Sprint and T-Mobile Offer More Expensive Unlimited Plans

August 29, 2016, 4:35 PM UTC
T-Mobile USA Boosts Customers as Takeover by AT&T Drags On
People pass by T-Mobile USA Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. stores in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless company, added customers for the first time in a year and reported profit last week that beat estimates as its German owner fights to complete the proposed sale of the unit to AT&T Inc. Photographer: Stephen Yang/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

After offering cheaper unlimited mobile plans with some compromises two weeks ago, wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint are now heeding calls for truly unlimited unlimited plans.

T-Mobile tweaked its unlimited offering on Monday to add a more expensive option with fewer compromises, following Sprint which made the same move on Friday.

The new T-Mobile One Plus plan starts at $95, up from $70 for T-Mobile’s One plan unveiled on August 18. For the additional cost, customers can watch full high-definition video whenever they want and use their phone to connect, or tether, another device like a laptop to the Internet at full speed. The cheaper plan had included only DVD-quality video and extremely slow tethering service. Both plans otherwise offer unlimited calling, texting, and data usage.

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The higher-quality video and faster tethering options were available as extra-cost add-ons to the original unlimited offering but not as an all-in-one monthly package. T-Mobile eliminated those options but added a $3 day pass for watching high-definition video and increased the speed of tethering to 3G rates on the original, cheaper plan.

Both plans will be available starting September 1, earlier than the original September 6 start date T-Mobile had previously set.

Sprint (S) last week added its own similar more expensive unlimited plan with fewer compromises. But Sprint undercut T-Mobile’s pricing, offering the premium plan starting at $80 for one line, up from its $60 unlimited plan. Both Sprint plans offer unlimited calling, texting, and data usage, but the cheaper plan tightly limits the quality of streaming music, video, and game playing.

T-Mobile (TMUS) CEO John Legere took to Twitter, his preferred communications medium, to announce the new plan. “Oh you thought we were done?! Then you don’t know us very well… we heard you and we’re making some changes… AND maybe more ;) Ready?!,” he posted on the social network.

The latest pricing moves and tweaks come as growth has slowed in the U.S. wireless market and the rate of customer switching is at a record low. But with new iPhones expected next week, the carriers could see defection rates increase–that’s what has happened the past few years.

Overall, the new premium plans further the industry’s focus on data hogs and family plan subscribers. AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) aren’t offering the same kinds of unlimited plans, but have both recently rejiggered their complex, convoluted line ups in ways that rewarded users who consumer more data.

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