Rumor Mill: T-Mobile brings unlimited data to prepaid

T-Mobile USA reportedly will launch an unlimited talk, text and data option for prepaid customers this week, replacing an existing plan that has a 5 GB data cap.

According to the blog TmoNews, the $70 Unlimited no-contract plan will launch on Jan. 9. The comparable existing $70 prepaid plan offers unlimited talk and text but limits users to 5 GB. TmoNews quoted an unreleased T-Mobile document that says the new plan is "perfect for video chat, streaming music/movies/TV and playing online games."

The plan could be announced by T-Mobile USA at a major two-hour press conference the company has scheduled during the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. The meeting, slated for Jan. 8 at 5:30 p.m. in Las Vegas, is also expected to address the operator's efforts to acquire no-contract carrier MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) and T-Mobile's ongoing network modernization initiative, which will include the rollout of LTE over AWS 1.7/2.1 GHz frequencies this year.

On Sept. 5, 2012, T-Mobile reversed gears, switching from promoting tiered data plans to offering Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plans for its postpaid customers.

T-Mobile is not the only carrier taking a fresh look at unlimited prepaid service. Last week, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) confirmed it will launch a Sprint-branded prepaid service Jan. 25 that will offer unlimited talk, text and data on feature phones and smartphones.

The carrier also said it will not throttle or otherwise limit the data usage on its new prepaid plan, even though later this month Sprint's existing Boost Mobile sub-brand will begin throttling the data speeds of customers who exceed 2.5 GB of data usage per month. Sprint's Virgin Mobile USA sub-brand initiated a similar throttling effort last year. Sprint has long offered unlimited, unthrottled data to its postpaid subscribers under its Simply Everything plans

T-Mobile USA last month confirmed to FierceWireless that it is testing a new prepaid brand, GoSmart Mobile, in "select markets." According to TmoNews, GoSmart Mobile would charge $45 for unlimited voice, texting and "high-speed" Web service, which would be limited to "3G" service, meaning it probably would not cover T-Mobile's 4G-branded HSPA+ service or its impending LTE rollout.

The two leading U.S. mobile operators have eliminated unlimited plans from their current lineups, though they each have grandfathered in customers who signed up for unlimited plans previously. During the recent holidays, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) launched a double data promotion that will increase the data allotment on its $80 prepaid smartphone plan from 1 GB per month to 2 GB. The promotion is only available to new customers who purchase 3G CDMA smartphones (it doesn't cover LTE phones) and runs through Jan. 31.

Read more:
- see this TmoNews article
- see this androidcentral article

Related articles:
Confirmed: Sprint As You Go unlimited prepaid launching Jan. 25, without speed throttling
Rumor Mill: Sprint to launch Sprint-branded prepaid service
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Confirmed: T-Mobile testing GoSmart Mobile prepaid brand for possible nationwide launch in 2013
Rumor Mill: T-Mobile planning GoSmart Mobile prepaid service
Verizon moves double data promotion to prepaid: $80 plan now includes 2 GB
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