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Double Data Promotions Latest Battleground in Ongoing Cellular Price Wars

I'll double your data. No, I'll double your data.

In what is an increasingly fierce price battle among the four major cellular providers, each carrier is scrambling to up the amount of data offered for a given price.

Sprint kicked things off in August, pledging to offer double the data of Verizon and AT&T for the same price. AT&T fired back on Saturday, announcing a promotion that doubled the amount of data included on several of its plans.

Sprint responded on Wednesday, saying it would keep its pledge and offer nearly double the data promised by AT&T in its promotion, with Sprint upping the amounts of shared data in its highest-end family plans.

Verizon, unwilling to sit on the sidelines, on Wednesday announced promotional changes to its plans for the month of October, more than doubling the amount of data offered on its top-end plans and offering a 15 gigabyte plan that can be shared by up to 10 lines for $110 per month. (Verizon, like AT&T, charges one fee for shared data and a second fee for each phone or other device connecting to the account. Sprint also charges a fee on its family plans, but is currently waiving that fee for those who pay full price for a phone or bring their own devices.)

T-Mobile, meanwhile, has extended a promotion that was due to expire that offered four lines for $100 per month, with each line getting 2.5GB of data per month. (T-Mobile doesn’t offer pooled data usage in the same way as the others and also doesn’t have a per-device fee.)

The already competitive landscape has heated up considerably since Marcelo Claure took over as CEO of Sprint, with both Sprint and T-Mobile having committed to being the price leader among the major carriers. Though loath to cut prices, AT&T and Verizon have made a number of changes to their pricing plans this year amid the stepped-up competition.

All the carriers have also shifted to heavier promotion of plans in which customers pay the full cost of their device, often in monthly installments. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint still offer the option to get a discounted phone in exchange for a two-year contract, though many of the latest offers are either cheaper or only available to those paying full price for a device.

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