What Just Made T-Mobile so Appealing?

I'm a long time T-Mobile customer. I have always been happy with their service, as they are the only carrier that has ever offered the options that I personally wanted in a mobile plan.

However, the sudden enthusiasm of T-Mobile's service this week has me astounded. T-Mobile has been a good deal for a long while. So what changes are people so excited about all of a sudden?

In their announcement this week, T-Mobile made three major changes about their service:

  1. T-Mobile streamlined their plans by removing many options.
  2. T-Mobile's new plans are contract-free.
  3. T-Mobile activated their new LTE network.

Before the new changes, the cheapest plan you could get had a limited (but probably enough for most) number of minutes, no texting, no data, and no phone subsidy. Now the base plan includes unlimited voice and texting, no phone subsidy, and the smallest data package, with the only option being how much data you want beyond that on each line. Meanwhile, the price for getting a new plan, as far as I know, is exactly the same as would have been before to get one with the same unlimited options.

As someone who has no need for a data plan and would never use more than a couple hundred minutes a month, I'd be disappointed to switch to a new plan. It would be a ripoff.

Don't get me wrong. I think some of the pricing changes that T-Mobile made are for the better in the long run. It never made sense to charge extra for texting, and their own pricing for "upgrades" was entirely arbitrary. The ability to buy a phone at full price for cheap at any time is awesome, locked or not. The more we start thinking about and buying our phones as computers, the better. It's not inherently bad that T-Mobile is taking away options, but that's not really something to be happy about, and it doesn't explain the enthusiasm.

So if T-Mobile's pricing hasn't changed, is everyone that excited about the fact that T-Mobile's now forcing new users out of pesky subsidies? Is it that the service is now contract-free, or do many Verge have access to the new LTE network?