Sprint to Offer Cheaper Data Plans

Sprint plans to undercut the competition with a $70 a month unlimited data, messaging and voice plan, which is substantially cheaper than those offered by AT&T and Verizon, as the company looks for an edge in the battle for data-hungry customers.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based company’s new unlimited plan is $40 cheaper than an equivalent offering from Verizon and $35 less than AT&T’s least restrictive plan, which only includes 2-gigabytes of data. The unlimited data plan may be $80 a month for certain smartphones.

“Our ability to offer unlimited 4G we think is the best way to get people to use it,” said a Sprint spokesperson. “We want to get people in that mode of experiencing the internet like they would at home or at the office.”

Sprint, which was the first U.S. carrier to deploy a 4G network in 2008, has been struggling with subscriber losses. Now that the other major U.S. carriers are touting their own 4G networks, and even faster upgrades are looming from AT&T and Verizon, Sprint is hoping the price cut will give it some traction against its competitors.

Sprint’s recent selection of flagship phones has been a problem, until the launch of its first 4G phone, the HTC Evo, last year. More recently, the carrier plans to continue the trend by releasing more 4G devices, such as the HTC Evo Shift and RIM’s much-anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

Low cost, unlimited plans will be particularly attractive to users of the latest generations of smartphones and tablets, which can quickly rack up heavy data traffic. However, it remains to be seen if Sprint can afford to maintain the pricing if increased numbers of its subscribers begin consuming large amounts of data.

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