Sprint Nextel cut broadband wireless prices for its fastest data service customers after just two weeks to better compete with rivals AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless in the holiday shopping season.

Sprint on Monday began charging $50 a month for 6 gigabytes of data downloads to tablets, mobile hotspots or laptop data cards running on its fastest service, which runs on the Clearwire Corp mobile network.

This compares with the $60-a-month fee for 5 gigabytes of data that Sprint started charging on Nov 1, when it eliminated unlimited-use plans for its WiMax broadband customers, making its service more expensive than that of its bigger rivals.

Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider, has been working to recoup subscriber losses by positioning itself as a provider for more cost-conscious customers than its rivals.

Monday's change means that Sprint customers will get a gigabyte more data for the same price as the fee paid by customers of Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which both charge $50 a month for 5 gigabytes.

Sprint's move, which does not apply to smartphone customers, comes ahead of the holiday shopping period, often the carrier's busiest time of the year.

Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, tried to position itself better for the holidays with a promotional rate that doubled its subscribers' data allowances.

Sprint still offers service plans with unlimited data usage for a flat fee to its smartphone customers.

Sprint also cut its price for heavier data users with an $80 per month plan for 12 gigabytes of data compared with its previous offer of 490 for 10 gigabytes of data. In comparison, Verizon Wireless charges $80 a month for 10 gigabytes of data.