Verizon and AT&T dial up wireless plan wars

By Blake Ellis, contributing writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Verizon Wireless said early Friday it will lower prices on its unlimited wireless plans.

Later in the day, AT&T followed suit.

Verizon cut its unlimited family talk and text plan from $229.99 to $149.99 and its nationwide unlimited voice plan was reduced to $69.99 from $99.99.

An unlimited family voice plan will cost users $119.99, down from $199.99, and nationwide unlimited talk and text plans were lowered to $89.99 from $119.99.

"Prices either stayed the same or were lowered for unlimited usage," said Brenda Raney, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman.

The lower prices will be offered Monday. Existing customer contracts will not be affected, but customers may switch over to any of the new plans without a penalty or contract extension.

After the announcement, AT&T said it will cut back prices on unlimited plans as well and the new rates will also be available Monday.

AT&T will lower the price of each of its unlimited plans by $30, leaving the two companies neck and neck yet again.

"We are committed to providing more value to our customers and staying competitive in the marketplace," said AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook. "These new plans make it even more attractive to choose AT&T."

"The reason AT&T had to lower its prices is because its brand reputation is taking a lot of hits," said Doug Helmreich, program director at consultancy CFI Group. "It's predictable just because they are a big player in the market and they can't not respond."

And because competitors won't want to be left in the dust, other wireless service providers including Sprint Nextel (S, Fortune 500), T-Mobile USA are likely to hop on the bandwagon, said Daniel Hays, wireless expert and partner at consultancy PRTM.

But Verizon's smaller -- but growing -- competitors may be even more affected by the price reductions.

"This is going to put continued pressure on some of the smaller players like Leap Wireless (LEAP) and MetroPCS (PCS) who have really been taking the lead in this pricing competition," Hays added. "They're going to be the ones who are going to have primary impact." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,976.31 263.65 1.49%
Nasdaq 4,947.44 56.22 1.15%
S&P 500 2,086.24 25.22 1.22%
Treasuries 1.96 0.01 0.77%
Data as of 5:22am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.52 0.21 1.37%
Intel Corp 31.46 -0.54 -1.69%
Apple Inc 126.37 3.12 2.53%
Altera Corp 42.82 -1.57 -3.54%
Microsoft Corp 40.96 -0.01 -0.02%
Data as of Mar 30
Sponsors

Sections

McDonald's will begin serving McMuffins and hash browns all day at certain locations in the San Diego area. More

The dollar's rapid rally is hurting many emerging market nations. Investors are getting out of dodge. More

Jay Z brought out Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Kanye West, and more to announce Tidal -- his new streaming service owned by the artists themselves. More