Bloomberg: Sprint to Offer Unlimited iPhone Data Plans

It’s a potential move that could prove a game changer of sorts in the iPhone world.

According to a report this morning from Bloomberg, Sprint – the third largest mobile carrier in the United States – will deliver something new iPhone owners can’t get elsewhere: an unlimited data plan.

As Apple gears up to release the iPhone 5 next month, sources speaking with Bloomberg say Sprint will become the only US operator to offer the fifth-generation device with unlimited data service for a “flat fee.”

Matthew Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities LLC, says the acquisition of the iPhone will mean big business for Sprint.

“It’s a competitive disadvantage if your two larger competitors have the iPhone and you don’t,” Thornton says. “Getting the iPhone closes that gap.”

Apple’s iPhone has proved to be a valuable recruitment tool for rivals: Of the 5.6 million smartphones AT&T sold in the second quarter, the device accounted for 3.6 million. A quarter of the subscribers who bought the iPhone were new to AT&T, the company said.

“The advantage of unlimited is, it’s cheaper for the big users,” Peter Rhamey, an analyst at Bank of Montreal, tells Bloomberg. “The plans may draw other customers because people don’t like bill shock. Consumers will pay a premium for unlimited.”