Could Uncarrier 9.0 be include an announcement that taxes will now be included in plan prices?
While the general consensus seems to be that small business will be a major focus on T-Mobile’s Uncarrier 9.0 event later today, it makes sense that T-Mobile will include something for regular consumers like you and me, as well. T-Mobile CEO John Legere has set quite a precedent with previous Uncarrier events, which all seem to have a few common themes, including:
- A reduction or elimination of a common consumer pain point.
- Something to attract new customers.
- Something to keep current customers.
A common complaint that many consumer name is the fact that wireless bills can be highly unpredictable due to taxes and fees that are never disclosed completely until after a customer receives his or her first bill. Worse yet, every carrier seems to have different ways to calculate required government taxes, which means that plans at the same price point that should cost the same across Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint all have slight variations – sometimes as much as $10-$15 per line!
T-Mobile is in a position to correct this, and there are several ways it could go about doing so:
- Option 1: Convert all Simple Choice plans to prepaid. Customers are already “pre-paying” for the next month’s service, and T-Mobile has continually blurred the lines between Simple Choice postpaid, Simple Choice No Credit Check, and Simple Choice Prepaid. By classifying all Simple Choice plans as prepaid from a governmental/regulatory perspective, T-Mobile could simply charge normal sales tax to all its customers, making it much easier for customers to predict exactly what they would be paying each month. This is a change that would have absolutely no negative effects on current customers, and most would see a decrease in their bills. The government might not like this, however, since it would be getting quite a bit less in revenue from T-Mobile.
- Option 2: Average what everyone across the nation normally pays in taxes, and roll them all into existing price plans. This would have a net effect of T-Mobile losing money on some people who live in high tax rate areas, making money on those who live in low tax areas, but overall breaking even across the board.
- Option 3: Do option 2, but add that fee as a single line item on everyone’s bills. So, the base rate would be – for example – $50/month, plus $5 for all optional and required taxes and fees. This $5 could go up or down throughout the year depending on what taxes do across the country, but it will be the same for all T-Mobile customers everywhere. Again, this will make it much easier for people to know exactly how much they are paying, and overall it would benefit most people financially, too.
There are indications T-Mobile is rethinking how it goes about calculating its taxes. A statement on my most recent bill read, “Beginning 3/21/2015: (1) the regulatory programs fee is increasing; (2) your taxes may be decreasing.” The date certainly coincides with this Uncarrier event.
In any case, Uncarrier 9.0 will start in just a couple hours, so everything should be much clearer then.