T-Mobile ditches entry-level postpaid 200 MB smartphone data plan

T-Mobile USA has decided to eliminate its entry-level 200 MB data plan for new postpaid smartphone customers, a spokeswoman confirmed. However, the 200 MB option will still available to customers using T-Mobile's "Value" plans, which do not offer smartphone subsidies.

A T-Mobile spokeswoman confirmed to FierceWireless the details of a TMoNews blog post on the price change. As of Oct. 10 T-Mobile is no longer offering the 200 MB plan for new postpaid smartphone customers. Postpaid customers must now purchase at least 2 GB of data per month via T-Mobile's "Classic Unlimited Plus" plan.

An internal T-Mobile sales memo said the change "modernizes the data service requirement minimum--current smartphones consume data at a higher rate," and that the 2 GB plan would protect customers from overages and throttling. Existing customers on the 200 MB plan will not be affected by the change. The spokeswoman noted that customers can purchase a handset at full price or via monthly payments, or bring their own device and pair it with a "Value" plan, and still get the 200 MB data feature. The 2 GB plan costs $20 per month; the 200 MB plan costs $10 per month.

Currently, T-Mobile offers four smartphone data plan options for postpaid customers: the 2 GB option, a 5 GB plan, a 10 GB plan and the company's recently revived "Unlimited Nationwide 4G" plan. The unlimited plan, introduced in early September, costs $20 per month when added to one of T-Mobile's postpaid "Value" voice and text plans (which do not include a smartphone subsidy) or $30 per month when added to one of its postpaid "Classic" voice and text plans (which do include subsidized smartphones). However, the new T-Mobile unlimited plan is not available with prepaid rate plans nor is it available for other devices like tablets. Further, smartphone tethering in not supported by the new unlimited plan.

Many carriers have phased out entry-level smartphone data plan options in favor of plans with higher usage tiers--and higher costs. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) still offers a $20 plan for 300 MB, but Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) no longer offers a comparable plan for smartphone customers and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) continues to offer unlimited smartphone data plans.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in September that customers using Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S III smartphone, which is compatible with T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 network, use an average of 1.6 GB per month. In mid-June the carrier said subscribers with smartphones capable of accessing its HSPA+ 42 network consumed an average of 1.3 GB per month.

For more:
- see this TMoNews post

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