Sprint on Monday announced two new less expensive mobile broadband data plans that will replace the carrier’s existing plans. The changes apply to tablets, mobile hotspot devices, netbooks, notebooks and USB modems. Customers may choose between a $49.99 plan that provides 6GB of 3G or 4G data per month or a $79.99 plan that provides 12GB of data per month. Sprint’s plans offer an additional 1GB of data compared to Verizon Wireless’s competing plans, and it hopes that’s a draw for new customers. In addition to the aforementioned plans, Sprint is also introducing a new $19.99 data plan for tablets that provides 1GB of 3G/4G data per month as well as a new $34.99 plan for tablets and mobile hotspots that provides 3GB of data per month. The full press release from Sprint follows after the break. More →
Sprint announced at its Strategy Update meeting on Friday that it has adjusted its 4G rollout plans in order to deploy the carrier’s new network more rapidly. The carrier will also convert to a single-network architecture, moving away from CDMA and WiMAX as it rolls out its LTE network. Sprint had initially announced a 3-5 year plan for the rollout, and on Friday network operations head Steve Elfman confirmed that Sprint’s 4G LTE network rollout will be largely complete by the end of 2013. Sprint’s 4G LTE network will launch in initial markets in mid-2012, and the carrier is working with Qualcomm to ensure an assortment of devices are available at launch. Sprint also confirmed that it will continue to sell 4G WiMAX devices through 2012.
Wireless carriers around the world are digging themselves into a deeper hole by neglecting to experiment with innovative pricing models for 4G LTE services. While consumers have exhibited concern surrounding tiered data plans and bandwidth throttling, Ovum believes such models are necessary to combat the growing capacity crunch plaguing cellular service providers. This crunch, of course, is serious enough that AT&T is hoping to soon $39 billion in order to acquire T-Mobile USA and use the carrier’s precious spectrum for its 4G LTE network build-out. Smartphone and mobile broadband users are pumping more data over wireless networks than ever before, and speedier 4G LTE service only stands to exacerbate the situation. Additionally, carriers are missing the opportunity to find new ways to squeeze more revenue out of this new premium high-speed service. “We looked at the LTE pricing strategies of operators in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the US, and were disappointed with our findings,” Ovum analyst Nicole McCormick said in a statement. “LTE provides operators with the opportunity to experiment with new and innovative pricing models, which allows them to find the best way of deriving revenues from the premium service. However, most operators have not grasped this opportunity. Instead, LTE tariffs in the regions Ovum analysed are dominated by unlimited offerings and large data buckets, which can be problematic.” Ovum’s full press release follows below. More →
T-Mobile USA introduced two new 4G prepaid plans on Tuesday. These plans are in addition to the new prepaid options the carrier announced on May 23rd. One costs $50 per month and provides unlimited text, talk, and 100MB of data. The second offers 5GB of data, and unlimited talk and text for $70 per month. As usual, any subscriber that surpasses the data allotment will see their data speeds drop considerably until the next billing cycle begins. Hit the break for T-Mobile’s press release. More →
In a report today, Reuters noted that Verizon Wireless’ cellular data offerings are in for a major overhaul. “Verizon Wireless plans to kick off pricing changes this summer by eliminating smartphone plans that allow unlimited Web access for a flat fee,” reads the article. “It will replace them with tiered pricing that forces heavy data users to pay more for mobile data.” The report goes on to paraphrase Verizon Communications’ CFO, Fran Shammo, who explained that “after this change, which forces heavy data users to pay more, the company will look to soften the blow by offering more options such as family plans for data services.” Currently, Verizon Wireless smartphone users with family plans are required to pay $29.99 per line for cellular data. Non-family-plan smartphone customers can purchase unlimited mobile data (with a 5GB allowance) for the same monthly price. More →
According to Brief Mobile, Sprint may be revamping its mobile broadband data pricing schema. The report indicates that Sprint mobile broadband devices, including embedded devices like tablets, may get several additional data options starting May 8th. The company will offer a 3GB monthly data bucket for $34.99, a 5GB data bucket for $49.99 and a 10GB data bucket for $79.99. Currently, Sprint offers a 5GB monthly data plan for $59.99 per month — available to both embedded and mobile broadband devices — and a 2GB tablet-only data plan for $29.99 per month; both plans include unlimited 4G connectivity. Sprint declined to comment on the report when contacted by BGR. More →
Intel gathered by blog TmoNews suggests that the nation’s fourth largest wireless carrier, T-Mobile, will be revamping its webConnect data plans. The new monthly offerings will offer users 200MB, 5GB, and 10GB of data, and retail for $29.99, $49.99 and $79.99 respectively. The new webConnect plans, which will take affect March 13th, will also allow users to bundle existing voice line plans with webConnect plans for additional savings. When bundled, the prices drop to $23.99 for the 200MB plan, $39.99 for 5GB plan, and $63.99 for 10GB plan. Currently, T-Mobile only offers a 200MB plan for $24.99 and a 5GB plan for $39.99. More →
Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference this afternoon, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told investors that Verizon Wireless plans to move to tiered data plans in the near future. The plans, which could roll out as early as this summer, may be based on consumption, speed, or a combination of the two. “We are still working on the models,” said Mr. Shammo. The CFO mentioned that Verizon Wireless consciously decided against a tiered data option with the recently launched iPhone 4, noting that the company did not want to dissuade any potential buyers. When asked about the unlimited $30 data plan currently being offered for smartphones, Mr. Shammo quipped, “Everyone knows that isn’t long-term. We will move to tiered pricing in the mid-summer time frame.” What do you think Big Red customers? Sound off in the comments. More →
According to a well placed source of ours, AT&T will be altering its data plan offerings for LaptopConnect devices this Sunday. Devices that utilize LaptopConnect data plans include data sticks, MiFis, and connected netbooks. Currently, AT&T offers a 200MB monthly plan for $35 or a 5GB monthly plan for $60… not all that savory. After this weekend, however, the company will bring its offerings more inline with those its cnemesis, Verizon Wireless. Ma’ Bell will begin offering a 3GB monthly data plan for $30 and a 5GB monthly plan for $50. Much more savory. We should see an announcement either Sunday or Monday. What do you think?
