T-Mobile’s Un-carrier Next event took place on Wednesday, September 6, and was all about bringing Netflix to customers on the ONE unlimited plan free of charge. Qualifying families with two or more lines will automatically benefit from Netflix’s standard plan starting September 12.
For those families who already have Netflix – and there are plenty, as Netflix is the most popular premium video streaming service for T-Mobile customers – the carrier will refund the difference back. This means that many customers already using Netflix will receive a near-$120 credit thanks to T-Mobile’s #NetflixOnUs deal. Customers wanting to use Netflix Premium can pay the $2 a month difference. Netflix and T-Mobile will be linking accounts to make the process straightforward for customers. There’s more information at T-Mobile’s dedicated Un-carrier Next website.
On the face of it, this is a very simple move from T-Mobile: the self-called “Un-carrier” has disrupted the American wireless industry as Netflix has disrupted the entertainment business. Simply providing a Netflix subscription doesn’t seem as though it will cause much more disruption, but as T-Mobile’s Chief Executive Officer, John Legere, points out: his company is removing one of the pain points from other carriers offerings, in particular AT&T and Verizon. These two carriers have been offering customers their own entertainment packages for some time now. Verizon bought AOL and Yahoo and AT&T bought DirecTV. Unfortunately, America’s wireless carriers have a very poor track record at making any money from the media, which stands to reason: their area of expertise is in delivering wireless coverage. T-Mobile’s approach is to use one of the industry bests to provide the entertainment. Netflix can concentrate on the entertainment and T-Mobile can concentrate on the wireless network.
One of Legere’s statements will ring true with many of AT&T’s customers. When AT&T first reintroduced an unlimited plan, it came with the caveat that the customer must sign up for the DirecTV service too. How many customers signed up into these new AT&T unlimited plans to then have a DirecTV package added to their plan, costing them more per month? Legere also explains how many deals are “exploding,” that is, after a period of time the promotional price ends and is increased. America’s traditional wireless carriers offer customers something they want with something they don’t want, at a higher cost. T-Mobile’s ambition with the Netflix deal is to offer customers something they want, with something else they want, at no extra charge.
T-Mobile’s guidance does not suggest they expect to sell more connections because of the #NetflixOnUs upgrade, but that it will increase customer loyalty. After all, customers leaving the magenta-colored carrier will not only need to find a new carrier, but will need to pay for their Netflix subscription too. From Thursday, September 7, T-Mobile is running a #NetflixOnUs contest, where fans can tweet their favorite memes for an hourly chance to win prizes including free smartphones, binge boxes, and tickets to see the premier of Netflix’s Stranger Things season two event. Watch the full announcement below.