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Changes for Carriers, Data, and Prices Are Coming

October 2, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

The Big Four in the United States are always making the news, and it’s often for either great things like bargains on data plans or terrible things like Verizon’s almost-was unlimited data customer throttling.  But today they garner our attention as a kind of recognition for what they’ve done so far and the things that are to come, regarding the shared data plans that promise a huge value over single lines with their own individual data amounts.

AT&T began their massive bonus data deal until the end of October, offering to double the amount of data on the plan, beginning at the $130 for 15 GB level up to their 50 GB plan.  These plans then become 30 GB up to 100 GB of data for a month.  And that guaranteed doubled data lasts for as long as the lines exist on the contract (so hypothetically speaking, that could be forever if you kept your service with AT&T).  The thing is, though, that Sprint and Verizon are also playing the ‘here’s what looks like a discount on data and pricing, but it’s only for a limited amount of time that it stays effective’.  But are they really?

T-Mobile is the largest and most obvious reason for this aggressive plan pricing and massive rush for lower prices on both devices and the plans that power them.  T-Mobile set the standard with its Jump plans, where you pay off a device as you go through the months of your plan, and after a set amount of months, you can jump to another, new device and restart that process.  T-Mobile is also famously the only carrier that allows customers to actually own their devices by the end of their contracts, paying off a fraction of the entire multi-hundred dollar price of the phone over the months, along with paying their bill for service.  Verizon has EDGE, Sprint has Easy Pay, and AT&T has Next.  All of these copy in some slightly specific way compared to Jump to make them fit the carriers’ needs and desires.

The thing to watch out for though folks is the coming drop in prices for data.  T-Mobile showed everyone that price didn’t have to be three times the amount of data allotted per month, and the other three followed suit.  But now, with AT&T doing this doubled data deal, and the competition being what keeps the four-way system alive in the United States, we can expect to see something like further lowered prices for data, or , as AT&T is offering for a limited time, more data for the already-set prices, starting at some point in their price hierarchy.  So, what do you hope to see happen with the four-way system in the U.S., and who do you think will lead it?  What thing in today’s current system and slew of problems and stupidity of plans and pricing do you hope to see reform or eradicated entirely?  Let us know down below.