Verizon targets Sprint's Simply Everything with $99 unlimited tests

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is testing a postpaid plan that offers unlimited talking, texting and data for $99 per month, according to findings from research firm Current Analysis. The tests stand as a direct attack on the nation's No. 3 carrier, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) , which has made its $99 per month Simply Everything plan a cornerstone of its marketing pitch.

Verizon is testing the plans in retail outlets in Los Angeles and San Diego. The tests represent a $20-per-month reduction from what Verizon currently charges for unlimited talking, texting and data.

Verizon's current postpaid Nationwide Talk & Text unlimited plan goes for $89.99 with a two-year contract. In L.A. and San Diego, however, Verizon is offering that service for $69.99 per month. The addition of the carrier's $29.99 per month unlimited smartphone data plan brings the total cost of unlimited talking, texting and smartphone data to $99.99 per month--the same price as Sprint's Simply Everything offering, which includes limitless talking, texting, data and other services. T-Mobile USA also offers unlimited talk, text and data for $99 per month.

A Verizon Wireless spokeswoman described the offering as a limited-time promotion available for single lines only that includes calling in the carrier's national footprint. She said it's not available for family plans, and includes domestic long distance.

While the tests may never result in a nationwide launch, they are a further indication of serious pricing experimentation by the nation's largest wireless carrier. Verizon in parts of Texas and Louisiana is testing Unlimited Any Mobile plans, which offer inexhaustible calling to any mobile number in the United States regardless of service provider. That offering is a direct response to a similar nationwide plan from Sprint--the carrier's Any Mobile, Anytime offering. Verizon also is testing a $50 prepaid monthly unlimited plan across the Southeast, likely a response to the growing number of inexpensive, unlimited prepaid offerings from the likes of Sprint's Boost Mobile, MetroPCS (NYSE:S), Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) and others.

The price of postpaid unlimited wireless service has tumbled in recent months. In January, Verizon cut the cost of its unlimited talking plan by a full $30, from $99.99 per month to $69.99 per month. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) instituted similar pricing just hours after Verizon's announcement.

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