T-Mobile rolls out new plans, huge monthly fee increases for unlimited voice on family plans

There have been rumors of new T-Mobile plans, code named Project Dark, and earlier today T-Mobile took the wraps off of their new Even More and Even More Plus plans. The plans include options for obtaining an account with no contract, paying for your phone with monthly no-interest payments, and having unlimited voice, text, and data service. While they are quite competitive with other carrier unlimited plans, existing T-Mobile customers need to take a hard comparative look at the new plans and their current plans before jumping on these new plans too quickly. In my case where I have a MyFaves 1800 shared minute family plan with five lines, unlimited family text messaging, and smartphone data on one line I discovered that I would see a minimum increase of $75/month if I wanted to gain unlimited voice calling and add one smartphone data service.

There have been rumors of new T-Mobile plans, code named Project Dark, and earlier today T-Mobile took the wraps off of their new Even More and Even More Plus plans. The plans include options for obtaining an account with no contract, paying for your phone with monthly no-interest payments, and having unlimited voice, text, and data service. While they are quite competitive with other carrier unlimited plans, existing T-Mobile customers need to take a hard comparative look at the new plans and their current plans before jumping on these new plans too quickly. In my case where I have a MyFaves 1800 shared minute family plan with five lines, unlimited family text messaging, and smartphone data on one line I discovered that I may be able to reduce my bill $35/month if I wanted to give up MyFaves and 300 minutes (also pay a $175 activation fee). This is not a realistic option though as I would easily go over 1500 minutes without MyFaves and maybe even with MyFaves so I won't look at plan downgrades. I would see a minimum increase of $75/month if I wanted to gain unlimited voice calling and add one smartphone data service. Unless you regularly exceed your voice plan minutes there looks to be no reason at all to change.

The major difference between these two plan offerings is that the Even More plans require a 2 year contract and give you subsidized phones while the Even More Plus plans have no annual contract and have you bring an existing phone or buy a new no-contract priced phone. Keep in mind that these unlimited plans do not have MyFaves because with unlimited calling this is no longer needed. Unfortunately, the old plans are gone now so there is no way I can ever change my plan or I will lose my grandfathering and be stuck with a much higher cost plan.

There are a number of different combinations so make sure you go through ones that apply to your situation before making any changes. Let's take a look at two available to me that apply to my five family plan package.

Current plan

Here is my current setup for my family: $89.99 - T-Mobile 1800 minute MyFaves family plan $24.99 - Unlimited smartphone data with my G1 $24.99 - Unlimited text messaging for all five lines $29.97 - $9.99 fee for each of three additional phone lines (2 included with $89.99 fee) $169.90 Total

Each phone now has five numbers they can designate to send to and receive from for an unlimited number of minutes. This plan works perfectly for my family since we are heavy text message users with my wife and her PartyLite business consuming 90% of the shared plan minutes each month. My three daughters have a few select friends they can now call without worrying about minutes too so everyone is quite happy with this setup.

Since their new 1500 minute plans without MyFaves are an impossible option for me, I will have to compare the two unlimited talk plans. In my current situation, I consider this virtually unlimited talk since I primarily only talk with five or less main people now that fit into MyFaves anyway so there isn't a huge benefit to me with the unlimited voice plan.

I also already have my own phones so I won't count phone hardware in this picture. Keep in mind though that there are some major differences between these two plan systems with one having subsidized phones and the other having non-subsidized full price phones. These costs can be HUGE so you will most likely be better off bringing your own unlocked phones, from eBay, Buy.com, or Amazon.com, to the table if you are going for the lower monthly cost Even More Plus plans. T-Mobile actually has a nice pop-up that appears if you add the phones you want with one of the two plans and then click on Change Plan so you can see what the cost impact of the hardware is for your situation.

New Even More Family Plan

$99.99 - Base plan price giving unlimited minutes on all lines $40 - Required unlimited smartphone web and unlimited text messaging for one smartphone line $40 - $10 for each of four additional lines for unlimited text messaging $120 -$40 for each of three additional lines of family plan $299.99 Total, plus $175 activation fee

New Even More Plus Family Plan

$139.99 - Base plan price giving unlimited minutes and text messaging on all lines, with unlimited smartphone data on two lines $105 -$35 for each of three additional lines of family plan $244.99 Total, plus $175 activation fee

So as you can see the Even More Plus is at least $50/month cheaper than the Even More plan (at least because the Even More plan only includes one smartphone data plan while the Plus plan has two). If you have existing phones then the Even More Plus with no annual contract may be the way to go. Your hardware costs would have to be greater than $1,200 for you to consider the Even More plan over the Even More Plus plan, but with a myTouch 3G with a full price of $499.99 that doesn't take much to reach.

As you can see the increase for my own situation ranges from $75 to $130 per month. The additional services are unlimited phone calls and one more smartphone data line. You also get to know that no contract is hanging over your head with an Even More Plus plan, but that leads me to wonder what T-Mobile is doing about those of us who still have time left on existing contracts. I think I will have to place a call to T-Mobile to find out about this.

My wife doesn't care to have data on her phone and we get by just fine with 1800 shared minutes and MyFaves. If you make a ton of calls, then these new T-Mobile plans may be wonderful for you and as my daughters move on to college then these new family plans may make more sense. They may also make a ton of sense for those who are looking for unlimited individual plans. I would have liked to have seen the limited minute plans have the MyFaves option since most people rarely use all their minutes anyways and these unlimited plans are just ways for carriers to make a huge amount of money that customers never "spend".

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