Sprint is now offering a new 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 competitors AT&T and Verizon.
Under the new Sprint data plan, customers can pay $20 for 1GB of shared data, plus $25 for monthly service that includes unlimited talk and text per line, according to an Oct. 22 announcement from Sprint. The new 1GB data plan is the smallest option available under the company’s Sprint Family Share Pack offerings.
The 1GB of available shared data is twice the 500MB of data Verizon is offering and more than three times the 300MB of data AT&T is offering in their smallest basic plans, according to Sprint. The comparisons are based on Verizon’s 500MB More Everything Plan and AT&T’s 300MB Mobile Share Value plan, according to Sprint.
“This entry-level sharable data allowance reinforces Sprint’s commitment to offering customers the best value in wireless,” Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s CEO, said in a statement. “We’re offering customers a choice—whether they need a small amount of data or are a high-end data user.”
A tablet device can be added to the data plan for an additional $10 per month per line, according to the company. No early termination fees or annual service contracts are required with non-discounted phones from Sprint.
Sprint’s offer comes as the big four carriers—including Sprint and its three major U.S. competitors, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—continue to pummel each other over prices, data packages and other features in the war for more customers and revenue.
This is the latest customer offer in what has been a long string of similar more-data-for-less-money offers in the last few months from the big four.
In August, Sprint seemed to set off the latest customer war when it unveiled its then-new Family Share Pack plans, which promised 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. The plans already include 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.
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, is open to all new and existing users who sign up for the special promotion by Oct. 31. Users must also pay $15 per line for unlimited calling, texting and international messaging (from the United States to select countries) each month.
What makes this shared data offer unique is that, unlike limited-time promotions offered by some competitors, the AT&T double-data offer is available to users as long as they keep their accounts with AT&T.
Sprint Launches Low-Priced $20 Deal on 1GB Data Plans
Undaunted by AT&T’s offerings, Sprint and Verizon then one-upped AT&T’s offer by jumping in with their own free data salvos for customers, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Sprint hiked its own shareable data packages for users who buy monthly shared plans for 32GB, 40GB or 60GB of data, offering users free increases to 60GB, 80GB or 120GB, respectively, while Verizon doubled the included shareable data for business customers who buy monthly packages of 20GB to 50GB. Families that purchase smaller shared data plans also got modest boosts in their available data plans.
All of these boosted data offers have come at a cost, however,
Early this month, Sprint announced the layoffs of an as-yet-unknown number of employees as the company said it was reducing its workforce to save some $160 million in costs in the second quarter of 2014 as it seeks to “become more competitive in the marketplace.”
The layoffs might not be over with this round of cuts, the company said in the filing. “The company expects to recognize a charge of approximately $160 million in the second fiscal quarter of 2014 for severance and related costs; however, additional material charges associated with future labor reductions may occur in future periods,” according to the filing.
The layoffs are being carried out to reposition Sprint in its ongoing competition with rivals in the marketplace, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, according to the company. “Sprint is focused on becoming a more competitive player in the marketplace. This includes offering competitive pricing plans and getting our cost structure more in line with that of our competitors. As part of this effort, organizations across Sprint are examining their cost structures and operations to identify opportunities for increased efficiency and streamlined approaches to meet our customers’ needs. The decision to reduce our workforce is never an easy one, but this, in conjunction with other cost-cutting measures, is necessary to help Sprint lower our costs.”
Meanwhile, Sprint has fallen into fourth place, below rival T-Mobile, in performance rankings among the big four cellular carriers in the United States, according to the results of new tests performed by RootMetrics, an independent mobile analytics firm. Still in the number-one and number-two spots in the rankings are Verizon Wireless and AT&T.