In an effort to continue what it has long described as a more user-based way of doing business, American mobile phone operator T-Mobile has announced that it is ending overage charges to its customers. It comes as the carrier aims to attract new customers and steal them away from other carriers, notably AT&T and Verizon by paying its fees to end contracts.
The move is being seen as a positive step forward for the cell phone sector in the United States, where many users often have overage fees on their bills if they use too much data or go beyond the specific plans that they have signed up for.
T-Mobile is also calling on other operators to follow suit in an effort to make the sector more customer friendly and forward-thinking.
The new move will take effect in May this year, with the June billings the first to end overage costs.
For example, if a user has a specific plan that sets the amount of data that can be used on a smartphone, or the number of minutes available for talk and text, once a customer goes beyond those limits, they are tagged with massively higher fees that jump a bill tens, if not hundreds, of dollars higher.
In response, T-Mobile has said this creates "a culture of fear, worry and surprise every time the wireless bill arrives."
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been looking at ways to reduce those high fees and in 2010 introduced a proposal that would cap the amount companies would be allowed to charge for overage fees.
The move has been widely supported by the general public and a number of online users have said they are thinking seriously about switching to the carrier in an effort to ensure they do not see their bills reach such high amounts.
While the overage fees have been a major part of the cell phone industry in the United States, some view it as a predatory industry where lower income users who sign up for smaller data and voice/text plans are then hit with massive bills once they go over the allotted amount. T-Mobile is hoping that by ending such overage charges it can help to reduce pains for customers and increase their market share.