T-Mobile targets Sprint with cheaper unlimited smartphone plans

T-Mobile USA once again tweaked its pricing for unlimited smartphone service, offering new, cheaper postpaid plans with greater flexibility for customers to bring their existing devices to the carrier or purchase a device in monthly installments.

The new Value plan pricing for individual lines breaks down as follows:

  • Unlimited Plus: $59.99 for unlimited voice, texting and 2 GB of data ($20 cheaper than T-Mobile's current comparable offering)
  • Unlimited Premium: $74.99 for unlimited voice, texting and 5 GB of data ($15 cheaper than T-Mobile's current comparable offering)
  • Unlimited Ultra: $104.99 for unlimited voice, texting and 10 GB of data ($15 cheaper than T-Mobile's current comparable offering)

Like T-Mobile's previous smartphone data plans, if users go over their data allotment they will be throttled down to 2G EDGE data speeds for the remainder of their billing cycle. The new plans require a two-year contract and will be available starting July 24 for new and existing customers.

T-Mobile's Value plans are available in two flavors: Customers can either bring their own, existing phone to the service, or they can purchase a new phone and pay for it in monthly installments. (Most carriers subsidize the cost of a phone and recoup the expense over the course of a subscriber's two-year contract.) So, for example, T-Mobile said its myTouch 4G Slide will be available for a downpayment of $249.99, with 20 additional monthly payments of $15, for a total device cost of $550.

The new plans seem aimed at cutting into Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) hold on inexpensive smartphone data plans, which remain unlimited with no overage fees or throttling. Sprint's Everything Data Plan for smartphones includes unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling, 450 anytime voice minutes, and unlimited texting and data for $79.99 per month. The new T-Mobile plans also come weeks after Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) introduced usage-based smartphone data plans for new customers. 

"Our goal is to get the next 100 million Americans on smartphones," John Clelland, T-Mobile's senior vice president of marketing, told CNET. "We really do think it's a key that unlocks the next wave of growth."

T-Mobile said it will keep its existing Even More smartphone data plans, but will rename them Classic plans, and will continue to offer prepaid mobile broadband and voice plans. 

For more:
- see this release
- see this Phone Scoop article
- see this CNET article

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Article updated July 20 with pricing details for the Value plans from T-Mobile.