T-Mobile, Sprint step up unlimited data plans, eye Verizon, AT&T family plans

T-Mobile is offering unlimited data for all of its subscribers at $70 a month for first line, $50 for the second and $20 for each additional line.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

T-Mobile CEO John Legere

T-Mobile is doing away with data limits on subscriber contracts in a move that'll nix the idea that the wireless was reaching a detente where pricing pressure would ease. In addition, Sprint is also rolling out new unlimited plans.

At its 12th Un-carrier event, T-Mobile announced that it will offer unlimited data to everyone via a plan called T-Mobile ONE, which includes unlimited talk, text, and data.

The upshot here is that T-Mobile is going after the family plans that are more commonly used at Verizon and AT&T. Both Verizon and AT&T have been adding data to their plans.

While the T-Mobile plans may initially ding average revenue per user, the lifetime value of a customer is better, said Jefferies analyst Mike McCormack. Family plans were one reason T-Mobile's financial results fared well in the second quarter.

Under T-Mobile's plan, the first line on an unlimited plan is $70, the second is $50 and additional lines are $20 a month up to eight lines with autopay. Without autopay, those prices are increased by $5. These plans could also be handy for fledgling businesses with just a handful of employees.

Add it up and T-Mobile and Sprint are aiming to create more of a subscription model for mobile.

The one caveat is that the 3 percent of subscribers who use more than 26 GB of high-speed data a month will see slower speeds as traffic is prioritized. T-Mobile subscribers can keep the plans they have too.

Sprint has a different spin on its Unlimited Freedom plans, but the economics are similar. Sprint will offer unlimited talk, text, data, and "optimized streaming video, gaming and music" for $60 a month for one line, $40 for the second, and $30 for additional lines up to 10.

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