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T-Mobile snuck in a huge price hike to unlimited data without telling anyone

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During its lavish Uncarrier event yesterday, T-Mobile drew headlines with its Binge On initiative that will exempt Netflix, HBO, and other video streaming services from customers' data plans. But the company also took the opportunity to raise prices while the world kept its eyes elsewhere. T-Mobile will now charge $45 for unlimited data, up from $30. That means the total cost of the carrier’s "Simple Choice" plan including unlimited data will be $95 for a single line.

In exchange, T-Mobile says it's doubling the amount of data customers can use when turning their smartphone into a mobile hotspot, from 7GB to 14GB, and will give away a free movie rental from Vudu once a month starting next year. The change takes effect on November 15th, but current unlimited data plan owners are exempt from the change. If those customers decide they want to double their mobile hotspot limit, they can decide to pay the extra $15 for the upgraded plan.

A 50 percent hike for unlimited data

T-Mobile CEO John Legere made a point yesterday to skewer competitors onstage for preying on customers with overage charges and tactics designed to push smartphone owners over their data limit. He said overage charges will hit $2.4 billion this year, while telecom companies will collect $45 billion worth of unused data customers end up paying for without needing it. Of course, T-Mobile won't begin charging customers who go over their limit, but Legere and COO Mike Sievert announced the mobile hotspot benefit while being careful not to include details about the price bump.

T-Mobile is also making changes to its lower-tier data plans, though at the overall benefit of customers. For new subscribers of the company's second-lowest data tier, the 6GB plan, you'll pay $65 a month starting November 15th. The plan previously cost $60 a month for only 3GB of data. The 5GB plan, which used to cost $70 a month, now offers 10GB for $80 a month. Existing subscribers get their data limits doubled without having to pay the new price so long as they are on a family plan of two or more users and use T-Mobile's new Family Match pricing, which locks customers into the old prices with the new data limits so long as everyone in the family gets the same size data plan. Yet new customers will still be getting more data for less money on those tiers than they would have previously.

Update at 2:45PM, Wednesday, November 11th: Clarified that non-unlimited data plan owners can only access T-Mobile's double data deal at their current price if they use the company's new Family Match feature.