T-Mobile's MetroPCS, Verizon beef up data offerings for prepaid plans

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) and T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) MetroPCS prepaid brand launched dueling new offers aimed at enticing prepaid customers to sign up and use more data. Verizon's new pricing comes a week after T-Mobile unveiled new prepaid plans under its "Simply Prepaid" brand starting at $40 per month.

On Tuesday, Verizon said it had doubled the data available on its entry-level $45 prepaid AllSet plan, which now comes with 1 GB of data each month, up from 500 MB, along with unlimited voice and texting as well as unlimited texting to Mexico and Canada.

Verizon prepaid customers can also add on 500 MB for $5 with a 30-day expiration, 1 GB for $10 with a 90-day expiration or 3 GB for $20 with a 90-day expiration. Customers can also get an additional 500 MB if they choose to sign up with an auto-pay feature.

The Verizon moves were quickly followed by a new promotion from MetroPCS. The T-Mobile brand is cutting the price of its unlimited plan from $60 down to $50 through April 5 as long as customers are using or purchase a GSM-based LTE-enabled smartphone from MetroPCS. If customers sign up for the discounted rate plan they can keep the $50 rate and there is no pre-planned end date for that rate.

Additionally, T-Mobile said every MetroPCS customer with an LTE data bucket will automatically get an additional gigabyte of LTE data starting today. That means customers on the $40 plan will get 2 GB of LTE data before throttling, up from 1 GB before, and customers on the $50 plan will get 4 GB of LTE data before throttling, up from 3 GB before. All the plans come with unlimited voice and texting.

The $50 promotional plan is available only to customers with a MetroPCS GSM-based phone with LTE connectivity. T-Mobile said "bring your own device" phones and CDMA phones are not eligible for the plan. T-Mobile aims to shut down MetroPCS' legacy CDMA network by the end of 2015.

Taken together, the moves indicate that the carriers are looking to induce prepaid customers to sign up with promises of more data, just as operators did last fall for postpaid customers amid a wave of promotions that offered to double customers' data buckets on shared data plans for families.

For more:
- see this MetroPCS release
- see this Verizon page

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Correction, Jan. 21, 2015: This article incorrectly stated that MetroPCS customers needed to activate a new line or upgrade their smartphone by April 5 to get the discounted $50 rate plan. In fact, the discounted rate is open to all MetroPCS customers who are using or purchase a GSM-based LTE-enabled smartphone from MetroPCS.