After replacing its CEO two weeks ago, Sprint is now reshuffling its cellular plan offerings, offering new Sprint Family Share Pack plans that promise twice as much shared data as competitors’ plans for the same prices.
The new Family Share Pack plans were announced by Sprint on Aug. 18, will be available starting Aug. 22 and will offer, for example, four lines with 20GB of shared data for $160 per month, which is what competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless offer for 10GB of shared data, according to the company.
Sweetening the deal, Sprint is also offering customers who take them up on the new Share Pack plans special lower pricing through 2015 at $100 per month for up to 10 phone lines with 20GB of shared data and unlimited talk and text, according to the company. In an added bonus, customers who participate in this offer will also receive an extra 2GB of data free per month per line through 2015, which doubles the amount of free data during the promotional period.
For a family of four, that means they’d pay $100 per month for 20GB of shared data plus 8GB of extra free data, for a total of 28GB per month through 2015. A family of 10 users would pay $100 per month and receive 20GB of shared data plus another 20GB of free extra data through 2015.
“Sprint is offering the best value to data-hungry consumers. Period,” Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s new CEO, said in a statement. “We are doubling the high-speed wireless data because today’s customers rely so much on their smartphones and tablets. We make it simple and easy for wireless consumers to get the data they need at affordable prices to make their lives easier, more productive and enjoyable.”
Earlier this month, Sprint ended its long-rumored attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA and simultaneously replaced its CEO, Dan Hesse, with Claure.
In January, Sprint launched its shared Framily plans for up to 10 friends or family members, with competitive prices and individual billings, which have been the theme of frequent media ads.
The existing Framily plans will continue to be offered alongside the new Family Share Pack plans, according to an email reply from Sprint spokeswoman Kristin Wallace. “Framily Plan is still available and we haven’t made any announcement about them going away,” wrote Wallace. “We think customers will find the new Family Share Pack easy to compare, understand and give them the best value with the ability to share data not only among wireless phones, but also tablets and mobile broadband devices.”
The individual billing option will not be part of the Family Share Pack plans, she added.
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.
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.”
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.