What is T-Mobile even doing?

The Un-Carrier has already backpedaled on its singular data plan.

The roll-out of T-Mobile One has been a mess of consumer confusion and disdain. With headlines saying that T-Mobile’s new unlimited plan has “some nasty fine print”and customers loudly complaining on social media, it’s no wonder that T-Mobile quickly backpedaled on its one-size-fits-all plan.

This week, the company announced T-Mobile One Plus, which is essentially a premium version of last week’s plan. Unfortunately, the higher-priced option does little to fix T-Mobile One’s biggest problems, and the company’s rapid flip-flopping suggests its leadership is, at best, erratic.

It’s not just T-Mobile One (Plus), either. T-Mobile has made a number of contradictory statements this year alone:

Pivoting away from unlimited data.

In March 2016, CFO Braxton Carter told investors that the company hoped to pivot away from unlimited data, and emphasized that the Un-Carrier has been raising costs for unlimited data customers.

“We have and continue to have a strategy of pivoting away from unlimited, and again I’ll point to the $25 price increase [for unlimited data], two times over the last two years.”

It looked like the unlimited data option at T-Mobile was on its last legs, but then. . .

“Going all in” on unlimited data.

T-Mobile announced on August 18 that it was “going all in” on unlimited data. The company held a surprise conference call declaring that data plans were dead, and T-Mobile One was the killer.

CEO John Legere said T-Mobile had been considering the move to unlimited data for nearly two years — conflicting with Carter’s statement to investors five months prior.

But given the plan’s poor offerings and the massive customer backlash, T-Mobile One feels hastily slapped together. If this plan is the culmination of a two year process, what exactly were T-Mobile executives contemplating all this time?

The data plan is dead. Long live the data plan.

T-Mobile’s network is “the reason the Un-carrier can now eliminate the data plan,” the company’s bold press release announced. COO Mike Sievert made it clear that T-Mobile One was the future:

We’ll begin to phase [current Simple Choice data plans] out right away on Sept. 6 when T-Mobile One launches. We haven’t announced an end date for each of the plans, there will be a time period while we get our customers and our team transitioned, but we will begin phasing Simple Choice out on Sept. 6 when this plan launches. And some of the plans will remain for a short time thereafter.

That sentiment lasted a whole afternoon — almost. The company backtracked from that statement just hours after announcing the new plan, when CMO Andrew Sherrard told PC Mag that most Simple Choice plans will be sticking around. “We’ll still have the rest of the Simple Choice lineup, you can still go buy that $50 plan,” he said.

One becoming many.

Because of restrictions on data, T-Mobile has been accused of not knowing what “unlimited” (or “one,” for that matter) actually means.

As part of the just-announced fixes, the company has two plans called T-Mobile One: the regular plan that throttles video to SD-quality, and a “plus” version that allows customers unlimited HD video day passes and slightly faster hotspot tethering.

If the thought of toggling HD video on each day doesn’t sound appealing, you’re not alone.

When it was first announced, this was supposed to be the plan that upended “the very idea of traditional wireless rate plans with a single, simple, 100% unlimited offer.”

But in a world where the best laid plans can go astray, a seemingly slapdash one like T-Mobile One can collapse under the weight of confusion, caveats and contradictions.

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