Sprint will keep its half-off promos through the holidays

But the company plans on cutting down its pricing plans to just a few simple options.

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Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
2 min read

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure at the Competitive Carrier Association trade show last year.

Marguerite Reardon/CNET

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure knows his wireless plans can be a bit confusing.

Through a promotion promising to halve your wireless bill if you switch, Sprint offers a dizzying array of rate plans, all pegged to what its three major rivals offer. So if you're a Verizon customer looking to switch, you may be eligible to get a different plan than an interested T-Mobile customer.

Still, the program is successful enough that Claure said he wants to keep it around for the holidays. He had previously hinted at simplifying the number of plans, and on Tuesday, he suggested that the options would eventually fall to three.

"It's a bit too complex for people to understand," Claure said at an investor conference hosted by Goldman Sachs. The presentation was webcast.

Claure's desire to simplify things comes amid upheaval in what consumers can expect from carriers. T-Mobile is also on the simplify-things bandwagon, offering a single unlimited plan called T-Mobile One. (It hasn't yet dropped its existing plans though.) AT&T and Verizon also changed the configuration of their plans and both dropped overage fees, although in Verizon's case, not for all customers.

It's part of the heightened competitive environment as the carriers scramble to win you over with different promotions and features. The latest battle has been over preorders for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which drove all of the carriers to offer a "free iPhone" program to customers.

The catch for Sprint's half-off rates is that they double in price after two years. Claure said his company is alerting customers well ahead of time so there are no surprises, and he expects many to eventually switch to the unlimited data plan.

To get people to stick around, Claure knows Sprint needs to have a better network. He talked up the progress the company has made and reiterated his boast that Sprint would have the No. 1 or No. 2 network. Claure previously said he expected to hit that mark by 2017.