Reports say Sprint will entice iPhone owners with unlimited data
The rumors about the next iPhone showing up on Sprint’s network have moved on from “it’s happening” to “here’s how,” with a new report suggesting Sprint will offer unlimited data to set itself apart from Verizon and AT&T.
The report comes from Bloomberg, which cites unnamed sources “familiar with the matter.” The iPhone is set to launch on Sprint in October, and the company wants to make sure that current iPhone owners on Verizon and AT&T will consider switching over the Sprint’s service, since both those carriers have a pretty big lead on the No. 3 cellular carrier.
Sprint is struggling to keep up with Verizon and AT&T, especially since both have carried the iPhone since February (and AT&T since its inception). Given that Apple is supposedly ordering a total of 56 million iPhones to sell this year, and that iPhones account for 26 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, Sprint should get a serious shot in the arm by offering Apple’s latest device this fall.
But while just having the iPhone should lead to Sprint trading in a lot of customers’ phones and selling a whole lot more phones to new customers, Sprint obviously won’t be content to just be on equal footing with AT&T and Verizon. It has suffered a serious disadvantage without the iPhone, but now that the company might have it, it’ll need to offer a little something more to convert customers from the other two networks. Hence unlimited data for a flat rate – and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sprint was even more aggressive with deals and incentives.
Sprint declined to comment about the iPhone or the possibility of unlimited data, Bloomberg writes. It does offer unlimited data and voice already, though, for smartphones like the Google Android-running HTC EVO and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices. Unlimited voice and data plans currently go for $99.99 a month (or $69.99 with 450 minutes talk-time).
On the other side of the fence, both AT&T and Verizon have phased out unlimited data offerings for new or plan-switching customers. AT&T offers an unlimited voice plan at $69.99 a month and then data plans at $15 monthly for 200 megabytes, $25 for 2 gigabytes, or $45 for 4 gigabytes. Meanwhile, Verizon skips the lower tier offering and goes straight to a 2-gigabyte plan for $30 monthly, but offers a much higher tier at 10 gigabytes for $80 per month. It also offers a $69.99 unlimited voice plan.
If rumors are true about Sprint and the iPhone, which it seems more and more likely they are, expect to see that company get aggressive about pulling customers away from its rivals. That’ll be especially true if one other rumor bears out that T-Mobile will also end up with the iPhone. Sprint is in a position to do some damage with Apple’s device if it plays its cards right, but in a field where all four cellular carriers have Apple’s device, Sprint will need to make customers really think twice before renewing their contracts with Verizon and AT&T.