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AT&T, Verizon Signal Start Of Price War

With AT&T and Verizon Wireless debuting new lower-cost plans Monday, consumers were hoping a possible price war would lead to better prices. AT&T followed up with its price cuts after Verizon Wireless unveiled a brace of new plans Friday.

Both firms are seeking to keep revenues and profits stable while attempting to deal with increasingly congested networks as Americans flock to smartphones. AT&T, under network congestion pressure due to the success of its iPhone, unveiled new plans across-the-board, but seemed to be concentrating on its smartphone lineup with its new service plans.

"With more than twice the number of smartphone customers as our nearest competitor, we are committed to offering great value and choice for customers who want to talk, text, and surf," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a statement. "Our new plans reflect customers' continuing desire to do more with their phones -- including talking and browsing the Web at the same time."

AT&T said that its smartphone customers, including its iPhone subscribers, can purchase unlimited voice and data for $99.99. Unlimited voice and data for smartphone customers with Family Talk plans can get the service for $179.99 a month, AT&T said. AT&T also launched plans for feature phones and quick messaging device customers. The company said its existing customers may switch to the new plans without penalty or contract extension.

The other major U.S. mobile phone carriers -- Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile -- have for months been offering service plans similar to the new AT&T and Verizon plans.