But Sprint and T-Mobile recognized in unlimited data an opportunity to snare customers from heavyweights Verizon and AT&T.
Many consumers might say the move is long overdue, since unlimited data plans are now everywhere.
"As the carrier was the last holdout, the announcement solidifies the industry's move back to unlimited plans which ultimately constricts growth and elevates the pressure to drive down network costs", Amir Rozwadowski, an analyst at Barclays, said in a note.
Verizon: One line for $80, two for $70 each ($140), three for $54 each ($162), and four for $45 a line ($180). First T-Mobile came with its unlimited data along with streaming video and all, the catch was that it cost you more if you wanted HD video streaming with T-Mobile.
The plans include unlimited data, talk, and text, plus HD video streaming. Right on top of that, the Un-carrier introduced a new offer of two lines on T-Mobile ONE for just $100.
After customers use the full 4G LTE data on the hotspot, the speeds drop to 3G.
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T-Mobile shares fell 2.8 percent in early afternoon trading on Nasdaq.
As part of its attempt to attract new customers, Verizon said customers who switch from a rival and trade in newer smartphones can get their choice of an Apple iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, a Samsung Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge, or a Google Pixel phone for free.
Verizon's announcement of unlimited data plans comes as the nation's biggest wireless carriers have ramped up their efforts to lure new customers. That's because corporate and group discounts do not apply and customers must sign up for paperless billing and AutoPay, using a checking account or debit card.
To be fair, that's a lot of data. According to their press release, to "ensure a quality experience for all customers, after 22 GB of data usage on a line during any billing cycle we may prioritize usage behind other customers in the event of network congestion". The average United States wireless customer reportedly uses around 2GB of data per month.
As for video, the ONE plan originally limited subscribers to 480p "optimized" video provided for free through its Binge On program, but users will now be able to stream Binge On content in a higher resolution by default.