Sprint Nextel Corp (S) will offer the company Apple Inc (AAPL)’s iPhone in the next month with unlimited data service plans to distinguish itself from competitors AT & T Inc (T) and Verizon Wireless, according to people familiar with the matter .
Sprint, the third largest U.S. wireless carrier, plans to begin selling the device in mid-October under a deal with Apple, for the next model, iPhone 5, said people who are not found, because the plans are not public. Be the sole operator of the country to offer a device with unlimited data service for a flat fee can help to attract customers from Sprint AT & T and Verizon Wireless, which already carry the phone, they said.
Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kansas, is struggling to compete with larger rivals, and lost money for 15 consecutive quarters. Adding iPhone to Sprint’s lineup will help it win customers, said Matthew Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities LLC.
“This is a competitive disadvantage if your two larger competitors in the iPhone, and you do not,” Thornton said in an interview. “Getting the iPhone closes this gap.”
Michelle Leff Mermelstein, a spokesman for Sprint, said the company does not comment on products or services which it has not been declared. Natalie Harrison, a representative of Apple, declined to comment on rumors or speculation.
Sprint already offers unlimited data plans for smartphones such as Research In Motion Ltd (RIMM) ‘s BlackBerry and HTC Corp (2498)’ s Evo, which runs on Google Inc (GOOG) ‘s operating system Android. Unlimited Sprint voice and data service costs $ 99.99 per month.
AT & T and Verizon
AT & T and Verizon charge you for data services on top of voice service plans. AT & T, which has unlimited voice for $ 69.99 per month, offers 200 megabytes of data for $ 15 a month, 2 gigabytes of data for $ 25 a month, or 4 GB of data for $ 45 a month. Verizon’s data plans for iPhone start at $ 30 per month for 2 GB and up to $ 80 for 10 GB, in addition to the unlimited voice for $ 69.99 per month.
Unlimited data plans to draw, because they allow customers to browse Web pages, photos, share or watch as much as they want. They are particularly valuable for people who use mobile devices for applications such as Netflix Inc (NFLX) ‘s movie service or Pandora Media Inc.’ s streaming music.
“The advantage of unlimited that it is cheaper for big users,” Peter Rhamey, an analyst at Bank of Montreal, said in an interview. Plans may involve other customers, because “people do not like the bill shock,” he said. “Consumers will pay for unlimited.”
IPhone vs. Android
IPhone will not lead to more use of data on a customer than Sprint is already seeing from customers who are for Android phones. In the first quarter, Android smartphone owners in the U.S. consumed an average of 582 megabytes of data per month, compared with 492 megabytes for iPhone owners, according to Nielsen Co. analysis of nearly 65,000 cell phone bill.
IPhone from Apple was a valuable recruiting tool for rivals: the 5.6 million smartphones sold AT & T in the second quarter, the device was 3.6 million. A quarter of customers who bought iPhone were new to AT & T, the company said.
Sprint uses the iPhone launch as a tool to keep with its leaders, since he expects that adding a device to increase its stock price, said one person familiar with the situation.
Sprint was unchanged at $ 3.45 at 4 pm on the New York Stock Exchange, and declined 18 percent this year. Apple, fell $ 6.66, or 1.7 percent, to $ 377.48 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading and has risen 17 percent this year.
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