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Friday, January 15, 2010, 03:25 pm PT (06:25 pm ET)

AT&T matches Verizon, reduces iPhone unlimited monthly plan by $30

Hours after Verizon announced its own reduced rates, AT&T responded in kind, offering a $99.99 per month unlimited voice and data plan for iPhone customers.

Starting Monday, iPhone customers will be able to sign up for unlimited voice and data for $99.99. The new plan is a $30 decrease over the previous rate. AT&T is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.S.

Customers with Family Talk plans, which include at least two smartphones, unlimited voice and data now runs $179.99. For all plans, unlimited texts will remain an extra $20 for individuals and $30 for Family Talk 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 on the nation’s fastest 3G network," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.

"Our new plans reflect customers' continuing desire to do more with their phones – including talking and browsing the Web at the same time. Plus these new plans make it even more attractive to choose AT&T which already offers customers the best 3G experience and the industry’s most popular and innovative devices."

Existing AT&T customers can choose to switch to any of the new plans without penalty or contract extension. Just visit the online account management tool at att.com/wireless.

Additional new plans for non-smartphone customers are also available. Feature phone customers can get unlimited talk for $69.99 for individuals and Family Talk plans starting at $119.99. Quick messaging devices can also get those prices.

The pricing changes came in response to new plans unveiled by Verizon Friday. Verizon also announced it is doing away with its $19.99 75MB data package for 3G multimedia phones. In its place is the 25MB, $9.99-per-month plan for all 3G phones, giving access to e-mail, games and the Internet. The $69.999 unlimited calling plan does not include data costs.

Both companies' billing changes come as they are in a heated battle for customers. AT&T and Verrizon were involved in a heavily publicized legal battle that was eventually dropped, though both companies remain engaged in advertising that heavily criticizes the other.

Verizon has parodied Apple's "There's an app for that" slogan by comparing its superior coverage 3G coverage map with AT&T, using the tagline "There's a map for that." And AT&T hired actor Luke Wilson to "set the record straight" on AT&T's coverage and point out areas where AT&T beats Verizon, like the ability to make calls and access data on handsets at the same time.

Verizon's comments on the prospect of tiered data plans were similar to what AT&T President Ralph de La Vega said last month. The AT&T executive's comments led to rumors that the wireless provider intended to introduce tiered plans for iPhone users, something the company emphatically denied was in the works.