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When is a Price Lock Not a Price Lock?

There has been an unwritten rule applicable to some cell plans: Your monthly rate will not go up as long as you keep your current plan. Certainly, this is not true for all plans and all companies, but many people have benefited from this traditionally.

As some companies began raising rates, in May 2022, T-Mobile, the “uncarrier,” introduced Price Lock to formalize their policy.

In January 2023, here is how T-Mobile advertised “Price Lock.”

Price Lock

Even the fine print was pretty straight forward.


Price Lock fine print

If you were in most of their major plans, your monthly rate would stay put. Period.

Now, in 2024, T-Mobile decided to redefine what it means by “Price Lock” for new customers or people switching plans.


Price lock fine print 2024

The policy now says if they raise your price and you decide to switch carriers, they will pay your final bill, as reported here.

So to answer the question posed in the headline of this story, “When is a price lock not a price lock?” Answer: When T-Mobile offers it.

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15 thoughts on “When is a Price Lock Not a Price Lock?”

  1. Before the T-Mobile Sprint merger, T-mobile really was the un-carrier and was very competitive. In the past couple of years, they are getting very greedy.

    Take for example, they say they offer the same deals for new and existing customers, but what you’ll see if that most deals require adding a line…that’s essentially restricting to new customers only.
    Their phone promotions now require the newest and most expensive phone plans…which cost much more than old plans.
    T-mobile is getting greedy

  2. I believe letting T-Mobile buy Sprint was a mistake, but it’s a mistake only allowed because the cell phone industry is already so government captured. We need a more free cell phone market. Instead what we have is a cellphone marketplace dominated by three companies that are able to retain that control because the price and availability of spectrum is tightly controlled by an FCC dominated by former cell phone executives.

    • Setting up a cell phone company isn’t like starting a factory to make plastic widgets to sell at Walmart. It needs infrastructure like land to build cell towers and power that taps off the local grid. A “more free” cell market will probably mean each company wanting its own network until we have a forest of cell towers springing up everywhere, so for me it’s a hard NO. The ones we have now are rather ugly. Eventually, with too much competition, some of those companies will go bust. Then who will be responsible for demolishing those dead towers and restoring the landscape?

  3. Reminds of a Ginsu Knife ad — “lifetime guarantee!” – turns out, it’s the lifetime of the knife, not yours.
    Nothing lasts forever, and anything that ‘guarantees’ that immediately becomes suspect as a poor consumer choice. Caveat emptor.

    • The meaning of “guarantee” is more squishy than warranty, but there are some companies out there who still seem serious about honoring the lifetime warranty of their products. When the handle on my 10(?) year old Contigo travel mug broke recently, they replaced it in an easy process and I had a complete replacement within days.

  4. There are companies besides the Big Three that offer great rates with no-nonsense, flexible phone plans, and excellent coverage, as they generally piggy-back on one of the Big Three’s networks, and they will port your number with no problem. There’s no rule that says you have to sign up with “A”, “T”, or “V”. A little online research will take you to some very good options.

    • I’ve had Page Plus since I first bought a cellphone in 2007. I have a ‘pay as you go’ plan. I pay $25 for 416 minutes, I do have to ‘re-up’ every four months but everything carries over. I do not access the internet on my phone (if I need to check transit times, I use wifi) & very rarely make calls, it’s perfect for me.
      I do have a ‘lifetime’ locked-in price for my home internet, I pay $20.00 a month for over 150 Mbps.

      • Gert… you can get 2000 minutes for $20 at Tello.com but you have to buy a monthly data plan. The cheapest is $5 for 1 gig, and it has unlimited texting. I know you don’t need data… but this probably works out to be less expensive than your current cell plan.

  5. Years ago I paid a premium price for a Microsoft mouse. I was willing to spend a bit more because of the “lifetime warranty.” When that mouse failed I asked Microsoft to replace it under the warranty. It turned the lifetime they meant was the lifetime of the mouse. I was told that when it failed, it had reached the end of its life! How was I to know it would turn out to be a gotcha? All I could do was laugh!

  6. Aren’t these some of the same companies that don’t understand the word “UNLIMITED”?
    If it is ‘unlimited’, then why do they tell you how much you’ve used?

  7. We can thank our consumer protection agencies such as the FTC, FCC, CPC, FDA etc, for not doing what we expect from them. The only thing they protect is their own interests.

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