Sprint is already updating its week-old Unlimited Freedom mobile phone plans by announcing a new option to add unlimited HD-quality video streaming for an extra $20 a month under an Unlimited Freedom Premium upgrade.
The Unlimited Freedom phone plans, which debuted on Aug. 19, provide 4G LTE unlimited talk, text and data, including video streaming at reduced or “optimized” speeds of up to 480p resolution for video, up to 2M bps for gaming and music streaming at up to 500K bps. The plans are priced at $60 a month for the first line and $100 for two lines.
Customers who want faster streaming for video, gaming and music, however, can now opt for the Unlimited Freedom Premium plans, which cost $20 more per line a month. That brings the cost for Unlimited Freedom Premium users to $80 a month for the first line and $140 a month for two lines.
Sprint announced the new premium streaming offering on Aug. 26. To boost its offer, Sprint is providing all customers who sign up now for Unlimited Freedom accounts with free Unlimited Freedom Premium benefits through Oct. 31.
Unlimited Freedom Premium provides video streaming quality up to 1080p, HD music streaming at up to 1.5M bps and game streaming up to 8M bps, according to Sprint.
The plans can be mixed or matched within family plans so each user can get the plan they need.
For a family of four, Unlimited Freedom plans cost $160 a month, with an additional $20 per line per month for any family members who want the Unlimited Freedom Premium benefits.
Sprint business customers can also get Unlimited Freedom accounts and are eligible for a $5 per month discount per line, according to Sprint. The first line is $55 per month, the second line is $35 per month and the third through 10th lines are $25 a month each. Small business customers who want the Unlimited Freedom Premium services pay an extra $20 per month per line.
“Wireless customers want simple, worry-free and affordable wireless plans on a reliable network,” Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “There can be a lot of frustration and confusion around wireless offers, with too much focus on gigabytes and extra charges. Our answer is the simplicity of Unlimited Freedom. Now customers can watch their favorite movies and videos and stream an unlimited playlist at an amazing price.”
The basic Unlimited Freedom plans were unveiled after testing with users showed that the optimized speeds for video, music and gaming were “practically indistinguishable” from higher speeds, said Claure. “In fact, most individuals we showed could not see any difference between optimized and premium-resolution streaming videos when viewing on mobile phone screens. Both provide the mobile customer clear, vibrant videos and high-quality audio. Mobile optimization allows us to provide a great customer experience in a highly affordable unlimited package while increasing network efficiency.”
T-Mobile is also again moving to unlimited data plans for its mobile customers with its recent T-Mobile One and T-Mobile One Plus plans. Under T-Mobile’s latest Un-Carrier 12 move, the company is offering unlimited data, talk and text for $70 a month for the first line, $50 for the second line and $20 for each additional line, up to eight lines, using automatic payments for its One plans. The One plans include video streaming at up to 480p quality. The One Plus plans, which were unveiled Aug. 29, add unlimited HD video streaming and unlimited 4G LTE tethering for an extra $20 a month per line.
Rival AT&T also recently announced that it is dropping data overage fees for its customers once they reach their existing data limits. Instead of overage charges, AT&T customers will receive lower 128K-bps speeds, which will slow their web use but allow them to continue to use some services.