Sprint has one-upped its competitors with an all-you-can-eat plan of $100 a month. The struggling wireless company, as it announced a whopping $29.5 billion loss for the fourth quarter, added unlimited data services to the unlimited voice buckets recently offered by AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile.
It'll be interesting to see if the stronger companies respond to Sprint. Most of the wireless carriers had just started to reap benefits from the billions they spent on high-speed data networks. For several years, consumers didn't seem much interested. Now we're using phones for text messaging, Web surfing, and media sipping in rapidly growing numbers.
The data revenues reported by Sprint's competitors are impressive. AT&T said data sales had jumped nearly 60 percent in the fourth quarter over a year earlier. Verizon Wireless saw its revenues jump 65 percent for the full year. Sprint trailed, with data revenues up only 21 percent for the year.
The last thing most of the industry wants is a price war for Web and related services. Sprint apparently is too desperate to care.