Verizon Wireless and AT&T customers are being courted by Sprint in a big way with a new offer that will cut existing Verizon or AT&T wireless bills in half for customers who move their service over to Sprint's network.
The "Cut Your Bill in Half Event," which begins Dec. 5, will also match a customer's data plan caps at half of their existing rates for new customers who make the service transfer, according to Sprint. The new offer is not set to expire but will be Sprint's lure for new customers into the future, the company said.
The offer includes unlimited talk and text to anywhere in the U.S. while on the Sprint network, regardless of a customer's current plan. Participating customers will have to get new devices through Sprint, but will also get up to $350 in rebates per line to cover early termination fees with their existing carriers.
"The Cut Your Bill in Half Event clearly demonstrates that Sprint delivers the best value in wireless," Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint, said in a statement. "It's as simple as this: Bring Sprint your Verizon or AT&T bill along with your phone and we'll cut your rate plan in half. That’s a 50 percent savings on your rate plan every month. And this great deal is not just a promotion. This will be the customer's ongoing price."
The half-price offer is not being extended to T-Mobile customers, which is intriguing because Sprint tried and failed to acquire T-Mobile earlier this year.
To make the switch and get the half-off rate, new customers can upload a copy of their current Verizon or AT&T bill statements to a Sprint Website and apply for service there, or take the bill and all phones on the account to a participating Sprint retail store, according to the company. Customers will then get help from a Sprint representative to match their existing cellular plan to a similar Sprint plan, as well as with choosing new devices and setting up device lease or purchase terms.
Sprint's half-off deal will be based on the monthly voice, text and data rate plan charge for all lines on a customer's Verizon or AT&T bill. That means that Verizon customers paying $140 per month for four lines of service to share can get four lines of service from Sprint for $70 per month. Customers who sign up and switch to the half-off rate can stay on it for as long as they remain on the plan.
Since August, the big four carriers—Sprint and its three major U.S. competitors, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—have been continuing to pummel each other over prices, data packages and other features in the war for more customers and revenue.
In October, Sprint began offering a 1GB data plan in a move to serve customers who don't need lots of data, but who want a better deal and more options than those offered for similar low-data plans from AT&T and Verizon, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Under that plan, customers can pay $20 for 1GB of shared data, plus $25 for monthly service that includes unlimited talk and text per line. The 1GB of available shared data was twice the 500MB of data Verizon was offering at the time and more than three times the 300MB of data AT&T was offering in their smallest basic plans.
In late September, AT&T then launched its own double-data offer for customers who buy shareable data packages for 15GB to 50GB per month, giving users 30GB to 100GB of shareable data for the same prices. The AT&T offer, applicable to all Mobile Share Value plans that include 15GB to 50GB of shareable data and two to 10 cellular service lines, ended on Oct. 31.
In August, Sprint seemed to set off the latest customer war when it unveiled its then-new Family Share Pack plans, which promise twice the shared data of comparable plans from AT&T and Verizon Wireless at the same prices. That move came two weeks after Sprint replaced its CEO following the failed acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
A week later, T-Mobile bumped up its data offerings for Simple Start plan customers by giving them an option to quadruple their normal 500MB data use to 2GB a month for only $5, while maintaining unlimited talk and text. T-Mobile launched the Simple Starter cellular phone plans in April. The 2GB data offer was a limited-time promotion that followed another limited-time data promotion unveiled in August, when T-Mobile offered free unlimited mobile data for one year to any Simple Choice customer who gets a friend or relative to move his or her service from Sprint, AT&T or Verizon Wireless.