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Updated: MetroPCS Raising LTE Data Prices

A user on Howard Forums has posted what appears to be a screenshot from a MetroPCS web site intended for its dealers. It seems to indicate that the carrier will be making some major changes to its LTE 4G plans.

Currently all of Metro's LTE plans include unlimited voice, messaging and non-streaming data. Streaming video and audio data consumption is capped at 100 MB on the $40 plan and 1 GB on the $50 plan. The $60 plan includes unlimited data of all kinds, including streaming.

The rumored new plans make all data, not just streaming, subject to a cap. It's a soft cap, meaning that when the limit is reached data speeds will be slowed to an unspecified level rather than being cut off entirely. The cap is 250 MB on the $40 plan, 2.5 GB on the $50 plan and 5 GB on the $60 plan.  There will be a new $70 plan that includes unlimited data.

The most obvious change is that the price of unlimited LTE data is going up by $10. Metro is sweetening the blow by including both its premium streaming features (Rhapsody and Metro Studo) in the $70 plan, but it's still a price increase.

There are a lot of unknowns with these changes, including how slow the capped speeds will be and whether current users will be allowed to keep their old plans.

The current $40 plan offers unlimited 4G data for Web browsing and non-streaming apps making it a great value for anyone who doesn't stream music or videos. The plan changes might mean unacceptably slow browsing after the cap.

AT&T postpaid and T-Mobile prepaid's  capped speeds are under 100 Kbps which many find almost unusable. On the other hand Virgin Mobile users who it's  256 Kbps cap find it OK for browsing and even audio streaming.

Here's a table summarizing the changes.
Old New
Price Streaming Data Hard Cap Included Features All Data Soft Cap Features
$40 100 MB Voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, 3 Way calling 250 MB Voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, 3 Way calling, free 411
$50 1 GB All above plus text short codes, IM, international text, Screen-it, Metro 411 2.5 GB All above plus text short codes, international text, Screen-it, Metro 411
$60 unlimited All above plus choice of Rhapsody Unlimited Music or MetroStudio Video on Demand 5 GB All above plus Rhapsody Unlimited Music
$70 N/A N/A unlimited All above plus MetroStudio Video on Demand

Update: 3-Apr-2012. this is no longer a  rumor. The new plans are live on the MetroPCS site as of today. A user on Howard Forums reports that they were grandfathered on one of the old plans.

Source: Howard Forum

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