Today we learned that T-Mobile is planning to stop discounts on its phone, in favor of its budget-minded Value plans. Though it’s not set to kick in until next year (which is less than a month away), the plans would do away with reduced pricing on the actual phones themselves. Now, it may sound like a prepaid option like Virgin Mobile, but the kicker is that a contract must still be signed to get the value pricing.
Americans have been pampered by discounted phone prices, but the rest of the world isn’t like this. In fact, we typically pay more in the length of a contract than an average customer in Europe would. In the UK, you might pay something like $700 for a Galaxy S III. But, you’d only have to pay $30 a month for the plan, which is comparable in terms of data and minutes to a plan here. In the States, the phone may only be $200, but the plan can easily be upward of $100 a month.
From what I can tell, it looks like T-Mobile’s European owner Deutsche Telekom wants the carrier to shift to an approach similar to the style they have in Europe. It would mean an end to discounted phones, along with the assurance of getting a new phone every two-years with an upgrade. Plus, it’s a lot harder to swallow losing the phone you paid $600 for than the one that was only $200.
The only problem is that T-Mobile has already offered this plan for awhile, and not everyone will want to switch to it. That could lead to more than a few customers flocking to other carriers. But, there’s always the chance the idea could take off in the mind’s of consumers and in a few short years this what the US wireless landscape will be.
It’s a bit of a long shot, but I think T-Mobile could really do something special with this new strategy. For it to really take off, it’s going to take a strong marketing strategy and a little support from the phones manufacturer (ie. lowered phone prices). But, what do you think? Are you interested in T-Mobile’s Value plans? Let us know what you think in the poll and comments below!