Today was a very interesting day in the U.S. mobile market. T-Mobile announced new plans and a new device today at its “Boldest Moves Yet” event in New York. Planned or unplanned, the event coincided with the closing of Sprint’s three party marriage with its now wholly owned subsidiary Clearwire and its 70% owner Japanese Telco Softbank. AT&T also announced it will be having its own event on July 16th to announce its next moves.
T-Mobile had a few announcements today, but the one most people will take note of is its “Jump” Program. It’s a combination upgrade and protection plan that for $10 extra a month, lets customers upgrade twice a year. As long as the phone is working and not damaged, T-Mobile will let the user trade it in for the remainder of the balance of their payment plan. Users can then purchase a new device at the down payment price plus the monthly payments. If you old device is damaged, you can be charged a deductible that varies depending on your device.
For families with imperfect credit, T-Mobile is introducing the Simple Choice family plan with no credit check. For $100 a month, plus a one-time deposit equal to your monthly rate, you get unlimited talk and text and up to 500MB of data. T-Mobile also announced that its LTE upgrade was ahead of schedule and now available in 116 markets serving 157 million people. The Un-carrier also restated its goal of 200 markets by the end of 2013 and that its LTE network has been built up in 4 months. Lastly, they announced two smartphones, the Sony Xperia Z and the Nokia Lumia 925
Source: T-Mobile Press Release
Despite all the Dish drama, the 3-way merger is now complete. Yesterday, Sprint bought all remaining shares in Clearwire at a price of $5.00 per share following approval of shareholders. Today, SoftBank purchased 72% of the current Sprint’s shares at a price of $7.65 per share. Though through some other maneuvering, the new Sprint will be 78% owned by Softbank and remaining shareholders holding the other 22%. Using Clearwire’s 2.6ghz band 41 spectrum that its Wimax network uses and the 800mhz band 26 spectrum that formerly housed the Nextel iDen network, the company has plenty of room to grow out the LTE network. It should be noted though, that no current devices will work on either.
You may not have to wait long to see changes. Based on a leaked document cited by Engadget, Sprint will be implementing new plans as early as this Friday, July 12th. The plans are expected to be called “My Way” which give you choice between lines and data. There is also a completely unlimited “My Way All In” Which gives Unlimited Talk, Text, and device data plus 5GB for personal hotspot for $110 a month. There is also a lifetime guarantee for the new unlimited plans, though how binding this will actually be in the future is anyone’s guess.
Update: the plans are official,
AT&T will be holding its “What’s Next in Wireless” event next Tuesday the 16th. What they will be actually announcing is up to interpretation. The new most likely candidates are new plans and policies, perhaps similar to what T-Mobile has announced, or maybe future plans for its LTE network like Voice over LTE or the next step called LTE Advanced. It could also be a phone for that matter. If there is anything substantial, we’ll bring you the news.