Just how is Verizon’s jump into the unlimited data plans going to affect the rest of the US carriers as they tinker with their own plans to combat Verizon’s move? By now everybody knows that Verizon caved on their plan to “not entertain” the idea of unlimited data. The carrier claimed that there was no money to made by taking that step. However, this standoff especially allowed T-Mobile and Sprint to go aggressively after new customers based solely on their unlimited data plans. Verizon’s $80 a month for a single line, $140 a month for two devices, three at $162, and four devices at $180 are very competitive rates. These prices are strictly for the unlimited plan, as devices and taxes would be an extra cost on top of this. Verizon is also keeping its tiered data plans for customers that want smaller amounts of data and a lower price tag.
Verizon can no longer hold out on the basis that they are the superior network as others start to close in on them. They still hold the top spot in 4G availability at 88.2-percent, but T-Mobile was only 2-percent lower. AT&T is close to Verizon as Sprint brings up the rear. AT&T immediately made changes to their unlimited plans and will most likely be the least affected by Verizon’s move. T-Mobile and especially Sprint will endure the most adverse effect from Verizon’s unlimited data plans – with Verizon’s better coverage and competitive pricing, Sprint is sure to take a hit. T-Mobile tends to have very loyal customers that believe their carrier will take care of them. All signs so far point to a favorable increase in customers for Verizon, although many analysts believe the benefits will be short-lived and in the long run, could negatively impact Verizon.
Analysts are predicting that Verizon’s postpaid customer net additions will jump from 540,000 to 605,000 for the first quarter in 2017 and from 2.06 million to 2.33 million customers for the entire year. They lowered estimates for T-Mobile and Sprint because of Verizon’s gains. However, they kept AT&T estimates the same as their own unlimited plans have helped them to win back customers. AT&T added unlimited plans in January 2016, but only for those subscribers that bundled their cable or DirecTV package with their smartphone plan, which has since opened in up to all subscribers. Analysts feel there will be a small impact on T-Mobile with Sprint having to worry the most because they have the least amount of coverage and less loyal customers.