Sprint Bolsters Cellular Data With New Family Share Pack Plans
Another Sprint spokesperson told eWEEK that the Framily Plan "was an unconventional plan that offered customers great value in a new way," but that it was "hard for families to compare the offer with our large competitors. Our new plans are directly comparable to and offer double the high-speed data than AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile." The new Sprint plans are a clear indication that this is a new company under a new CEO, Jeffrey Kagan, an independent wireless analyst, told eWEEK. "We have to forget everything we ever knew about Sprint in the past," he said. "Going forward, what they've done is they've taken this shared data plan, which is the newest, hottest thing in the industry, and they are cutting the price and doubling the data. That is what they actually have to do. They have to make themselves attractive to new customers." Now all eyes will be on Sprint to see if the new plans can do for the company what similar plan shake-ups did for competitor T-Mobile over the past year, making it much stronger in the marketplace, said Kagan. The potential customer gains for Sprint through its new cellular plans will likely come in battles with direct competitors including T-Mobile, US Cellular and C Spire Wireless, said Kagan. "I don't think this will impact AT&T and Verizon at this point," he said.Dan Maycock, a wireless analyst with OneAccord Digital, said that Sprint's new plans are not a surprise, since the company and competitor T-Mobile often jockey with new plan after new plan in the marketplace. "It makes sense now [since the leadership changes and the end of the acquisition plans with T-Mobile] saying, 'We're on our own,'" said Maycock. "Sprint can go completely bonkers [with special plan offerings] for a limited amount of time. It makes sense." As part of its latest offerings, Sprint is also offering contract buyouts to customers who move an existing mobile phone number over and activate it on Sprint from a competitor. Participating customers can receive a prepaid Visa card for up to $350 to move to Sprint, while the company will also waive data access charges for handsets, tablets and mobile broadband devices on 20GB or higher data allowances for up to 10 lines. All devices must be purchased through Sprint Easy Pay.
The question now, he said, is whether the availability of the new Family Share Pack plans will mark the moment for the recovery of Sprint. "Recovery happens in an instant, but it takes awhile for the financial numbers to come in," he said. "That's what happened for T-Mobile last year. They were in a worse position than Sprint, and they recovered. Sprint would have to take the same path, and they could be even quicker because of their stronger network. This could be the start of a rapid recovery for Sprint."