Sprint launches a combined iPhone-iPad “For Life” deal

Sprint is getting creative with its “For Life” leasing programs, announcing Tuesday that it is creating a $100-a-month package that includes an iPhone 6, a 4G iPad Mini 3 and their service plans. That means unlimited talk, text and data on the iPhone and 2 GBs of monthly data on the iPad.

[company]Sprint[/company] launched its iPhone for Life program in September as an alternative to the two-year contracts and subsidized handset plan, which is gradually getting phased out in the U.S. mobile industry. Instead of owning their [company]Apple[/company] Phones outright, customers essentially lease them for two years, and the trade up their latest version of the iPhone at their end of their contract. It essentially functions like a smartphone upgrade program for customers who are willing to wait two years for a new smartphone.

The program proved popular, so Sprint extended For Life to Android smartphone and even tablets. This new bundle, however, not only puts your slate and phone lease on the same timeline, it also offers a further discount on Sprint’s regular For Life plans. Bought separately, a rented 16 GB iPhone 6 with unlimited plan would cost $70 a month, while a 16 GB iPad Mini 3 with a 2 GB data plan would run $47 a month. That’s a savings of $17 a month.

AT&T strikes back at T-Mobile with its own data rollover plan

T-Mobile’s Data Stash, which lets you carry over unused megabytes from one month to the next, has only been lived seven days, but AT&T has already come up with a counter plan. It announced its own data rollover program on Wednesday that will allow customers on its shared plans to save their leftover data at the end of each billing cycle.

Rollover Data launches on January 25, and it will automatically apply to all customers on AT&T’s Mobile Share Value plans. But as always with programs like these, there is a big caveat. [company]AT&T[/company] won’t let you keep banking the same data month after month. You have to use it up in the next billing cycle or lose it. Here’s how AT&T explains it:

If you have four lines and have a 15GB AT&T Mobile Share Value Plan and only use 10GB in a given month, you’ll roll over 5GB and have a total of 20GB available to use within the next month.  If you were to only use 10GB in the second month, you’ll again roll over 5GB and have a total of 20GB available the next month. Bottom line: if you have unused plan data this month, it automatically rolls over to be used within the next month in case you need more than your plan’s allotment. This gives you that extra data to do the things you love across all your devices, like surfing the web, watching videos, listening to your favorite music or sending email.

[company]T-Mobile[/company]’s Data Stash lets you keep banking data for a full year after you accrue it (think of your saved megabytes as frequent flier miles that expire after a year). But T-Mobile’s program has its own caveats, the biggest one being that it’s only available to individual line subscribers with a postpaid data plan of 3GB or more. Also, for some strange reason, you can’t actually start rolling data over on Data Stash until you use up an initial 10GB of free data with which T-Mobile is seeding all of its eligible customers’ accounts.

Each program has its pros and cons. AT&T’s Data Rollover is available at any level of shared plan so you can carry over data even on the lowliest 300 MB plan. That data can be used by any device attached to that plan. Data Stash, on the other hand, is restricted to heavier-use individual plans. But because of AT&T’s Data Rollover’s mechanics, you can’t cram big piles of gigabytes under the mattress. Meanwhile, T-Mobile’s plans let you truly bank big chunks of data for a rainy day.

What’s most interesting, though, is how quickly AT&T responded to T-Mobile’s new Uncarrier policy. T-Mobile isn’t even getting a month to test the waters before AT&T’s rival rollover plan goes into effect. AT&T was fast to follow T-Mobile’s phone upgrade program Jump as well, announcing its Next upgrade plans just a week later.

It’s clear that AT&T views T-Mobile’s Uncarrier strategy as a big threat if left unchecked, but AT&T also seems ready to swing at everything T-Mobile throws at it.

Opera is teasing Max app to compress all your mobile pics and videos

Opera is getting ready to release its mobile data compression app Max to a wider audience: The browser maker opened up preregistration for a beta test of the Android app Tuesday, promising that the app will help users to get the most out of their data plan. Max does this by routing all data requests of a phone through Opera’s servers, where it is compressed and then sent to the phone. Google (s GOOG) recently introduced data compression for the Android version of Chrome, but Max works for any app, including image and video sharing apps like Vine and Instagram.

Straight Talk, Net10 start selling the iPhone 5s, 5c under their budget data plans

Prepaid mobile operators Straight Talk and Net10 will start selling the iPhone 5s(s aapl) and 5c at Walmart(s wmt) stores starting Dec. 13. Customers will have to pay sticker price for the devices ($549 to $649 for the 16 GB versions, though financing options are available), but they can tap into the two companies’ cheap no-contract smartphone data plans. Straight Talk’s start at $45 while Net10’s start at $50 and include 2.5 GB of data each month along with unlimited calls and texts. Both companies are mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) run by TracFone(s amex), which has seen a big spurt in growth recently thanks in part to these new smartphone-friendly plans.