Friday, September 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm.

Sprint iPhone with unlimited data: Not that big of a deal

Bloomberg’s Olga Kharif reports that Sprint will sell the iPhone next month with unlimited data plans, which AT&T and Verizon no longer offer.

It’s certainly good news for Sprint and its customers that they’ll have access to the iPhone now — it means Sprint will probably retain more customers now, and could even win some new ones.

But I don’t think unlimited data is that big of a draw — at least not enough to go through the hassle of switching providers. I don’t even come close to the AT&T 2 GB limit, and most smartphone users don’t, either, Bloomberg notes:

In the first quarter, Android smartphone owners in the U.S. consumed an average of 582 megabytes of data each month, compared with 492 megabytes for iPhone owners, according to Nielsen Co.’s analysis of nearly 65,000 cell-phone bills.

So unlimited data alone isn’t likely to help Sprint steal a significant portion of its competitors’ customers.

I’m probably also in the minority here, but I’d be much more likely to consider switching to a provider that offered data-only iPhone plans, without a mandatory voice plan. But given that voice service still represents the majority of carrier revenue — and is likely much more profitable than data service — I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. At least not from a major carrier like Sprint. (And especially not with the same iPhone subsidy.)

Related: iPhone for Sprint: Long-term gain but short-term pain