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Previously, we published an article detailing changes to the Netflix “On Us” benefit offered by T-Mobile. In that article, we said that customers receiving “Basic” Netflix will be moved to “Standard with Ads”, and that other plans won’t be affected. Unfortunately, our information was incorrect, and it’s a lot worse than that.

What the document shows

Internal documents, shown below, seemed to indicate that T-Mobile was switching customers receiving Netflix Basic to the new Netflix Standard with Ads plan. This was due to Netflix discontinuing the Basic plan entirely. What we did not know, and what the document failed to make clear enough (in our opinion), is that it isn’t just Netflix Basic customers getting moved.

Based on a wide range of customers receiving text notifications on a variety of plans, including premium ones, as well as notes and comments we’ve seen on internal systems, we are now forced to assume that every single customer receiving Netflix “On Us” via T-Mobile will now be given the new “Netflix Standard with Ads”, regardless of the plan.

Below is a chart detailing the new Netflix tiers and their cost. This applies to every single customer that receives Netflix “On Us”. The one highlighted is what every customer will now receive “On Us”.

The only detail we currently lack is if T-Mobile ONE customers will now receive Standard with Ads for free. Currently those customers are the only ones that pay a few bucks to get Standard, so those customers may end up “saving” a few bucks, at the cost of now receiving ads.

This is obviously a huge blow to existing customers (and future new customers too). Customers on Magenta Plus/MAX, and Go5G Plus/Next have, until now, received Standard Netflix with no ads completely free. T-Mobile ONE customers were receiving it at just a few bucks, as well. These customers will now be forced to watch ads if they want to keep their free Netflix.

We messed up

We here at The Mobile Report often receive documents meant for employee eyes only. These documents are shared to us confidentially for the purposes of informing customers about changes companies are making. Famously, T-Mobile recently considered migrating customers on older plans to new ones without consent, and the result of sharing that document presumably led to the company reversing course. Perhaps this is our punishment.

Unfortunately, sometimes a side effect of documents being “internal” means that we on the outside can interpret them wrong. It appears that is exactly what happened originally in this situation, and we sincerely apologize for the confusion.

T-Mobile has a communication problem

Making all of this worse, however, is how T-Mobile has communicated the Netflix changes. In fact, there hasn’t been much communication at all.

The only “official” announcement of the Netflix “On Us” changes comes via text messages sent to customers directly. These text messages proclaim the changes to Netflix are an amazing benefit, and that customers are getting a free upgrade at no cost! Wow! In reality, quite a number of customers are receiving a downgrade from ad-free to ad-supported.

Not only is the text sent by T-Mobile misleading at best, it caused confusion among customers, journalists like myself, and employees alike. Why would T-Mobile call the changes an upgrade if premium plan customers were actually getting a downgrade? The assumption, initially, was that the texts sent to premium customers were a mistake. Unfortunately they weren’t.

In this situation, and in ones in the past, T-Mobile has failed to adequately communicate to their customers exactly what changes they are making. In addition to staying silent to their customers, they’ve stayed silent to the media as well.

Multiple emails requesting clarification from T-Mobile have gone unanswered today. A simple answer to an early email would have easily avoided the confusion that occurred today. Instead, the company prefers silence and confusion, possibly to avoid the inevitable outrage. You can be the judge.

To be honest, even at this point, we aren’t 100% sure we have all the facts straight. Perhaps T-Mobile is leaving themselves wiggle room to back out if things go South. Who knows.

The facts, by the numbers

T-Mobile began offering Netflix “On Us” on the T-Mobile ONE plan in 2017. Since then, prices have gone up, and T-Mobile sometimes covered those costs. Other times they didn’t.

At most, the company paid $15.49 for customers receiving Standard Netflix “On Us”. On the ONE plan the company was paying roughly $13.99 per Netflix subscription. These numbers are, of course, before any bulk discounts the company surely receives from Netflix. All customers also had the option to upgrade their Netflix and pay the difference.

Now, the company will be paying the equivalent of just $6.99 per account, regardless of which T-Mobile plan you’re on. Now you see why they’re doing it.

Some of the blame is on Netflix here too. Many people would say the company’s library of quality content has been dwindling for years now, all while raising prices near constantly. You can see below just how much Netflix’s prices have increased over the years.

Source: Flixed.io

Perhaps Netflix forced T-Mobile’s hand here, and made them switch everyone over to ad-supported to make more money. We’ll likely never know. Regardless of who gets the blame, the end result is the same: customers lose big.

At least you have Hulu (with even more ads) to look forward to.

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