T-Mobile Raises Rates on Select Legacy Plans, Here's the Deal

Those on older plans can expect a $2 or $5 per line increase, with notifications to affected customers having gone out on Wednesday.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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Eli Blumenthal
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T-Mobile has avoided rate hikes for older plans the last few years, but that's now set to change. In a memo sent to employees that was obtained by CNET, the company says it was sending out notifications on Wednesday to some customers whose charges will increase, starting with their June or July bills. 

The memo was sent out by Jon Freier, president of T-Mobile's consumer group. The note doesn't list which plans are affected, but Freier specifically says that those on the carrier's latest assortment of Go5G plans will not see their prices increase. The same goes for the "millions of customers" who are covered by T-Mobile's Price Lock guarantee, which he says will continue to be in effect for those people. 

Freier says in the memo that T-Mobile is raising prices on older plans "for the first time in nearly a decade" and that the increases are designed to "keep up with rising inflation and costs."

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It isn't known exactly how many people will be affected by the change. The note says it'll affect a "small portion" of T-Mobile's customers. Those with free lines from the carrier won't see increases on those lines, T-Mobile confirmed to CNET. 

According to a support page that the carrier put up, the rate increase will go into effect on June 5. This is why it could be on a June or July bill, as it depends on when your particular bill is issued. The page mentions that voice lines will go up by $5 and connected devices (such as cellular-connected tablets or smartwatches) will increase by $2 per month. It does not, however, list exactly which particular plans will be seeing a price hike. 

Beyond the higher price, the carrier says it is not changing anything else with impacted customers' plans. 

The company expected to notify all affected customers on Wednesday. T-Mobile previously tried to move customers on older, generally cheaper plans to some of its newer, pricier ones last year, only to back off the plan amid backlash. Whereas with that move, people had the option to call T-Mobile's support and push back against the change, a source familiar with the company's plans tells CNET that this option won't be available with this new rate hike. 

People affected by the price hike will be able to call up to change their plans to newer T-Mobile offerings, but they won't be able to opt out of this increase. The plans that were included with last year's experimental migration included T-Mobile's older One, Simple Choice, Magenta and Magenta 55 Plus options. 

Read more: Our Guide to Switching Cellphone Carriers

As spotted by The Mobile Report, which has been monitoring which plans have seen increases, users on those above plans as well as a handful of others have reported receiving notifications that their bills will be going up. 

The announcement of a price hike comes amid increasing talk from the company that it was looking to raise prices. Just last week, at the MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Conference, T-Mobile's Chief Financial Officer Peter Osvaldik hinted that an increase was coming. He did not disclose any details at the time. 

A rise in prices post-Sprint merger

Angela Lang/CNET

As part of its merger with Sprint, which was completed in 2020, T-Mobile was legally required to not raise prices for three years. That period ended last year and the carrier has since introduced its Go5G assortment of plans: Go5G, Go5G Plus and Go5G Next. These plans have some new features, but they're also pricier than T-Mobile's earlier offerings. The carrier still allows new customers to sign up for older or cheaper plans like Magenta, Magenta Max and Essentials, but some of these plans (namely the Magentas) are buried on its website and you'll have to call in or chat with T-Mobile support if they want to sign up. 

Even to just find the Magenta and Magenta Max options today requires heading to T-Mobile's plan page, clicking "see more available plans" then clicking on a link to "learn more about Magenta and Magenta Max plans." 

In a recent report Finland-based research firm Rewheel, as spotted by Light Reading, found that since the T-Mobile/Sprint merger the US wireless market has become "one of the most expensive mobile markets in the world."

While this move has been the first price hike from T-Mobile, its rivals have already made multiple increases to their respective plans over the last couple of years. AT&T raised rates for its latest plans by 99 cents earlier this year and has gone through other rate increases for older plans

Verizon has similarly gone through a bevy of price increases for its plans, most recently for those who were still on its older 5G Get More, Do More, Play More and Start plans in February after raising rates on some of its older unlimited plans last summer while also adding in new fees for other, older plans last year.

As with other price increases -- including seemingly T-Mobile's -- Verizon's most recent move appeared to be designed push people to switch to some of its newer, more expensive, wireless plans

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