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T-Mobile brings back unlimited data plan

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:46 a.m. HST, Aug 22, 2012

NEW YORK >> Unlimited wireless data is back. After sliding off the menu of cellphone plans, data plans with no caps are making a comeback at smaller cellphone companies trying to compete with AT&T and Verizon.

T-Mobile USA said today it will start selling an unlimited-data plan on Sept. 5. It stopped sales of its previous unlimited-data plans early last year.

T-Mobile USA is the country's fourth-largest cellphone carrier, with 33.2 million subscribers.

On Tuesday No. 5 carrier MetroPCS Communications Inc. cut the price of its unlimited-data plan from $70 to $55 per month, as a promotion for a limited time. The plan includes unlimited texting and calls.

No. 3 carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. already has an unlimited-data plan, and credits that with helping it attract customers for its smartphones.

T-Mobile's unlimited plan costs $20 per month when added to a regular calling and texting plan, and $30 when added to a cheaper "Value" plan offered to customers who bring their own phones.

The moves by T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS, neither of which sell the iPhone, come as the three larger carriers are thought to be gearing up to begin selling the iPhone 5 in a month or so.

No. 2 carrier AT&T stopped signing up customers for unlimited data plans two years ago. It was followed by No. 1 Verizon last year.

Both of the larger carriers have shifted toward lifting all limits on calls and texting, but limiting data usage. From a network management perspective, this makes sense, since calls and texts use very little network capacity. But video downloads and other data use can clog the network, slowing the service for everyone.

T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS may have spare capacity on their networks, giving them some leeway, at least for now, in offering unlimited data. T-Mobile has upgraded its network to higher speeds and is losing customers, in large part because it doesn't sell the iPhone. MetroPCS has nearly completed another network upgrade that enables higher data speeds, but only 8 percent of their customers can take advantage of it — the rest need new phones.

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cojef wrote:
Sounds like this move is directed at getting back market share, and then will change back to plans that will enhance the bottom line. Hopefully that I am wrong. Currently have cheap phone and use it for calling home or spouse's cell phone, so we are on the prepaid plan. If the T-Mobile move is successful may opt for a better phone like the the iPhone and join T-Mobile. The unlimited data plan sound like it will take off, so it bears watching.
on August 22,2012 | 05:42AM
Larry01 wrote:
cojef, problem is T-Mobile doesn't sell the iPhone, and I don't think you can bring a used one for use on their network. However, there are plenty of smartphones out there (sold by T-Mobile) that give the iPhone a run for its money, and even outperform it in certain areas.
on August 22,2012 | 07:35AM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
I am a tmobile subscriber and have used an unlocked iPhone for over two years. It works fine except for one thing.....data speed. Tmobile speed is basically 2g compared to 3G. However tmobile has announced that by the end of the year their system will be iPhone 3G compatible. When your AT&T iPhone contact is up, unlock your phone, get a tmobile plan and you will save big bux.
on August 22,2012 | 09:28AM
96706 wrote:
Way to go T-Mobile. I have NEVER gave up on you!
on August 22,2012 | 09:52AM
LadyNinja wrote:
I had T Mobile for 14 years, service was great until I lost my job and asked to be switched to a cheaper plan. " NO, said T Mobile, not without signing another two years of contract!" I felt that since the company was not going to be customer loyal, that I will be unloyal to T Mobile too, hence the shift to AT&T and the I phone 4s. Couldn't be happier. T Mobile is now pestering me to PAY IN FULL my contract termination fees! My plan with AT&T is cheaper, faster downloads and always current on the news and other fun stuff. I will NEVER go back to T Mobile after the way that they treated me, the worst of customer loyalty.
on August 22,2012 | 09:56AM
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