So how will Sprint compete against AT&T and Verizon as it joins the iPhone family this fall? According to a report this morning from Bloomberg, it will deliver something new iPhone owners can't get elsewhere in the US today: an unlimited data plan.
All but officially confirmed that the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier will get the iPhone 5 next month, sources close to the carrier say Sprint will become the only US operator to offer the device with unlimited data service for a flat fee.
Sprint has been using the iPhone’s launch as retention tool with its executives, as it expects the addition of the device to boost its stock price, said one person familiar with the situation. Sprint fell 8 cents to $3.37 at 9:46 a.m. on the New York Stock Exchange, and had declined 18 percent this year before today.
According to Matthew Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities LLC, “It’s a competitive disadvantage if your two larger competitors have the iPhone and you don’t. Getting the iPhone closes that gap.” But even more, offing the iPhone with unlimited data could steal many, many customers away from AT&T and Verizon.
“The advantage of unlimited is, it’s cheaper for the big users,” Peter Rhamey, an analyst at Bank of Montreal, tells Bloomberg. "The plans may draw other customers because people don’t like bill shock. Consumers will pay a premium for unlimited.”
To read the full report from Bloomberg, click here.