Sprint follows AT&T, Verizon unlimited strategy by raising prices

Sprint outlined its new unlimited pricing. (Sprint)

Sprint introduced a pair of new unlimited plans that put the carrier in line with the unlimited pricing strategies of AT&T and Verizon. Specifically, Sprint introduced a new top-tier unlimited plan that’s more expensive than its current offering, as well as a “basic” plan that costs roughly the same as the carrier’s Unlimited Freedom plan.

Sprint’s new “Unlimited Plus” plan costs $70 per month for one line of service or $180 for four lines of service, though customers can get a $20 per month discount on each line of service if they bring their own phone or buy one outright. Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan includes 1080p video streaming, 15 GB of personal hotspot data, subscriptions to Hulu and Tidal, and other services. Interestingly, the carrier said that music streams are throttled to 1.5 Mbps and gaming streams are throttled to 8 Mbps, and that users who consume more than 50 GB in a month can have their speeds reduced.

Sprint’s new “Unlimited Basic” plan costs $60 per month for one line of service or $140 for four lines of service, though it streams video at 480p resolution and only includes 500 MB of personal hotspot service. Hulu is included, but not Tidal. And Sprint said that music streams are throttled at 500 Kbps, games throttled at 2 Mbps, and that users who consume more than 50 GB in a month can have their speeds reduced.

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Those plans largely stand as a significant price increase to Sprint’s current Unlimited Freedom offer, which provides one line of service for $60 per month and, via a promotion, four lines of service for just $100 per month.

However, that promotional price is scheduled to rise in a year’s time to $160 per month for four lines. Hulu is included in Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom plan, alongside 10 GB of personal hotspot data per line.

To be clear, Sprint’s pricing now largely lines up with T-Mobile’s Unlimited One plan, which provides one line of service for $70 per month and four lines of service for $160 per month. (T-Mobile offers unlimited HD streaming and 10 GB of personal hotspot data for an extra $10 per month per line.)

Furthermore, Sprint’s plans are mostly still cheaper than the new ones recently introduced by AT&T and Verizon. AT&T’s new Unlimited & More plan costs $70 for a single line of service and $160 for four lines. And the carrier’s new Unlimited &More Premium costs $80 for one line and $190 for four lines.

Of course, those prices are less than Verizon’s new Above Unlimited plan, which costs fully $100 for one line of service and $240 for four lines of service.

Not surprisingly, Sprint is also introduced a discount for members of the U.S. military, following T-Mobile’s lead on the issue. Sprint pulled a similar tactic when it introduced a discount for Americans older than 55, also after T-Mobile.

Sprint’s pricing efforts are likely a tactic by incoming CEO Michel Combes to improve the company’s financials for the second half of 2018 by raising prices.

What’s unclear though is how Sprint might price its forthcoming 5G service. Sprint’s Marcelo Claure promised that Sprint would charge more for 5G services than 4G services, though he said those prices would remain largely in line with those from AT&T and Verizon.