C Spire touts new 'combo' plans that tie together service and device costs in a single price point

Regional carrier C Spire Wireless is launching new plans that offer "combination" pricing that it says is more transparent because the price point includes the cost of service, access line charges and the monthly cost of a device payment. The premise is similar in many respects to Sprint's (NYSE: S) offer of "All-In" pricing, which it touted this past summer but has since dropped. 

The new pricing from C Spire combines unlimited voice, texting, the data allotment, access line charges and device costs into one total cost. The carrier says its new plans will make life easier for consumers by making pricing simpler at a time when carriers have embraced equipment installment plans and leasing for smartphones but don't include those charges when advertising their rates. Customers can choose one of the seven combos C Spire has created or build their own to meet specific needs. Combo prices vary based on the device customers pick, amount of trade-in or down payment and how much data they choose.

The combos include:

  • Combo 1: $60 per month for an iPhone 6s (16 GB model), 3 GB of data and a $170 down payment
  •  Combo 2: $65 per month for a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (32 GB model), 3 GB of data and $0 down
  • Combo 3: $75 per month for an iPhone 6s (16 GB model), 8 GB of data and a $170 down payment
  • Combo 4: $80 per month for a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (32 GB model), 8 GB of data and $0 down
  • Combo 5: $120 per month for a iPhone 6s (16 GB model), 6 GB of shareable data and a $340 down payment (though a $0 down option is also available)
  • Combo 6: $40 per month on a pay-as-you-go basis for a Motorola Moto E (8 GB model), 3 GB of data and a $90 phone cost before rebate
  •  Combo 7: $45 per month for a Motorola Moto E (8 GB model), 3 GB of data and a $20 down payment (though a $0 down option is also available)

Customers can create other combos besides those, but those are the ones C Spire is advertising.

"Competitors advertise one price (for data), but it's not really what you can expect to pay in total," Suzy Hays, senior vice president of consumer markets for C Spire, said in a statement.

"At C Spire, we care about service, simplicity and total value," Hays added. "That's why we introduced this new concept, which removes the confusion and uncertainty around the real cost of wireless service."

The above figures represent the total cost for a Samsung Note5 and data plan as of Nov. 19, 2015. (Source: C Spire)

C Spire also wants to highlight that it will let customers know when they reached their monthly data limit and ask their permission before charging for additional data. "With us, you're always in control and there are no surprises on your bill at the end of the month. We let you decide if you want more data. Other carriers take this chance to charge you huge fees without ever asking," Hays said.

C Spire isn't the first carrier to try this approach. In June Sprint unveiled a pricing scheme called All-In that incorporated an unlimited $60 per month service plan and a $20 per month device payment in one price point. Sprint said at the time that the pricing plan was more transparent about the total monthly cost a customer pays than other carriers' plans, and it rolled out an advertising campaign featuring soccer star and businessman David Beckham to tout the new offering. With All-In, consumers paid $20 per month to lease a 16 GB smartphone of their choice, and $60 per month for unlimited voice, texting and data. Sprint said there were no up-front phone costs or sales tax, aside from a one-time, $36 activation fee.

However, Sprint has dropped that pricing and in October it raised the price on its individual unlimited plan to $70 per month for new customers.

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

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