C Spire adds new unlimited plans, highlights 'passes' for video streaming

Regional carrier C Spire Wireless launched new unlimited plans for individual customers and focused on the option to let customers buy "online video passes" to watch streaming video from their devices when they want to do so. 

The postpaid plans, which require two-year contracts, break down as follows:

  • $50 per month for Unlimited Talk & Text, which offers customers unlimited voice and text messaging with the option of adding data passes. C Spire said customers with this plan who have a basic phone can buy unlimited data for $1 per day. Customers with a smartphone on this plan can buy a 100 MB data pass for $15, 300 MB for $30 and 1 GB for $50
  • $80 per month for Unlimited Lite plan, which offers unlimited voice, text and picture message, web and online music and 30 minutes of online video. Customers can add online video and data passes, and C Spire said customers can buy more video streaming beginning at $5 for two hours of streaming, $10 for five hours and $30 for unlimited streaming for 30 days. Customers can add a second line to any plan for $50 per month.
  • $100 for the Unlimited plan, which offers consumers unlimited voice, text, picture messaging, web and online music and video. Customers can add a second line to any plan for $50 per month.

C Spire is keeping it shared data plans, which it launched late last year. The new unlimited plans appear to replace C Spire's old "Choice" plans.

The carrier's focus on day passes for data and especially for online video reflects its emphasis on personalization, which has been a mainstay of the company's brand since it rebranded from Cellular South in September 2011.

C Spire has said that the day passes and video passes are enabled through its relationship with network analytics and monetization vendor Openwave Mobility. In a recent interview with FierceWireless, Greg Pruitt, C Spire's manager of network services product management, said the carrier found that video streaming was causing the most network traffic so it pulled that out of its data packages. He said said Openwave's Promotion and Pricing Innovation (PPI) mobile data charging solution enables customers to pay for streaming video and data packages via a web portal they access on their phones; the extra charges are then debited to a customers' count.

"New customers want a more personalized service," Openwave Mobility CEO John Giere said. "How do you get video streaming as something that's a value-added service, and if [customers] choose not to use, they don't pay for someone else's usage?"

Pruitt said the data passes have led to a decrease in churn. He also said the majority of the carriers' new consumer  customers choose plans that offer unlimited data with the ability to add streaming if they choose.

He said the company's shared data plans filling a need for customers with multiple devices to share data across multiple devices and that they hav filled a need for small businesses to share data as well. Small business can also choose the unlimited plans with streaming on demand.  C Spire is a privately held company and Pruitt declined to give specific subscriber figures.

C Spire said last month it will expand its LTE coverage area in Mississippi later this summer and also will launch LTE in parts of Alabama and Florida by year-end. The company said that beginning in August it will expand LTE in Mississippi. The new expansion covers 71 cities and 51 counties in the state.

For more:
- see this C Spire site
- see this C Spire plans release
- see this separate C Spire release

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CCA's Berry highlights LTE roaming hub, backhaul issues for rural carriers
Sprint teams with C Spire on LTE roaming
C Spire launches LTE service in Mississippi
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Correction, June 7, 2013: This article originally incorrectly described the data pass options for C Spire's new $50 and $80 unlimited plans. The article also mischaracterized a portion of Greg Pruitt's remarks.