T-Mobile has announced substantial changes to its pay as you go program that will go into effect on August 17th. The changes will bring some positive aspects such as a flat $0.10 per minute rate for voice or text messages, but one major negative is the move to a mandatory $3 monthly fee that grants customers either 30 minutes of talk or 30 text messages depending on usage.
While the previous PAYG rates ranged from $0.33 to $0.10 depending on the prepaid card denomination purchased, the new rates will do away with the common practice of purchasing a $100 prepaid card for a year of usage and topping up for $10 every 90 days to keep the account active in a bid to simplify the service. Another advantage of the current system is the capability of switching between the PAYG option and the unlimited daily options with data access when needed, which is also expected to go away with the new changes.
While the changes are meant to encourage more frequent usage for PAYG customers as well as simplifying purchases for international travelers and first-time users, it seems that T-Mobile is looking to push away light users and those that want emergency glovebox phones, as the changes also mean that the current system for pay as you go will be replaced and those users that choose not to move to the new plan are expected to be grandfathered. As for the new data passes, they will range in denomination from $5 for 500MB good for one day and $10 for 1GB good for 7 days, which in theory makes it perfect for travelers with data needs.
Update: T-Mobile has confirmed that the new changes will replace the current pay-as-you-go service and that current users will be grandfathered under the old service until they decide to switch to the new offering, including any Gold Rewards status earned for the life of the grandfathered account. Should a user decide to move to the new Pay-As-You-Go option, they will lose the grandfathered account status.