AT&T Mobility just threw its hat into the prepaid, unlimited ring. The company announced a $60 per month unlimited prepaid voice and text package through its GoPhone prepaid service. The plan, which will debut Monday, offers unlimited nationwide calling and unlimited texting, IM picture and video messaging to anyone in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and more than 100 other countries.
AT&T's new plan appears to be a response to the rising popularity of unlimited prepaid players such as Sprint Nextel's Boost Mobile unit, MetroPCS and Leap Wireless. However, most rival unlimited prepaid plans cost $50 per month or less, so it will be interesting to see if AT&T's GoPhone plan will gain traction at the higher price point.
Boost Mobile, which offers a $50 per month plan for unlimited voice, text and mobile Internet access, has helped mitigate some of Sprint's postpaid customer losses and improve the company's revenues. In second quarter, Sprint said that growth from Boost Monthly Unlimited subscribers helped offset the company's revenue declines from postpaid subscribers.
"The GoPhone rate plan is priced above the existing unlimited players, but it is a product that will be marketed throughout AT&T's large distribution channels," wrote Pali analyst Walter Piecyk in a detailed research note. "Currently, Leap Wireless' Cricket, MetroPCS, and Boost all offer unlimited plans ranging from $45-$50, but these plans also include unlimited web, which is a feature that could cost an additional $20/100MB based on current GoPhone pick your plan pricing. Boost, which is Sprint's prepaid product, is the only one of these competitors that has a distribution channel that comes close to that of AT&T."
Shares of Leap, MetroPCS and Sprint all declined following the news.
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Article updated Oct. 9 to include additional information