Boost Mobile plan sparks fears of price war

Boost Mobile's decision to launch a $50 per month unlimited voice and data plan on the iDEN network has sparked fears of a coming price war in the U.S. wireless market.

Sprint Nextel's prepaid unit announced the new rate plan, which will be available Jan. 22 . The plan includes voice service, text messaging, mobile web access and Nextel push-to-talk service. The price point is below Sprint Nextel's own $99 per month Simply Everything plan as well as the $99 unlimited voice calling plans from Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility.

Shares of Leap and MetroPCS, the regional carriers that offer similar plans, fell sharply yesterday on the news. Leap's Cricket Wireless service offers a $45 per month plan for unlimited voice and text messaging, and MetroPCS offers a $50 per month plan for unlimited calling, texting and web access. However, Boost's coverage is nationwide and Leap and MetroPCS are regional operators.  

The real fear is whether Boost's new plan will directly compete with national Tier-1 carriers, and force those operators' flat-rate plans to drop in price.

For more:
- see this FT article
- see this NYT post

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