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T-Mobile CEO Sievert reverses course, calling off customer migration plans originally meant to be limited in scope

T-Mobile Cancels Migration Plan for Customers

This has been a strange year for T-Mobile. As its third quarter report attests, business remains very strong. But the company has also done some un Un-carrier things. It started charging customers $5 if they wanted to pay their invoices at a local T-Mobile store. It also demanded that subscribers saving $5 a month using AutoPay link to a debit card or a bank account.

But the coup de grace was a leaked internal T-Mobile document that revealed how the carrier was going to take some subscribers on older plans and have them migrate to pricier newer plans. T-Mobile spun this by saying, “We are not raising the price of any of our plans; we are moving you to a newer plan with more benefits at a different cost.” T-Mobile said that “there will be an increase of approximately $10 per line with the migration.”

At the time, T-Mobile did say that subscribers asked to migrate could call T-Mobile’s Customer Care support line (1-800-937-8997) and ask to opt out of the move. But as we said, it wasn’t clear whether those opting out would be permanently saved from having to move to the more expensive plan, or be given a temporary reprieve. Last week, a report said that only 1% of T-Mobile customers would be affected by the migration which was scheduled to start with affected subscribers’ November billing cycle.

But this morning, when the company released its strong third-quarter earnings report and held a conference call with media and Wall Street analysts, CEO Mike Sievert said that the carrier is canceling the migration. “We tend to do tests and pilots of things quite a bit to try to figure out what’s the right answer,” Sievert said. “In this case, we had a test sell to try to understand customer interest in, and acceptance of, migrating off old legacy rate plans to something that’s higher value, for them and for us.”

Leaked T-Mobile internal memo revealed its migration plan earlier this month

The executive said that the migration was part of a training program and wasn’t meant to be a “broad, national thing.” He also said that based on feedback, this “particular test sell isn’t something that our customers are going to love.”

Mike Katz, president of marketing at the carrier, said that T-Mobile will continue to run more tests. “I would expect to see more of those kinds of tests from us because it’s been a consistent practice throughout the entire ‘un-carrier’ journey so that we get it right for the experience for our customers.

We remain very interested in rationalizing our legacy rate plans,” added CEO Sievert. “So we’re going to stay at it.” However, he did say that when T-Mobile tries again to get customers to switch plans, it will have to “do something different” than what the carrier was planning to do.

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