T-Mobile debuts four data pricing tiers

Verizon readies shared data plans for mid-summer launch; will end unlimited grandfathered data

T-Mobile USA will debut four new "No Annual Contract" data service plans on Sunday.

The data tiers, which the carrier termed "passes," apply to tablets, mobile hotspots and laptop sticks, but not smartphones.

The new pricing plans are: $15 for a one-week 300MB pass; a $25 one-month 1.5GB pass; a $35 one-month 3.5GB pass and $50 for a one-month 5GB pass.

T-Mobile already has a separate unlimited data plan bundled with unlimited talk and text for $70 a month for pre-paid customers. That plan calls for speeds to be throttled beyond the first 5 GB used.

The new T-Mobile data tiers come amid a variety of data pricing changes by most of the major carriers.

Sprint still offers unlimited data plans, and will even offer them for its coming 4G LTE smartphones, while AT&T and Verizon Wireless have monthly data tier plans.

Verizon Wireless says that it's is evaluating a number of sweeping changes, including the addition of shared data plans. "Customers have told us that they want to share data, similar to how they share minutes today," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

She added that Verizon plans to add shared data plans to its pricing schemes later this year.

On Wednesday, Fierce Wireless reported that Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo told an investor's conference that Verizon will kill grandfathered $30 a month unlimited data plans as customers migrate to 4G networks.

Shammo said users of the unlimited data plans will be migrated to shared data plans that are slated to launch in mid-summer. Pricing and other details of the new plans weren't disclosed.

Shammo did say that the Verizon shared data plans would apply to multiple 4G devices shared across a family or small business.

It's unclear how long a Verizon customer will be allowed to stay on 3G.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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