Sprint (NYSE:S) today launched a new promotion where it will pay up to $650 to subscribers who switch from another carrier to one of Sprint's new Framily family calling plans. The offer exactly matches the ETF payoff promotion that T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) launched in January--but unlike T-Mobile's offer, Sprint's ETF payoff promotion is set to end May 8.
"At Sprint, we believe in 'Happy Connecting' through the value of a Sprint Framily Plan," explained Sprint CMO Jeff Hallock in a release. "We are seeing great momentum with the Sprint Framily plan, and we want to make it as easy as possible for customers to join our Framily."
Sprint said it will pay up to $350 in early termination fees (EFTs) via a prepaid Visa card to customers who switch from another carrier to one of Sprint's Framily plans. Sprint will also pay up to $300 to customer who trade in their existing phone.
Sprint's offer exactly matches the offer that T-Mobile launched in January (T-Mobile's ETF payoff promotion has no scheduled end date). T-Mobile is offering to pay up to $300 for a phone trade-in and up to $350 in ETF fees.
Rumors of Sprint's ETF promotion leaked to a number of websites late yesterday, and Sprint confirmed the offer this morning.
T-Mobile executives yesterday took to Twitter to mock Sprint's new promotion. "Oh @Sprint – you really #FruckedUp that imitation of our #uncarrier move! #ContractFreedom for all," tweeted T-Mobile CEO John Legere. "Contract Freedom is signature Un-Carrier move and it's permanent. @sprint knock-off is a bribe/promo good for a month. #fruckedup," tweeted T-Mobile CMO Mike Sievert.
Launched in January, Sprint's Framily family calling service is available to new and existing Sprint customers and has a limit of 10 phone numbers per group. Sprint Framily customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data. For each new Sprint customer joining a Framily group, the cost per person will drop $5 a month up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line.
Sprint's new ETF promotion is the latest action by Sprint to juice its subscriber additions. In the fourth quarter, Sprint added 58,000 postpaid subscribers, 322,000 prepaid subscribers and 302,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers in the fourth quarter. However, during the fourth quarter, net additions for the Sprint platform included approximately 466,000 tablets, indicating weakness in the company's phone subscriber business.
Further, analysts are not expecting Sprint to improve much in the first quarter. Analysts at Jefferies said they lowered their first quarter postpaid subscriber forecasts from a loss of 324,000 customers to a much bigger loss of 439,000 customers "as we believe that the company continues to be the main donor of handset subscribers to T-Mobile."
Spint also said that customers will be able to sign up for the Framily at Best Buy locations nationwide, in addition to Sprint stores, Sprint third-party dealer locations and online. From April 4 through April 13, customers at Best Buy who sign up for Framily plans and who purchase a wireless phone through Sprint Easy Pay will be eligible to receive a $100 Best Buy gift card.
Sprint isn't the only carrier to follow T-Mobile in offering to pay subscribers' ETFs; C Spire Wireless recently announced a similar offer.
- see this Sprint release
C Spire launches promotion to pay off ETFs of customers who switch over
Sprint kicks off Framily, a group-based calling plan
Sprint beats analyst expectations with 477,000 new subscribers in Q4
T-Mobile ends ETFs by offering to pay up to $650 to switchers