T-Mobile has announced that it's expanding its offer of a $50 per month unlimited voice service plan
across the US, becoming the first of the country's four biggest operators to start to fall into line with the $50 voice ceiling
. Given the constant price battles in the mobile industry, you'd expect the other major operators to follow T-Mobile, or lower the prices of their current unlimited offerings that also include text messages and data. But one interesting aspect of the T-Mobile plan is that it's only available to customers that have had T-Mobile accounts in good standing for at least 22 months, making it more of an effort to retain existing customers than attract new ones. This reflects the rapidly changing focus of the business from attracting new customers
to also retaining current ones. One of the quandaries posed by US mobile operators was that, historically, they gave better deals and prices (especially on new handsets) to new customers than current ones, giving good customers an incentive to churn to a rival so they could get a free new device. This stance has changed over the last couple of years, as the industry standard contract length has grown from one to two years. Second, the T-Mobile offer reflects the company's standing in the market. Its quarterly net subscriber additions are falling
, while the company's seeing a lot of competition at the low end of the market. This new plan is aimed at helping on both fronts.