UPDATED: T-Mobile unveils new tiered data plans for smartphones, details throttling speeds

T-Mobile USA unveiled three new tiered data plans for smartphones, in addition to its existing $30 per month plan that offers 5 GB of data. The operator also said that if customers go over their allotted data cap they will not incur overage charges but instead will have their data speeds throttled down to an EDGE, or 2G, experience of around 100 Kbps or less.

T-Mobile customers with smartphones can now select from the following options:

  • $10 for 200 MB per month 
  • $20 for 2 GB
  • $30 for 5 GB
  • or $60 for 10 GB

According to a T-Mobile spokeswoman, customers will be notified via a free text message when they exceed their monthly data threshold. At that time, they will have the option to change their data plan to one with more data or continue to use their existing plan with the reduced speeds for the remainder of the month. 

In November, T-Mobile took its first steps toward tiered data pricing with the introduction of a 200 MB data plan for $10 per month in addition to its existing $30 plan for unlimited data.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) earlier this year said it will introduce tiered data pricing for smartphones sometime this summer. The carrier said it decided to wait to make the move until after it launched the iPhone. Further, Verizon last week said it will offer family plans for data services, though Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo stopped short of providing a launch date for the new plans. Shammo, who disclosed the news to Reuters, said the carrier will introduce the family data plans sometime after it replaces its unlimited smartphone data service with tiered data pricing. He did not provide any further details on the plans.

AT&T, which was the first U.S. operator to move to tiered data pricing, said in March that it had more than 10 million customers on its tiered data price plans. The company charges $15 per month for 200 MB of data and $25 per month for 2 GB of data.

Industry watchers have predicted that wireless carriers will continue to move toward tiered plans as a way to address users' skyrocketing demands for mobile data, driven in large part by touchscreen smartphones.

For more:
- see this MyRatePlan blog post
- see this Phone Scoop article

Related Articles:
T-Mobile rolls out new tiered data pricing, offers tethering
AT&T counts 10M customers on tiered data plans
Verizon Wireless to offer family data plans

This article was updated to reflect that T-Mobile's existing $30 per month data plan was already being throttled at 5 GB.