Rumor Mill: Sprint to pair iPhone 5 with $80 unlimited plan

When Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) starts selling Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 next month it will pair the device with its Everything Data plan that includes unlimited data, according to a Bloomberg report. Sprint's strategy is to create differentiation from larger rivals Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), which no longer offer such plans to new smartphone customers.

The report, citing unnamed sources, said that Sprint will start selling the iPhone 5 in mid-October. Currently, Sprint's $79.99 per month Everything Data plan includes unlimited data, texting and mobile-to-mobile calling as well as 450 anytime voice minutes. The report also said Sprint has been using the iPhone's upcoming launch as retention tool with executives, since its launch will likely boost the company's stock price. Additionally, the report said Sprint postponed the September launch of an unnamed smartphone that runs on Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network.

Representatives from Sprint and Apple declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint will begin selling the iPhone 5 in mid-October. The report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, also said Sprint will sell the iPhone 4 at the same time it starts selling the iPhone 5.

If Sprint keeps its Everything Data plan for the iPhone, the carrier could have a major leg up on Verizon and AT&T, both of which have discontinued their unlimited data plans in favor of tiered data plans, which are added onto unlimited voice plans. (Verizon launched the iPhone in February with unlimited data, and subsequently introduced usage-based data pricing for new smartphone customers in July.)

AT&T offers 200 MB of data for $15 and 2 GB for $25. Verizon's smartphone data plans start at 2 GB for $30, and go up to 10 GB for $80. Both carriers offer unlimited voice for $70 per month.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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