It's not just the big guys following T-Mobile's lead in the way phones and plans are sold. US Cellular is announcing new no-contract plans and financed device options today. It's more or less the same deal you get at other carriers, but with some cheaper tiers.
Verizon is shaking up its prepaid plan options today, starting with a new name: ALLSET (ALL CAPS). Unlike some competitors, the basic plans start at a flat fee and the only expansion options come from
Bridge data BRIDGE DATA add-on packs. The smartphone plan starts at $45 a month for unlimited voice calls and text messages, plus a somewhat paltry 500MB of data.
If 500MB seems a bit low for your prepaid data needs, you can top it up with BRIDGE DATA packs.
The leak yesterday seems to have been right on the money – Verizon's More Everything plans are now available with higher data caps and lower prices for Edge subscribers. All plans include unlimited voice and text, but your options are a bit limited with tablets.
The big US carriers are currently falling all over themselves to tweak their plan offerings to be more competitive with each other. After changing the upgrade window of its Edge plans last month, Verizon is now preparing to offer more data on some plans, reduced prices for Edge customers, and more.
The More Everything campaign starts tomorrow, and we've got the promotional material sent out to representatives. The 500MB, 1GB, and 2GB Share Everything plans are getting boosted to 1GB, 2GB and 3GB caps.
AT&T's prepaid brand, AIO Wireless is already a pretty cheap alternative to the big post-paid carriers, but now the carrier is reducing the cost of plans, and adding more data to some of them. It gets even better, assuming you're okay with setting up recurring payments.
Aio has three main plans that now clock in at $40, $50, and $60 per month. The cheap plan hasn't changed in price, but it now has 500MB of data per month instead of 250MB.
So AT&T's Next plans, with their $0 down and phone trade-in/upgrade after a year, are nifty for customers who always want the latest and greatest. They're also a valuable tool for enticing new customers away from the likes of Verizon and the ever-advancing T-Mobile. But what about AT&T customers who are stuck in a contract? Ma Bell hasn't forgotten about you: starting today, at least some AT&T contract customers can switch to a Next plan with no penalty.
Play it again, Sprint. Now that T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have all started accelerated upgrade programs with monthly charges (Jump, NEXT, and EDGE, respectively), Sprint wants in on the action. According to some leaked screenshots posted by Cnet, the last of the "Big Four" American carriers is planning a similar program called One Up. The plan has not been confirmed by Sprint, but the screenshot below looks genuine.
Stop me if you've heard this before: under the One Up plan, customers would pay no money down and spread the cost of a new phone over 24 monthly payments added on to their regular phone bill.
If you like the idea of being able to upgrade your phone once a year instead of every two, AT&T is more than happy to oblige with its Next plans... for a price. But adoption must have been a bit more tepid than they anticipated, because the monthly payments for phones on the Next plans seem to have been reduced without fanfare. Most phones have had their monthly finance-free charges reduced by a dollar, but some of the flagship phones have $5 reductions, scaling up to $60-100 in savings depending on when you upgrade.
Everyone held out hope that when carriers started offering shared data allowances, it would actually be a good deal. Oh, how naïve we were. The plans on AT&T proved to be a little pricey, especially for those who only needed a little data. Well, Ma Bell is trying to make it right with some more low-end plans at 300MB and 2GB.
These new plans slot in on either side of the 1GB plan, which used to be the low end.
T-Mobile has made quite a splash with two new policies unveiled at last week's "Boldest Moves Yet" event. The JUMP! plan combines a trade-in program and insurance policy that lets you upgrade your phone every six months for a $10 monthly fee, and the Simple Choice Family Plans have some great values for families looking to save some cash on multiple lines. Both are live as of yesterday - you can start shopping on T-Mobile's website, or walk into your friendly neighborhood retail store.