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T-Mobile USA set to roll out tiered data plans

T-Mobile USA Inc. is set to jump on the increasingly popular tiered data plan bandwagon saying it will launch an entry-level bucket of data megabytes in time for the holiday shopping season.
The carrier said it will begin offering two data options for customers starting at 200 MB per month for $10 on postpaid plans and $15 per month on those going without a contract. The carrier will also continue to offer its unlimited data package for smart phones for $30 per month.
The plans follow recent tiered packages launched by AT&T Mobility and plans by Verizon Wireless to announce a similar offering in the coming weeks. The AT&T Mobility plan offers 200 MB of data for $15 per month or a 2 gigabyte package for $25. Verizon Wireless has said it will offer 150 MB for $15 per month and continue offering its “unlimited” package for $30 per month.
Sprint Nextel Corp. remains the last holdout among the domestic industry’s four largest operators to have so far not announced tiered data plans for its smart phone devices. The carrier has said that it was looking at such offerings for its CDMA-based services, but has so far not announced any plans.
T-Mobile USA also said it will begin offering a tethering and mobile hot spot option for select devices. Customers will be able to add the option to the unlimited data package for $15 per month.
In addition to the new data packages, T-Mobile USA plans to release three new smart phones on Nov. 3 running Google Inc.’s Android operating system and all selling for less than $100 with a two-year contract. The new devices will include the T-Mobile Comet (produced by Huawei Technologies Inc.), the LG Electronics Co. Ltd. Optimus T and the Motorola Inc. Defy. The Comet is set to retail for $10, the Optimus T for $30 and the Defy for $100.
T-Mobile USA added that the Comet will also be available to its prepaid customers for less than $200. The carrier recently added data packages to its prepaid plans that include unlimited voice and messaging along with 100 megabytes of data transmission for $50 per month; a $70 plan that includes unlimited voice and messaging along with two gigabytes of data transmission; and a $30 plan that includes a bucket of 1,500 calling minutes or messages with 30 MB of data transmission.
T-Mobile USA currently offers a handful of Android-powered devices for less than $100, including the Garmin-Asus Garminfone ($50), HTC Corp./T-Mobile MyTouch 3G ($50), Motorola Charm ($50), Motorola Cliq XT ($90) and the HTC/T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide ($100).
The sub-$100 price point for Android devices looks to be a hot segment for the mobile industry leading into the holiday shopping season.

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