So, look... I've been a T-Mobile customer for 18 months for exactly one reason: Nexus phones. They come out on Tmo first, so that's where I am. I have tended to think of Tmo as a carrier that has mediocre coverage, but good pricing, and tacit acceptance of unlocked devices.
That last point was reinforced with by Tmo's Even More Plus plans. You bring the phone (or buy one from them at full price), and since they don't subsidize it you get a cheaper plan. YES. This makes sense. However, late last year, the plans went underground. They weren't advertized on the site. Fine, nerds already knew about them and I was on it. People could still ask for them.
Cut to today when a friend of mine wanted to move to the EM Plus plan as he was way, waaaaaay out of contract. Went into the store, and he finds out that as of last month, the EM Plus plans are totally gone. Not just unadvertised, but you can't get them anymore. They have been replaced by the "Value" plan. And let me tell you, T-Mobile has some big fucking balls to call it a value. Let's examine.
A few months ago, if you had an unlocked phone bought outside the Tmo system (or again, bought a full-price one from them), you would get EM Plus and have a bill that was about $20 cheaper per month. It makes sense since you did not take a subsidy from T-mobile. So you pay more for the phone (likely $500 or more), but the plan is less. It was $60 per month for a single line. Since they didn't cover part of the equipement, there was no commitment to a contract.
Now let's examine the Value Plan. You pay full price for the phone, and get a cheaper plan costing about $10 more than EM Plus, but still cheaper than the regular plans. Kind of good, right? Oh, except that you have to agree to a 2-year contract. WHAT? Same deal you used to have, but with a 2-year contract. Why? I do not understand. What cost are they trying to recoup by forcing people to stay on for 2-years?
If you bring a phone in from outside, you're screwed. How screwed? Really screwed. T-mobile will not let these users get on a plan other than prepaid. That's $70 per month, and it is the only non-contract plan available. In addition, the prepaid plan has restrictions like no roaming and no call forwarding (making Google Voice pretty useless). Even AT&T and Verizon allow no-commitment pricing.
When this was explained to my friend at the store, it seemed insane to me. So I chatted up a Tmo rep online, and they confirmed the exact same information. T-Mobile used to be great for users that liked to jump phones a lot, but now it appears those days are over. T-Mobile is acting like two things it is not: A CDMA carrier and a top-tier carrier. Stop it Tmo, you stop that right now.
Fuck it... they're just going to be bought by AT&T soon anyway.