claimed to have the fastest and widest 4G LTE network in the US.
Times have changed. Even Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" pitch guy is now with Sprint. He claims that Sprint is now within one percentage point of Verizon's network. I'm not sure I'd go that far but the point is, all four networks are pretty darn good these days. Regardless of which carrier you utilize, you can thank T-Mobile for making things more affordable. You'd think that the two 800lb gorilla carriers would be the driving force for innovation and lower costs. You'd be wrong, T-Mobile has done far more for consumers than all carriers combined. After all, who do you think introduced the below first?
1) Dumping the 2 year contract model for month-to-month
2) Utilizing throttling to eliminate data cost overage
3) Introducing voIP wifi dialing for enhanced coverage and FREE voice roaming
4) Introducing FREE Canada and Mexico calling and Roaming
5) Introducing Carry Over Data
6) Binge On Video Streaming without using your 4G LTE Data allocation
7) Unlimited FREE Music Streaming without using your 4G LTE Data allocation
8) First carrier to Buy out other carriers contracts
9) Ditched global text and roaming fees in 140 countries
10) Only charges $0.20 per minute for voice roaming in 120 countries
Okay, so Verizon's promotions are not exactly the same, or even offered on every plan "gratis" as T-Mobile does it. It's all in the details, but the font is too small for anyone to read it. Both AT&T and Verizon copied T-Mobile's carry over data but there is one important distinction. T-Mobile's data rolls over for the entire year, until December 31. AT&T and Verizon roll data for only one month and then it gets deleted. Throttling is FREE on all TM plans but charged as an option on many Verizon plans until you reach the XL and XXL which are their best values. The Canada/Mexico calling and roaming is also an option, but included on the Verizon XL and above plans. T-Mobile started the zero subsidy, zero interest financing trend. All carriers now offer it but the terms are not the same. With Verizon, you either make a monthly payment for 24 months, or you buy out the entire device. With T-Mobile, you can accelerate the 24 month term by making a higher payment or doubling up on payments. No big deal but something very few people are aware of.
To sum it up, my previous beef with Verizon was not being able to guarantee my clients that their phone bill would look exactly the same each month, with no surprises. Well, Verizon stepped up and took care of that problem on their XL and XXL plans, for FREE. T-Mobile's John Legere calls Verizon's new "Safety Mode", Shake Down mode because they charge an extra $5 per month for this on their Small, Medium and Large Plans. Still, that is a small price to pay to eliminate the chance of month end surprises. There has never been a better time to be a Verizon Wireless subscriber, or a T-Mobile subscriber. Contact me to determine which will be the best fit...
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.