LAS VEGAS--Now that Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been announced, U.S. carriers are getting down to brass tacks to try to take advantage of consumer excitement. The launch is shaping up to be the most dynamic, unpredictable and hard-hitting iPhone release U.S. carriers have ever seen.
Sprint is trying to make the most of Apple's launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus by introducing a $50 unlimited plan for customers who buy one of the new phones. The plan is likely the opening salvo in a battle carriers will engage in over the next several weeks to retain and attract new iPhone customers.
T-Mobile US is quadrupling the amount of data customers on its low-cost "Simple Starter" plans can get per month to 2 GB for $45, just $5 more than the existing plan, which offers 500 MB of data. Both plans offer unlimited voice and texting.
Sprint's new $60 unlimited plan for individual subscribers could put pressure on smaller rival T-Mobile US, according to financial and industry analysts, but it is unlikely to make a major dent in the armor of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility.
Sprint is discontinuing its offer of guaranteed unlimited voice, texting and data for the life of the phone line for new customers who choose its recently introduced individual and family data plans. However, it will still be available to new customers who choose its older Unlimited, My Way and My All-in plans.
Just days after announcing its new shared data plans for families, Sprint today announced its new unlimited talk, text and data plan for individuals. The plan costs just $60 per month, a price that undercuts T-Mobile US' $80 unlimited data plan by $20 and is available to existing and new Sprint customers. Sprint's $60 price does not include the cost of a phone; customers can either purchase a new phone through Sprint's Easy Pay handset upgrade program and pay for it in monthly installments, they can bring their own phone, or they can purchase their phone at full price.
In something of a parting gift, Cincinnati Bell Wireless is giving all of its remaining customers unlimited domestic voice, texting and data for no additional charge. The carrier is in the midst of shutting down its service and selling its spectrum to Verizon Wireless.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead he is "deeply troubled" by the carrier's decision to start slowing down the speeds of some customers who still have legacy unlimited data plans and who cross into the top 5 percent of heavy data users on Verizon's LTE network when they are on high-traffic cell sites.
Consumers are fine with usage-based pricing for wireless data but are confused by their plans nonetheless, according to a new report from a government watchdog. The report, from the Government Accountability Office, found that consumers are generally much more concerned about usage-based pricing and data caps for their home broadband service than for their wireless service.
Starting in the fourth quarter, Verizon Wireless customers who still have legacy unlimited data plans who cross into the top 5 percent of data users on Verizon's LTE network could see their speeds slowed when they are on high-traffic cell sites.