T-Mobile USA continued its onslaught of the no-contract market, rolling out new mobile data plans set to be available May 20.
The plans begin at $15 for 300 megabytes of “4G” mobile data transmission for one week across the carrier’s HSPA+-based network. For $25 customers get 1.5 GB of data transmission good for one month; $35 provides for 3.5 GB also good for one month; and $50 provides for 5 GB of data for a one-month period. The plans are compatible with tablets, mobile hotspots and wireless modems.
By comparison, Virgin Mobile USA offers no-contract mobile broadband plans beginning at $10 for 100 MB of data good for 10 days; 500MB of data for $20 good for 30 days; or unlimited data at 3G speeds up to 2.5 GB and then throttled access for $50 per month. Leap Wireless charges $45 per month for 2.5 GB of data at unimpeded speeds before throttling; $55 for 5 GB of unimpeded speeds before throttling; or $65 per month for 7.5 GB of unimpeded data speeds before throttling.
The price changes also align T-Mobile USA with recent changes made by larger rivals. For its tablet devices, Verizon Wireless currently charges $20 per month for 1 GB of data; $30 for 2 GB; $50 for 5 GB; and $80 per month for 10 GB. For mobile hotspots and wireless modems, Verizon Wireless charges $15 per day for 100 MB of access; $30 for one week of access to 300 MB; $50 for a month of access to 1 GB; and $80 for a month of access to 5 GB.
T-Mobile USA currently offers a one week pass that includes 100 MB of data for $10; 1 GB of data good for one month for $30; and 3 GB of data also good for one month for $50. The new plans also stack up well against the carrier’s current postpaid offerings that supply 2 GB of data for $40 per month; 5 GB for $50 per month; or 10 GB for $80 per month. However, those postpaid offerings do allow for usage beyond the data cap at reduced network speeds and free access to the carrier’s Wi-Fi hotspots.
The carrier has continued to see strength in its prepaid offerings, having posted robust growth across the segment while continuing to lose postpaid subscribers.
Bottom Line: With postpaid growth coming to a standstill, T-Mobile USA continues to put pressure on the prepaid space. The move to lower price points for mobile data will likely have an impact on smaller, no-contract rivals like Virgin Mobile USA and Leap Wireless, though those operators have recently put more of a focus on their smartphone product offerings.
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