Wireless carriers raked in more than $1.5 billion in data overage charges in 2013, but T-Mobile announced during Un-carrier 8.0 Tuesday that its customers can avoid those penalties by rolling over those unused gigabytes into the all-new "Data Stash."
That data is yours, said T-Mobile CEO John Legere during Un-carrier 8.0. Legere says the decision to become the first wireless carrier to roll over data was influenced by Twitter users, as users of the social media site requested the service feature more than 40,000 times.
"Can you imagine your gas station siphoning unused gas from your car each month? The U.S. wireless industry is even worse," said Legere. "Americans have been gamed by the carriers into buying huge data plans -- all to avoid getting screwed with overage penalties. Only to find out they bought more than they need, which is then confiscated by the carrier. For the consumer it's lose, lose."
T-Mobile's potentially disruptive Data Stash is available to Simple Choice customers who have bought additional 4G LTE data, a plan that includes at least 3 GB of data or 1 GB on tablets. There's nothing eligible customers need to do to take advantage of Data Stash, as the feature will be tagged onto plans automatically in January 2015.
Data Stash isn't available to customers of starter and prepaid plans, although T-Mobile has indicated that it plans to offer it to the latter group sometime soon. The program also isn't available to customers on the promotional four lines and 10 GB of data for $100 plan.
To celebrate the new program, which kicks off in the new year, T-Mobile is offering customers a complimentary 10 GB of data. The roll-over mechanic kicks in after that 10 GB of data has been consumed.
Stashed data stays alive for 12 months, with excess data from each new month being granted a year of life of its own. During the months when subscribers consume more than their plan's allotment of data, their service will lean on their Data Stashes.
As T-Mobile prepares to become the first wireless carrier to offer roll over data, Legere reminded everyone that his company has all ready done away with overages and stated that Data Stash was just the logical progression of that plan.
"That's not part of our plan," said Legere of overage charges: "In April of this year, in anything legacy based, I announced that all overage charges are done. I actually did a Change.org petition asking all of the carriers to join in to stop this practice of overages. It's just a silly game."