Rumor: T-Mobile to move to no-contract model soon

The carrier will ditch contracts later this month, says a report from blog Tmo, which also offers tidbits about T-Mobile's new marketing approach.

Buh-bye, motorcycle mama? T-Mobile

T-Mobile will move to a no-contract model on March 24, with an announcement as early as Monday -- that is, if a story on blog TmoNews pans out.

In reporting the shift, Tmo cites an unnamed source -- "while we're confident the details are accurate today, they could easily change tomorrow," it says -- and it adds that T-Mobile will also ditch early termination fees ("which makes complete sense when announced with the removal of contracts"). It also reports that the carrier will offer a monthly installment plan on handset purchases that will be in the $25 to $30 range.

The second half of the Tmo report touches on new marketing plans for T-Mobile, with the blog saying we should watch for the phrase "Dual 4G," a likely reference to the carrier's HSPA+ and LTE networks. The "Stick Together" tagline will apparently be retired as well, along with the Ducati driven by spokesmodel Carly Foulkes, who last spring swapped her pretty-in-pink dresses for no-more-Mr.-Nice-Girl motorcycle leathers.

In December, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the carrier would be out with a new "in-your-face" campaign when it finishes its merger with MetroPCS this year.

Legere also said then that T-Mobile would eliminate subsidies on handsets this year -- that's the model used by most big carriers, which gets you an upfront deal on the cost of your phone but typically locks you into a two-year contract. Instead, T-Mobile will move completely to its Value plans, which let customers pay for their devices by the month, or bring their own, unlocked devices to the carrier.

In its fourth-quarter earnings report this week, T-Mobile said those plans, which debuted last year, were doing well, with the company adding 1.3 million new Value customers during the quarter, for a total of more than 6 million people on its Value plans.

CNET telecom guru Roger Cheng calls T-Mobile's killing of subsidies a good thing for consumers. You can check out his take here. And Jessica Dolcourt of CNET Reviews took a look at T-Mobile's Value plans and discovered that the name may well be fitting. Her report is here.

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