T-Mobile just got in big trouble

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert standing in front of a banner that reads Internet Freedom.
T-Mobile

T-Mobile just got into some trouble with the National Advertising Program (NAD), a part of the BBB National Programs, an independent non-profit organization, for advertising its supposed “Price Lock” policy for 5G internet service.

Basically, the premise behind the “Price Lock” was a promise not to increase prices for customers who were on the Un-Contract Promise: “Starting January 18, 2024, customers activating or switching to an eligible rate plan get our Price Lock guarantee that only you can change what you pay—and we mean it!”

Unfortunately, despite its name, the price lock policy for T-Mobile customers turned out not to be a price lock at all. The fine print in the disclosure said that it doesn’t lock the price at all but only gives consumers one month of free service if certain conditions are met. Obviously, that’s not a real price lock, and AT&T decided to challenge T-Mobile on it by taking the claim to NAD– pointing out that this misleading claim appeared in print, online, and TV ads.

The BBB ruled in favor of AT&T, and NAD recommended that T-Mobile discontinue or modify the price lock claim for 5G home internet service. In a statement, T-Mobile said it would comply with the decision, though it still believes that the challenged advertisement “appropriately communicates the generous terms of its Price Lock policy.”

Currently,T-Mobile 5G home internet customers can expect to pay about $50-$55 a month for Home Internet Unlimited, which offers unlimited data, and $70-$75 a month for Home Internet Plus, which offers higher speeds, unlimited data, a 5G Wi-Fi gateway and Wi-Fi mesh access point. That’s quite a bit more than those who are able to take advantage of the Home Internet Backup, which has prices as low as $20 a month for 130GB of 5G data. Notably, this tier does not have Price Lock, and the wording has changed to “Get your last month of service on us if we raise your internet rate. Exclusions like taxes & fees apply.”

This latest hit to T-Mobile’s reputation follows an earlier price hike for T-Mobile mobile customers, including myself, who found their monthly phone bills increased by $2 to $5 per line. So far, there hasn’t been an official price hike for T-Mobile 5G home internet customers, but there’s no guarantee that will remain the case as T-Mobile clearly isn’t obligated to honor its Price Lock.