T-Mobile and Sprint Charge Less for Unlimited Service than Larger Rivals

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AT&T and Verizon Wireless both lowered their monthly rate for unlimited voice and wireless data service this week, but their smaller rivals T-Mobile and Sprint still offer unlimited services for less.

The price differences may seem small, but they add up over the life of the two-year contracts that are common these days.

The Big Two
There are four large wireless carriers in the U.S., but AT&T and Verizon have significantly more customers than Sprint and T-Mobile.  Added the subscribers of the two smaller carriers together would just about total the number of AT&T customers, and Verizon is even larger.

These two tend to match each other’s prices for services. For instance, Verizon recently dropped its rates, and AT&T immediately changed its rates

Starting yesterday, AT&T customers, including iPhone users, can buy unlimited voice and data for $100 a month, $30 less than before. Adding unlimited text messages to this will cost an additional $20.

Verizon customers can sign up for a service plan that offers unlimited calls to anyone in the United States for $70 a month, a $30 decrease. Adding unlimited data brings this to $100 a month, and unlimited text, picture and video messages adds $20,

Their Smaller Rivals
In hopes of drawing in customers, T-Mobile and Sprint offer unlimited service at lower monthly charges.

Sprint has its “Any Mobile, Anytime” plan, which offers unlimited voice, data, text, and MMS for just $70 a month. There’s a caveat in this though: unlimited voice is only for calls to other mobile phones. This plan comes with 450 minutes of calls to landlines during office hours, but is unlimited on nights and weekends.

T-Mobile customers can get unlimited voice, text, and data for $100. In addition, if customers are willing to give up subsidies on the devices they buy, the monthly charge for unlimited access to all three services is just $80. 

Other Differences
Price is important, but just comparing the monthly rates for voice and data is a bit an apple-to-oranges comparison, though, because it doesn’t take into  account all factors.

The coverage areas for these carriers varies widely. AT&T and T-Mobile concentrate their data networks mostly on cities and suburbs, while Verizon’s 3G network covers these and many rural areas, too.

And many phones are available only from one or two carriers. For example, those who want an Apple iPhone 3GS have to subscribe to AT&T, or those who want a Motorola Droid must be a Verizon customer.




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