Chicago (IL) – Just when I began to enjoy my new Blackberry Curve and was steaming over a $160 cellphone bill (yes, I know, it was my own fault), a friendly T-Mobile representative told me that the carrier is now offering an all-you-can eat voice-data plan that is priced below what AT&T or Verizon charge for voice alone. Looks like we should expect much more aggressive pricing in wireless data in the foreseeable time. It was about time, guys.
I have no idea how often I have written about the fact that wireless carriers are charging consumers an arm and a leg for smartphone coverage plans. Two years will cost you easily $2000 in voice and data usage – and we are talking about minimum coverage here. However, T-Mobile has been offering much more aggressive pricing for a few weeks, which, strangely enough, has not been prominently advertised. The reason: It is only available if you have been a T-Mobile customer for some time and if you have always paid your bill on time.
The carrier is pitching unlimited nationwide voice service for $49.99 per month, half the price what AT&T and Verizon charge (both ask for $99.99). Add unlimited Internet, email and messaging for $34.99 and you end up at $84.98 per month (before taxes and fees). The same service is priced at $149.99 at AT&T and Verizon, both of which charge $50 for the same data package. T-Mobile even beats Sprint’s unlimited voice/data offer, which is priced at $99.99 per month. The differences are already significant on paper, but if you think that smartphones typically sell with 2-year contracts, the differences are staggering: T-Mobile’s total is $2039.52, the Sprint total is $2399.76 and AT&T’s/Verizon’s totals are $3599.76.
It is clear that AT&T and Verizon won’t be able to sustain their pricing models even in the short term. It is about time those voice/data prices are coming down.