Way back on the 20th, we told you that Sprint would be tweaking its customer loyalty rewards program — lovingly known as Premier. Recently, Sprint contacted BGR to clarify a few details about exactly what has to happen for customers to qualify for the program’s restructured incentives.
A gold level member will receive 25% off the purchase of 2 or more accessories, customer news letters, “just because” perks, first to buy offers, and the ability to upgrade one device after 12 months of service. To qualify for a Premier Gold membership, users must have an individual monthly plan costing $89.99 or more or a family plan costing $169.99 (before any applicable discounts).
A silver level member will receive the same benefits as gold members — 25% off the purchase of 2 or more accessories, customer news letters, “just because” perks, and first to buy offers — but will not have the ability to upgrade a device after 12 months of service. To qualify for a Premier Silver membership, users must have an individual monthly plan costing between $69.99 and $89.98 or a family plan costing between $99.99 and $169.98 (before any applicable discounts).
Any customer, regardless of rate-plan price, that has been with Sprint over ten years will automatically qualify for Premier Gold. There you have it. Straight from the horses mouth.
Apple on Wednesday posted details on its website surrounding voice, data and messaging plans that will be offered with the upcoming Verizon Wireless iPhone 4. The company also posted a utility intended to check subscriber eligibility, though it did not appear to be functioning properly at the time of this writing. Apple’s website confirms earlier reports that Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 users will only have two data options at launch: unlimited data for $29.99 per month and unlimited data with 2GB of Personal Hotspot and tethering services for $49.99 per month. Other plan details line up with current Verizon Wireless smartphone plans, for the most part:
- 450 minutes/month: $39.99
- 900 minutes/month: $59.99
- Unlimited minutes/month: $69.99
- Pay per use: $0.20 per SMS, $0.25 per MMS
- 250 messages/month: $5
- 500 messages/month: $10
- Unlimited messaging: $20
- Unlimited data: $29.99
- Unlimited data with 2GB for Personal Hotspot and tethering: $49.99 ($20 per GB for overages)
The only difference between the iPhone voice and messaging plans compared to Verizon Wireless’ standard plans appears to be the $20 unlimited messaging option. With other smartphones, the $20 messaging option affords subscribers 5,000 messages per month, and the carrier charges $0.10 per message for overages.
UPDATE: The pages have been pulled from Apple’s website as of approximately 10:50AM. More →
Dual-core processor-packing smartphones are a hot-ticket item at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and it looks like RIM must have felt a little left out. While the Canadian phone maker didn’t have any dual-core BlackBerry phones on display at the show, RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis did confirm in an interview that a more powerful breed of Berry is in the company’s plans. Unfortunately for speed-hungry BlackBerry users, it looks like it might not happen any time soon. Lazaridis told PC Magazine that future “super-phones” will indeed have to have dual-core processors, but he noted that the current crop of dual-core CPUs are just too hard on the battery to make their way into BlackBerry phones — and we all know how much RIM loves its battery life. Hit the read link for a great little interview by Sascha Segan over on the PC Magazine website. More →
Say what you will about U.S. prepaid wireless provider MetroPCS, but they are leading the way in value-based 4G cellular service plans. Today, via a press release, the company announced that it is lowering the price of its unlimited talk, text, and web LTE plans to just $40 per month.
- The $40 service plan offers unlimited talk, text, 4G Web browsing with unlimited YouTube access.
- The $50 service plan includes the same unlimited talk, text, 4G Web services and unlimited YouTube access as the$40 plan. Additional features include international and premium text messaging, turn-by-turn navigation with MetroNAVIGATOR(TM), ScreenIT, mobile instant messaging, corporate e-mail and 1 GB of additional data access, with premium features available through MetroSTUDIO(TM) when connected via Wi-Fi, including audio capabilities to listen and download music and access to preview and trial video content.
- The $60 service plan provides the same premium features as the $50 plan, plus unlimited data access and MetroSTUDIO premium content such as 18 video-on-demand channels and audio downloads.
“Our customers told us they wanted more video, more sharing of their content and more Web browsing capabilities – they want to have it all with the value and no annual contract that only MetroPCS can deliver,” said the company’s president and CEO, Roger D. Linquist. “Our 4G LTE network can deliver unlimited voice and mobile broadband data services and, with these new service plans, consumers are in the driver’s seat on how much additional data access and real-time entertainment content they want to pay for on a monthly basis.”
MetroPCS currently offers LTE service in Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Sacramento, and San Francisco with plans to expand to Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa in the near future. More →