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T-Mobile and Sprint have new unlimited plans with plenty of limits

Both companies are capping video, while Sprint will also limit music and gaming speeds.

John Legere at Code Mobile
T-Mobile CEO John Legere

Unlimited data is back. Sort of.

After years of moving away from such plans, three of the four major U.S. mobile carriers once again have an all-you-can-eat option.

On Thursday, T-Mobile and Sprint announced new rate plans that focus on unlimited data, though there are actually some significant limits.

Under the new T-Mobile One plans, customers get unlimited high-speed data for $70 per month, with video capped at standard-definition quality. Those who want HD video can get it for $25 per month. As is standard in the industry, additional lines cost less as customers with multiple lines tend to be the ones that stick around longer.

Tablets can also be added for $20 per month.

Sprint, meanwhile, is offering two lines of unlimited service for $100, though it says it will limit speeds for video, music and gaming. Its current unlimited plans don’t feature such restrictions.

While “unlimited” sounds good, the truth is that T-Mobile was already giving its customers unlimited video and music before, so it was pretty tough to use up one’s high-speed data limits. Sprint, meanwhile, already offered unlimited data with fewer strings attached.

It’s now AT&T that offers the unlimited option with the fewest limits, though to get its unlimited plan customers have to choose it for both wireless and TV service.

T-Mobile won’t force existing customers on to the new plans, but CEO John Legere said the unlimited plan will be its focus going forward.

“At a point relatively soon, this will be the plan and the way of doing business with T-Mobile,” he said on a conference call with reporters.

The new T-Mobile One plan will be available starting Sept. 6, T-Mobile said. Those who want to use their phone as a hotspot can do so, but only at slow 2G speeds.

Shortly after T-Mobile introduced its new plans, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure took to Twitter to announce his plans, noting that the company had already been testing the new rates.

Things went downhill quickly, with Legere accusing Claure of hitting copy and paste, and Claure calling Legere a con artist and a drama queen.

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