Simple Mobile had already rolled out the first all-everything plan with unlimited 4G data at $60/month. Now, the company is offering a new middle ground to combat rival Virgin Mobile.
Simple Mobile is one of only two Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) on the T-Mobile USA network. However, they have gained praise by many for supporting and embracing unlocked (and T-Mobile-compatible) devices and for offering rates competitive with first and second-party prepaid offerings.
Today’s offering slots in Simple Mobile as having the cheapest unlimited-everything plan in America. The plan is $20 cheaper than Virgin Mobile’s unlimited everything plan, and $15 cheaper than Boost’s similar offering. Boost Mobile customers can use the Shrinkage offering to lock in a lower rate, as low as $35 per month, but that requires a customer to constantly pay on-time. Otherwise, the rate goes back up to $55 the moment a customer misses a payment, or chooses to suspend service.
It is not yet clear how Simple Mobile is offering “3G Only” service. Like T-Mobile, Simple Mobile uses HSPA+, an upgrade to HSPA, and declares it to be a 4G technology. It is possible that Simple Mobile is barring access to HSPA+ on SIM cards provisioned with the new plan, but it is more likely that the carrier is throttling.
The company also began formally supporting BlackBerry BIS customers. Similar to Virgin Mobile, the $60 plan price-point remains the same, however for customers that wish to forgo 4G service, the company also offers a 3G unlimited everything plan for $50 per month.
Read more below for industry positioning, analysis, and more on how this new price-point will shake up the sector.
The past month has been fast-paced in offerings from MVNOs. AT&T MVNOs such as H2O Wireless have begun offering unlimited calling-and-data plans for the first time, however, speeds are significantly throttled. H2O for example throttles customers below a half-megabit in HSPA coverage areas, and to below 1.5 mbps in HSPA+ coverage areas.
The move puts Verizon MVNOs such as Page Plus Cellular in an embattled position. Page Plus was the first MVNO to offer an unlimited calling plan that undercut the national carriers. However, in doing so, the plan made compromises, initially offering only 30 MB of data per month. This was due to Verizon charging significantly high per-kilobyte usage rates, which they continue to do so.
Page Plus was expected to increase the allotment to 300 MB within the past month. However, sources informed PhoneNews.com that they have halted such plans after hearing of these changes, and are instead pushing Verizon to offer lower wholesale per-kilobyte rates, as well as a plan to access Verizon’s 4G LTE data network.
Verizon’s Unleashed plans are also significantly undercut by this move; unlike Verizon Unleashed, Simple Mobile heavily touts compatibility with nearly all unlocked GSM smartphones, even unlocked iPhones, which are now officially sold and supported by Apple in the United States. With AT&T’s capped and throttled data, many chose to run iPhone devices on T-Mobile and Simple Mobile, despite the iPhone’s inability to use the 3G network frequencies that T-Mobile operates on.
MVNO unlimited offerings remain a cloudy forecast. Virgin Mobile will begin throttling customers at the end of the month, when they go beyond 2.5 GB. And, as we mention, all AT&T unlimited MVNO data plans also appear to be throttled. Simple Mobile themselves have threatened and cancelled customers that use high levels of data, in direct contrast to their marketing and promotions. Verizon’s Unlimited plans are throttled whenever customers exceed 2 GB of data in a particular month, as are AT&T’s customers.