U.S. Cellular today announced it will start to pay back customers for any unused data during a given monthly billing cycle for those that are signed up to the company's new 'Unlimited with Payback' plan.
The way the plan works is customers enrolled in the plan will have access to the usual unlimited data each month. However, if they manage to keep their data usage below 3GB, then the customer will receive $10 back by way of a bill credit. Essentially, this plan offers consumers unlimited data when they need it, and a financial incentive when they don't use it. What's more, this seems to be a per-line deal so for those who make use of a family plan with four lines tied to the same account, they will be able to save as much as $40 each month. U.S. Cellular is not the first carrier to offer a deal like this as Project Fi by Google works along similar lines. With Fi charging users $10 per month for each GB of data they use, but reimbursing customers for any unused data. Similarly, T-Mobile also offered a similar benefit called "KickBack" where the carrier would reimburse customers with $10 for staying under a preset data limit. Although unlike the new U.S. Cellular version, T-Mobile's KickBack required customers to stay under 2GB of data each month. Furthermore, T-Mobile has since retired this benefit and therefore current or new customers can no longer add the feature to their account.
This is not the first time the Unlimited with Payback plan has been reported on as it was previously understood to be on the way. At the time, it was also suggested the new payback option would arrive along with a slight increase in the monthly cost of the U.S. Cellular plans in general. While the carrier has not announced those price changes in today's press release, they do seem to have taken effect on the company's site. As a result, those signing up to U.S. Cellular should note that the standard unlimited plan will cost $65 per month, while the company's "Unlimited Plus" plan which is said to offer "faster unlimited" will cost $75 per month. The $10 reimbursement then applies on top, meaning the final price should come down to $55 and $65 per month, respectively – providing customers are also signed up to Auto Pay and Paperless Billing.