C Spire to introduce new $65 unlimited plan

Regional carrier C Spire Wireless revealed in a Facebook post that it will launch a new $65 per month unlimited price plan called "Unlimited Everything" that will include unlimited voice, texting, picture messaging, web, music and video. The plan, which will debut April 7,  will come with free international text messaging to 140 countries and free access to its PERCS program for discounts and rewards.  

The post said the plan will be available for customers that are not on a contract and have paid full price for their devices, or are on a monthly device installment plan, which will also become available April 7.

It's unclear if the $65 plan will replace C Spire's high-end $100 per month unlimited plan or be available in addition to it. The $100 plan currently offers unlimited voice, texting, picture messaging, web, music and online video.

A C Spire spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If C Spire does offer the $65 plan alongside the $100 plan, it would be following in the footsteps of T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and other carriers that have offered reduced service pricing for customers who pay for their device in full or pay off the device on a monthly installment plan.  Such arrangements have become more popular over the last several quarters.

Interestingly, earlier this month T-Mobile increased the cost of its unlimited data service for its "Simple Choice" no-contract customers, from $70 per month to $80. The $80 plan now comes with 5 GB of tethering, double the previous amount. The company said it had to raise the price to monetize increasing data traffic and get back a return on improving its network, according to T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter.

C Spire has been innovative with its pricing, and has offered video day passes, which let customers purchase a buckets of time for streaming video. The company said that such passes have helped reduce churn by at least 20 percent.

C Spire introduced the streaming day passes as part of the new rate plans it launched last June. C Spire offers a $5 data pass that provides two hours of streaming, a $10 package for five hours and $30 for unlimited streaming for 30 days.

Speaking to FierceWireless at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February, C Spire CEO Hu Meena said that by carving out streaming video as a premium service, the company was able to create a sustainable service that is popular with users. Specifically, Meena said that one in four customers who purchase an Unlimited Lite plan--which offers unlimited voice, texting, web browsing and 30 minutes of online video for $80 per month--also purchase a day pass. Of those, one in seven purchases the data pass priced at $5 for two hours of streaming video.

"This allowed us to deliver a sustainable model for data," Meena said. "If you don't have size you have to have innovation." C Spire is privately held and has around 1 million total customers. The company operate primarily in Mississippi but also in parts of Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.  

For more:
- see this Facebook post

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