Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) announced the iPhone5 with Straight Talk Unlimited plan earlier in January. The premise is that the customer pays $649 for a 16 GB smartphone and $45 a month for unlimited data, text, and data. On the surface, this new plan may sound like a smart one but some sources disagree.
TechNewsDaily claims this new phone has some significant restrictions, namely the "unlimited" data. Apparently, users can gobble up the first 2GB of data without a problem. However, once they go over that limit, the throughput is throttled, making downloads slow. Fortunately, users who don't go over the 2GB-limit, shouldn't have a problem. If users are willing to pay more upfront for the actual phone and they don't plan on using the phone for data or sending texts very often, they may find this a good deal.
However, smartphone users looking for a discounted monthly bill have other options. Virgin Mobile offers the iPhone 4 (8GB) for $349.99 and the iPhone 4S (16gb) for $449.99. Both phones work with the Beyond Talk Unlimited Data and messaging plans which start at $35 a month.These phones are also 3G capable.
Cricket Communications offers a similar service with the iPhone5. You can purchase the latest 16GB smartphone for $499.99 or the iPhone 4S for $399.99. For those on a tighter budget, Cricket also offers the iPhone 4 for $299.99. Their specialized iPhone plans start at $55 a month and include unlimited voice, messaging, and data.
Still for many users who want the best value, a post paid plan from AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), or Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) may be the way to go. For those who are willing to wait a little bit longer, T-Mobile will offer the iPhone and coordinating plans in the near future.
The best thing about post-paid plans is that users usually pay less upfront for the phone and sometimes they get better service. The fact is iPhone users now have lots of choices and this gives Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) more leverage in the market.