Sprint confirmed to FierceWireless that it is testing new unlimited data pricing plans in six different markets around the country.
“Sprint periodically trials different pricing options to ensure that our service continues to provide customers with the services and features that they need, while also staying competitive within the industry,” the company wrote in a statement on the tests. “But, as with all of Sprint’s pricing we are providing the best price for Unlimited among all national carriers.”
Wave7 Research, a research firm that closely monitors pricing and promotions in the U.S. wireless industry, first noted the tests.
In all of the trial markets, Sprint is giving customers a free subscription to the Hulu video service, a six-month trial of the Tidal HiFi music service, more global roaming options, and 15 GB of hotspot data. “Customers within the trial markets will have the option to choose from an SD or HD Unlimited Data plan. Right now, new customers are eligible to be upgraded to HD for a year, for up to 10 lines. So, all the prices you see below are for SD or HD unlimited plans,” the company’s Kathleen Dunleavy noted.
Here are the specific market tests that Sprint is running:
- In Atlanta and Phoenix, Sprint is offering 4 lines of “Ultimate Unlimited” for $35/month per line. After 12 months, those prices increase to $65/month for line 1, $45/month for line 2 and $25/month for lines 3-4 (all with automatic payments, and Sprint noted that other fees and caveats may apply).
- In Minneapolis and Charlotte, Sprint is testing an offer for new customers who bring four existing phones or buy new ones at standard retail prices -- Sprint is promoting the offer as 50% off to Verizon customers. That offer provides four lines of Sprint’s “Unlimited” service for $25/month per line. After 12 months, customers must pay $55/month for line 1, $35/month for line 2 and $15/month for lines 3-4 (all with automatic payments, and Sprint noted that other fees and caveats may apply).
- And in New Orleans and St. Louis, Sprint is offering one month of free service when customers bring their existing phones to Sprint. Switchers can get four lines of Sprint’s “Unlimited” service for $35/month per line. After 12 months, customers must pay $65/month for line 1, $45/month for line 2 and $25/month for lines 3-4 (all with automatic payments, and Sprint noted that other fees and caveats may apply).
In its assessment of the plans, Wave7 Research noted the offerings are generally advertised as “Unlimited Freedom HD” and “Unlimited Freedom SD” and that “pricing is highly complex.” Sprint said the offerings don't carry the term "freedom."
“Wave7 Research is negative on this change in terms of competition,” the firm wrote.
The nation’s wireless carriers routinely test out new pricing options in markets across the country in order to gauge their effect on customers. Indeed, AT&T recently announced three new regional specials, in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, that offer pay TV and wireline broadband perks to new wireless customers in those markets. That action coincided with AT&T’s move to cut the nationwide price of its unlimited data plan by $10 per month, to $80 per month, for a single line of service—though the operator raised prices for multiple lines of unlimited service.