Sprint Nextel is banking that its unlimited data plan will continue to set its iPhone apart from the others -- even when the next version arrives.
If the next iteration of the iPhone arrives with LTE, Sprint will continue to offer a no-strings unlimited plan, CEO Dan Hesse told CNET. The company is already sticking with unlimited for its first batch of LTE phones, but it was unclear whether the offer would apply to next iPhone.
"I'm not anticipating the unlimited plan would change by that point," he said. "That's our distinctive differentiator."
Hesse believes the decision to stick with unlimited has been a boon for the company, drawing in new customers who wouldn't have otherwise considered the carrier.
"Frankly, it's a marriage made in heaven," he said about the combination of unlimited and the iPhone. "We're clearly attracting customers from our competitors."
The company earlier reported first-quarter results, posting a wider loss as a result of costs related to the shutdown of its Nextel network, but eking out a small gain in revenue. It activated 1.5 million iPhones in the period, with 44 percent coming from customers new to the carrier.
Hesse stressed that he didn't know when Apple would release the next iPhone, or whether it would even have LTE. It's generally believed that the next iPhone would be compatible with LTE after the latest batch of iPads came with the feature.
But Hesse did say he believed that if the next iPhone was capable of riding on LTE networks, all of the carriers would get that ability.
"Our expectation is that we will all get the same device at the same time," he said.