By Kate Tummarello - 04/14/14 10:46 AM EDT
T-Mobile will no longer charge customers high overage fees if they use more minutes, texts and data than allotted in their monthly plans, and it's pressuring the other major wireless companies to do the same.
"Charging overage fees is a greedy, predatory practice that needs to go," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement Monday.
Wireless companies — such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint — "lure customers in" with low monthly prices for limited plans and charge "often dramatically higher" prices when customers go over those limits, T-Mobile said.
"These plans are purpose-built to drive customers over that invisible line into massive overage charges," resulting in "a culture of fear, worry and surprise every time the wireless bill arrives."
In addition to announcing an end to overage fees for its own customers, T-Mobile is pushing Verizon, AT&T and Sprint to abandon their overage fees.
Legere encouraged customers to sign an online petition asking T-Mobile's competitors to abolish "these outrageous overage penalties for all consumers -- because it's the right thing to do."
"As an advocate for consumers, we're putting a stop to that," he said. "I personally won't be satisfied until we obliterate this shameful practice from the entire wireless industry."
The move comes after last year's reports that Sprint is considering a bid for T-Mobile.
That merger would allow the smaller carriers to better compete with industry leaders AT&T and Verizon but — like the unsuccessful AT&T purchase of T-Mobile in 2011 — would bring the wireless market down to three competitors.