T-Mobile may be looking to shake things up again in the cell phone carrier wars.
The company known for its discounts will reportedly unveil a plan Wednesday that offers its prepaid customers unlimited nationwide 4G service for $70 a month.
News of the planned offering was revealed in a promotional graphic leaked to TmoNews, a blog that follows T-Mobile developments.
If accurate, the new plan would replace the current $70 plan, which caps data usage at 5GB a month.
With the merger of T-Mobile with MetroPCS, T-Mobile is expected to become a mighty competitor to Sprint for the prepaid market. Offering unlimited 4G data in a prepaid offering is a sign that T-Mobile is prepared to fulfill those expectations.
The new unlimited 4G data plan is part of T-Mobile’s Monthly4G service. That service includes a $50 monthly plan with unlimited talk and text and up to 100MB of data at 4G speeds and a $60 plan with unlimited talk and text and up to 2GB of data at 4G speeds.
Although T-Mobile doesn’t currently offer an LTE version of Samsung’s best-selling Galaxy S III to its prepaid subscribers, it’s expected to do so sometime this year, since a version of an LTE version of the S III that appears tailored for T-Mobile was certified by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group last month.
The most notable handset missing in action on T-Mobile’s network is Apple’s iPhone. That, too, is expected to change this year.
For example, buried in a financial forecast press release last month from T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telekom, the company revealed that “T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013.”
Not only will iPhones start appearing in T-Mobile stores but they could start appearing at very reasonable prices. John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, reportedly brandished an iPhone 4S at Deutsche Telekom’s Capital Makets day in Germany last year claiming it could be sold for $99.
If T-Mobile rolls out its unlimited prepaid 4G data plan Wednesday, it will come on the heels of prepaid king Sprint’s reported launch of a prepaid service Jan. 25. That service won’t support LTE immediately, but that’s expected to change later in the year.
Asked why Sprint was launching a branded prepaid service when it already offers prepaid service through Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, spokesperson Jayne Wallace explained: “This is essentially a retail initiative for Sprint-branded stores only, created for customers who have an affinity for the Sprint brand and have indicated they wanted a no-contract option. ”
She said that selling an in-store prepaid brand would allow the company to strengthen its other prepaid brands by moving resources to promote those brands in its stores to promote them elsewhere.
John Mello writes on technology and cyber security for a number of online publications and is former managing editor of the Boston Business Journal and Boston Phoenix. Disclosure: He also writes for Hewlett-Packad's marketing website TechBeacon.