Sprint's unlimited data plan lives on. as the company takes its new pricing assault to rival T-Mobile.
On Thursday, Sprint unveiled a $60 Unlimited Plan for individual customers. The new service offers unlimited voice, text messaging, and data for $60 a month. Sprint is marketing the new plan as the cheapest around, beating T-Mobile, its only national competitor offering unlimited data by $20 a month. AT&T and Verizon abandoned unlimited data plans more than two years ago. Today, AT&T and Verizon only offer new customers their shared plans, which include unlimited talk and text messaging and different tiers of data per month that can be shared among family members or devices.
The new unlimited pricing plan along with aare meant to kick-start Sprint's competitiveness in the market and help right a ship that has been going off course for several quarters. Sprint -- which has fallen to last place nationally, according to recent RootMetrics network testing -- has been struggling to keep customers. In the last quarter, it lost 220,000 customers. A new CEO came on board less than two weeks ago and has already started to shake things up. Priority No. 1 has been to reposition Sprint's pricing so that it not only adds more value for customers but also is easily compared to plans offered by rivals, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile.
On Monday, it introduced new family share plans that look very similar to plans offered by AT&T and Verizon, but include twice the amount of data for roughly the same price. It also introduced promotions to entice new subscribers to abandon their existing carriers and come to Sprint. These include offering a credit of up to $350 for any new customer switching to Sprint as well as a break on device access charges for more than a year and 2GB more of data for every new line added to the Sprint Family Share Pack.
Sprint has long been a champion of the unlimited data plan. In fact, the company's previous CEO, Dan Hesse, said it was the company's biggest competitive advantage over its rivals. But when Sprint introduced the Family Share Pack earlier this week, there was speculation and some fear among customers that the unlimited plan was going away.
But it looks like Sprint is not abandoning unlimited, although the company has tweaked the plan in such a way, that some consumers may not find it as attractive. The main tweak is that Sprint will no longer offer a subsidy or two-year contract for anyone purchasing a new unlimited plan. This means consumers either have to buy their device outright or they can finance it using Sprint's Easy Pay program, which allows for monthly payments for the device over 24 months.
T-Mobile has already responded to the the assault. Today, the company launched a promotion that will give customers fleeing Sprint (as well as AT&T and Verizon) unlimited data at no additional charge for one year. It will also provide this promotion to any existing T-Mobile customers referring new customers to the service. The promotion starts August 29 and will be available for a limited time. To get the promotion, existing customers will need to provide their phone numbers along with the person they are referring to the service.