Ina Fried

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New T-Mobile Unlimited Plan Provides Fresh Ammo for Sprint Ads

T-Mobile on Wednesday introduced a cheaper version of its unlimited voice, text and data plan, offering the combination for $79.99, though heavy data users will see their speeds throttled after they hit 2GB of data usage in a given month.

The two-year contract plan is being offered in addition to a pricier $99 plan that doesn’t start throttling data speeds until a user hits 5GB of data.

For those who don’t have a television or who fast-forward through all the commercials, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has been all over the airwaves touting his dictionary skills and how the definition of “unlimited” shouldn’t include overage charges or throttling. (Sprint has, however, added a $10 monthly surcharge for smartphones.)

T-Mobile touted the new option as offering a better value, saying customers can save more than $350 a year using its new plan, as compared to rivals.

“Consumers today are looking for even more value and flexibility from their wireless plans,” T-Mobile Senior VP John Clelland said in a statement. “While data plans for many of our competitors continue to be very expensive, T-Mobile is lowering the price of our unlimited plan and offering more options, making it easier than ever for customers to step up to a richer mobile data experience on our 4G network.”

As for the throttling, T-Mobile noted that the slower speeds are only for the remainder of the billing cycle and that its smartphone customers use, on average, about 1GB of data per month.

The industry has been struggling over what to do with unlimited pricing, especially in a business where there is limited capacity. Verizon and AT&T have been moving toward tiered pricing, though Verizon has been offering a limited-time unlimited option for the iPhone and other devices. Sprint, meanwhile, has tried to use unlimited options as a way to stand out from the pack and perhaps gain some ground.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus