July 20, 2011

New Data Plans Coming From T-Mobile

T-Mobile USA said on Wednesday that it will offer unlimited data service plans, in a move aimed at bringing in new customers from rival companies such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless who have stopped offering such plans.

The company's mid-tier plan -- which will include unlimited phone calls, text messages, and data usage -- will run for $59.99 per month, a $20 slash in monthly fees. In comparison, Sprint's comparable plan costs $69.99 per month.

T-Mobile, which is awaiting a takeover by AT&T, is trying to remain competitive by offering aggressive pricing plans. It has continued to struggle with securing contract customers and has battled Sprint for months as the two smaller national carriers try to keep an edge on the lucrative smartphone market.

"Our goal is to get the next 100 million Americans on smartphones," said John Clelland, senior vice president of marketing for T-Mobile. "We really do think it's a key that unlocks the next wave of growth."

T-Mobile said the new pricing plans and unlimited data will be available starting on July 24. The unlimited plans will be available with a two-year contract for new and existing customers.

The unlimited data plan, however, comes with strings attached. The $59.99 plan allows the user to eat up 2 gigabytes of music, videos, emails and photos. But once past that level, customers will need to upgrade their plan or risk having their connection slowed to 2G speeds, a practice known as throttling.

The 2GB allotment is sufficient for most people, allowing customers to stream up to 70 hours of music or 17 hours of videos each month.

Clelland said that some consumers felt that a truly unlimited plan was too expensive, since many didn't believe they consumed that much data. "That's why we introduced the notion of tiered high speeds," he said.

For heavy data users, T-Mobile also offers a $74.99 per month data plan that offers 5GB of data before throttling, which is $15 less than before.

AT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans last year, and Verizon Wireless recently announced it would stop offering the plan in July.

T-Mobile's plans are available to customers who want to use their own phone, purchase a phone and pay for it in monthly installments, or buy a subsidized handset in exchange for a contract.


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