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.
AT&T has a problem on its hands. It's big, but is it big enough? If you're a CEO of a major corporation the answer to that question is always "no." However, the carrier has difficulty expanding on the home front. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens have phones with one carrier or another, so there's very little wiggle room to grab new customers. And gaining in market share when you (and all your competitors!) are dead set on locking people into two-year contracts is very difficult.
Verizon and T-Mobile may not regularly make headlines together, but this morning the two companies have announced that they've struck a deal to swap spectrum (and some money) to bolster both companies' LTE networks. Yes, including the one T-Mobile has yet to build. While specifics haven't been disclosed, it sounds like T-Mobile will be the big winner here, walking away with a net gain in spectrum holdings—something the company desperately needs—while paying an undisclosed amount of money to Verizon for the trouble.
Sprint has long been the refuge for data-hungry users that don't want to deal with caps or overages. While Sprint's regular 3G and 4G data usage on phones is still unlimited, back in October the Now Network started capping the mobile hotspot feature at 5GB per month. Starting last Friday, May 18th, that plan is gone. In its place are two pricier options.
The low-end option comes with 2GB of monthly bandwidth and costs $19.99 per month.
The CEO of AT&T's mobile business, Ralph de la Vega, told CNET in an interview that the company is working on family data plans that would give consumers one big pot of data that all devices could share. While minute plans have worked this way for years, since tiered data came along, customers have been waiting on a way to pool their data.
No details are available on how the plans will work, or how it will affect subsidized devices.
This morning, Google Drive finally launched, and for about 30 minutes the pricing structure inconsistencies had me scratching my head. The blog post mentioned a new pricing scheme, with "25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month" and yet the storage upgrade page continued to list old prices - +20GB for $5 a year, and so on, which was much cheaper than the new offerings.
I quickly jumped into the $5 plan to see if it works on Google Drive storage limits, and to my surprise it did (hat tip to @LiamJohnson_95):
Now I was completely confused.