Sprint Corp. (S), fresh from a takeover by Japan’s SoftBank Corp. (9984), introduced new unlimited service plans, an effort to tout the mobile-phone carrier as a lower-cost alternative to Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (T)
The new Sprint Unlimited Guarantee assures customers that they will have unlimited calls, texting and data use for as long as they have their phone lines, Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint said today in a statement. The idea is to stand out from the carrier’s larger U.S. rivals, which are switching to tiered plans -- where customers pay more when they use more data.
“This puts an exclamation point on our unlimited commitment as AT&T and Verizon move away from unlimited,” Dan Hesse, Sprint’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. “What we are saying with this plan is, ‘If you come over, we will guarantee unlimited for life.’”
The new program provides an early glimpse at Sprint’s strategy under the control of SoftBank, which acquired 78 percent of the company in a $21.6 billion deal. The transaction, which closed yesterday, includes a $5 billion cash infusion that will help Sprint bolster its network and potentially make acquisitions.
Today’s new pledge is also aimed at competing with rivals offering data share plans that allow families and multiple devices to ride on one account, said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics in Dedham, Massachusetts.
“Sprint’s obviously seeing that the data share plans at the other carriers are working and they are responding to it,” said Entner.
Earlier this week, Sprint also acquired the remaining portion of Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), a mobile broadband company it already majority owned.
“I would say that this is the first sign of the closing of the SoftBank and Clearwire transactions,” Hesse said. “By including Clearwire we are able to put the bandwidth to use for consumers looking for unlimited access.”
The new Unlimited package starts at $80 a month. Within it, there are two plans called My Way and My All-In. With the My Way program, customers get unlimited data and can add an extra smartphone for $30 a month or an extra regular phone for $10 a month. With the All-In plan, subscribers get unlimited talk, text and data, as well as 5 gigabytes of mobile hot-spot use for $110.
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