(Reuters) - U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp said it will introduce new rate plans for 4G tablets that offer customers up to 20 percent more data than rivals for the same price.
Competition is heating up among wireless carriers to meet growing customer demand for data as more people buy handheld devices with Internet browsing capabilities.
Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service, also said in a statement that it is waiving for a limited time the activation fee on all 3G and 4G LTE tablets.
The wireless carrier said it will offer four monthly plans designed specifically for 4G LTE tablets, starting at $14.99 for 300 megabytes (MB) of data, $34.99 for 3 gigabyte (GB) of data, $49.99 for 6GB, and $79.99 for 12GB.
The new rate plans will be available for all Sprint 4G LTE tablets and require no contract.
Sprint also said its smartphone customers can add a tablet to their account with a discounted rate plan that includes 1 GB of data for $15 per month, or as little as $10 per month for 100 MB of data on the company's network.
Unlike its major rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T, Sprint does not offer family plans for data.
Earlier this month, Japanese mobile operator Softbank Corp said it would buy about 70 percent of Sprint Nextel for $20.1 billion, the most a Japanese firm has spent on an overseas acquisition.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Chris Gallagher)