T-Mobile will begin offering unlimited data plans starting July 24, the company announced today. The new data plans may be a bold attempt to differentiate T-Mobile from AT&T and Verizon, perhaps even undermining one of the reasons AT&T cited for wanting to buy up the smaller carrier: that T-Mobile wasn't trying hard enough to compete. However, T-Mobile says that "high-speed" (read: 3G and HPSA+) data will be capped at 2GB, 5GB, or 10GB a month depending on the plan, so only data as slow as 2G will flow freely.
The current least expensive unlimited data plan is priced at $139.98 per month for two lines, and is accompanied by a disclaimer that customers may be reduced to "up to 2G speeds" once their 2GB allotment of high-speed data is used. T-Mobile did not respond to requests for clarification.
T-Mobile stresses customers won't be charged for overages, though customers will be dropped down to the slower 2G network once they pass their monthly data allotments. T-Mobile notes that the unlimited data plans will be upgradeable to "2GB, 5GB, or 10GB of high-speed data." There is no mention of pricing, save the example cited above.
If individual plans follow the form of the family plans and also lose the $20 charge for data, customers will be able to pay $59.99 per month for unlimited minutes, texts, and 2GB of "high-speed" data, which is also T-Mobile's least expensive plan. Verizon's least expensive plan with 2GB of data and limited minutes and texts is $70 per month at $30 for 2GB, and AT&T's is $64.99 per month at $25 for 2GB.