T-Mobile's Legere renews call for Verizon, AT&T and Sprint to drop data overage charges

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) CEO John Legere is keeping up the pressure on Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint (NYSE:S) to drop overage charges on their domestic plans, as T-Mobile did a year ago. Legere said in a new video that if a petition he started on the issue, which has already attracted around 200,000 signatures, gathers 50,000 more signatures, he will "send them a message that they won't miss."

"It could be anything from a sky-written nastygram above AT&T's headquarters to a giant greeting card delivered to the front door of Verizon," he said in a video posted on YouTube. "We'll give you options and you can vote on Twitter." [click to tweet]

"Let's see if we can at least get the duopoly to wake up and take some action to eliminate this ridiculous practice," Legere said.

Source: T-Mobile

"Sprint listens to its customers and gives them what they want--the best value in wireless from rate plans that fit the needs of families, couples and individuals to the many options customers have to acquire a device," Sprint said in a statement in response to the video. "Plus, we alleviate the customer worry about data overages by having the best unlimited plans among all national carriers in the U.S. iPhone users can get unlimited data, talk and text while on the Sprint network for only $50 per month--and only $60 per month for unlimited service on all our other devices. T-Mobile charges $80."

Representatives from Verizon and AT&T declined to comment.

A year ago T-Mobile decided to abolish overages on its domestic plans. When T-Mobile made that announcement, Legere also started an online petition at Change.org/AbolishOverages, aimed at pressuring other carriers to follow suit.

At the time it decided to drop all overage charges, T-Mobile already did not charge overages on its no-contract "Simple Choice" plans. On those plans, customers have their data speeds throttled down to 2G speeds for the remainder of their billing cycle when they exceed their data allotments. T-Mobile said 89 percent of its branded postpaid customers were on Simple Choice plans at the end of the fourth quarter of 2014, but the no overage charge policy applies to all of its customers.

However, T-Mobile has not dropped overages for its international plans. International fees still apply, as do other fees, including charges for things like domestic toll calling, international toll calling, international roaming, etc.

Legere said in the video that carriers collected more than $1 billion in overage fees from their customers last year. "The carriers' dirty little secret about overages is that they slam you for using your device exactly like you're supposed to," he said. "These penalties often hit people who can least afford them. I mean, if you are going past your data limit, it's probably because you don't have a big data limit to begin with and you're operating on a conservative budget."

The overage fees other carriers charge varies by the plan. For Verizon's More Everything shared data plans, which come with unlimited voice and messaging, data overages are $15 per 250 MB on its 500 MB plan and $15 per 1 GB for plans with 1 GB or more. On AT&T's Mobile Share Value plans, which also come with unlimited voice and messaging, overages are $20 per 300 MB on the 300 MB plan, $20 per 500 MB on the 1 GB plan, and $15 per 1 GB on all other plans. On Sprint's Family Share Pack shared data plans, the carrier charges 1.5 cents per MB above a customer's data allotment.

Many carriers have tools on their website to help customers estimate their data usage so they can pick the best plan. Carriers also give customers several alerts as they near their allotments, and customers can change their data plans as often as they want to.

For more:
- see this T-Mobile post
- see this video

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