Reports of the iPhone’s forthcoming launch on Sprint just don’t seem to quit, and today is no exception. Sources close to the situation say that Sprint plans to retain their unlimited data plans for use with the iPhone when it makes it official debut some time in October.
If this actually pans out, then Sprint gains the lofty distinction of being the only nationwide carrier to offer unlimited data for use with the iPhone.
This move stands in stark contrast to larger rivals AT&T and Verizon, who have both already made the shift into tiered data plans. Bloomberg’s sources say that Sprint hopes that by committing to unlimited data, they will siphon customers away from their larger, pricier rivals. Sprint is generally outgunned by the other two as far as network coverage, so it seems like they’re going to do whatever it takes to make their iPhone launch a fruitful one.
While offering unlimited data is quite the competitive advantage, one big question is left hanging in the air: how long will it last? If demand for a Sprint iPhone is as high as they hope, then a big wave of new customers jonesing for all-you-can-eat data could ultimately end up straining Sprint’s network. A recent study from Validas shows that Sprint’s smartphone customers already are among the hungriest in the market, meaning that customers who show up expecting unlimited data are more likely to use it.
The worst case scenario for Sprint would be if they decided to go the Verizon route: when they launched the iPhone 4 back in February, Verizon kept their unlimited data plan, only to kill it four months later. Verizon had the robustness of their network to fall back on, but with a smaller network, Sprint may not be able to accomplish that same feat. Once everyone has the iPhone, the only thing that will set Sprint apart is that data plan — let’s hope it’s here to stay.