Unlimited plans cause value war among big 4 carriers

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
March 16, 2017, 3:05 PM GMT+0

The smoke is clearing in the unlimited data war between wireless carriers and T-Mobile seems to have emerged the leader.

T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s all-you-can-eat plans had been in place for months when both Verizon and AT&T jumped into the fray this February. That seemed to spark further price cutting between carriers.

Historically, T-Mobile and Verizon have sparred back and forth in consumer value perception, with AT&T occasionally making its presence known. However, T-Mobile took the lead around Christmas time and broke free from the other carriers, even with the new plans and price wars in effect.

When Verizon announced its unlimited data plan in mid-February, Verizon experienced a distinct two-week value perception bump, but not quite enough to pass T-Mobile. This was Verizon’s first unlimited data plan offer since 2011.

Like Verizon, AT&T’s move represented a reversal in data plan strategy. This past January, it imposed the second rate increase in a year for grandfathered unlimited data plans. By the following month, AT&T turned around with unlimited data deals to potential customers, just after Verizon announced their version. Their value perception movement has been minor, leaving them to battle Sprint for third and fourth place.

YouGov BrandIndex measured all four major wireless carriers with its Value score, asking respondents: "Does it give good value for what you pay?"

Value score ranges from -100 to 100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position. 

Value: AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon Wireless