Sprint drops unlimited everything plan to $60, undercuts T-Mobile by $20
Just days after announcing its new shared data plans for families, Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced its new unlimited talk, text and data plan for individuals. The plan costs just $60 per month, a price that undercuts T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) $80 unlimited data plan by $20 and is available to existing Sprint customers as well as new customers. Sprint's $60 price does not include the cost of a phone; customers can either purchase a new phone through Sprint's Easy Pay handset upgrade program and pay for it in monthly installments, or they can bring their own phone, or they can purchase their phone at full price.
The $60 price point represents a dramatic drop from what Sprint previously was charging for unlimited talking, texting and data. Last year, Sprint announced its Unlimited, My Way plans that offered unlimited service for the life of the account. For one line a customer paid $80 per month for unlimited talk, text and data, or they could select the My All-in plan, which offered unlimited talk, text and data plus 5 GB of mobile hotspot usage for $110.
Sprint said it is not providing mobile hotspot services at the $60 price point. In order to add mobile hotspot services, customers will have to pay $10 for 1 GB, $19.99 for 2 GB or $49.99 for 6 GB. T-Mobile's $80 unlimited plan includes 5 GB of mobile hotspot service.
In its terms and conditions, Sprint offered a number of caveats on the new $60 plan. "Other plans may receive prioritized bandwidth availability," the carrier wrote. "To improve data experience for the majority of users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network. Sprint may terminate service if off-network roaming usage in a month exceeds: (1) 800 min. or a majority of min.; or (2) 100MB."
Sprint pointed out that neither AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) nor Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) offers unlimited data plans. However, Verizon just this week announced a $60 plan that offers unlimited talk and text and 2 GB of data--a price that undercuts AT&T.
Sprint's new $60 plan is the latest pricing move from incoming CEO Marcelo Claure, who took over the company earlier this month and last week promised "very disruptive" pricing plans. Earlier this week Sprint announced new shared data plans for families that essentially offer double the data that Sprint's rivals offer. However, analysts generally took a sour view of the new plans, noting they likely won't drive many customers to churn to Sprint. However, they also noted that Sprint's new family plans didn't really signal a price drop--instead, the plans increased the amount of data available to families.
With Sprint's new $60 unlimited plan though, Sprint is moving to lower prices. Such a move could represent the beginnings of a true price war in the wireless industry as Sprint works to encourage customers to move onto its newly overhauled network. Indeed, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son earlier this year hinted at the possibility of a "massive price war"--though his comments were part of his efforts to convince regulators to give their blessing to a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. Sprint reportedly discontinued its attempts to merge with T-Mobile earlier this month, largely due to pushback from U.S. regulators.
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Article updated Aug. 21 with Sprint's mobile hotspot pricing.