Sprint takes aim at Verizon with data-heavy 'Better Choice' family plans

Sprint (NYSE: S) launched new shared-data plans that it claims "offer families more data than Verizon (NYSE: VZ) at a better value."

The carrier today introduced Better Choice Plans: six tiered offerings that include unlimited talk and text as well as an unlimited-everything plan. The least expensive plan -- branded "XS" -- includes talk, text and 1 GB of data for $20 a month plus an additional $20 a month per line for "non-discounted handsets." A mid-tier plan that includes 6 GB of data is offered at $45 a month plus $20 per line, and the XXL including 40 GB is $100 per month plus $20 per line.

Sprint's unlimited plan is available for $75 for a single line, with incremental pricing up to $150 per month for four lines. The package is available for $30 a line for accounts with five to ten lines.

Customers who reach their monthly data allotments are throttled down to 2G speeds, or can opt for an "automatic data buy-up option of $15 GB of data," Sprint said.

The plans take direct aim at Verizon's family data offerings, right down to the "S, M, L, XXL" pricing nomenclature. But while price points of the two plan structures are very similar, Sprint called attention to the fact that its plans offer more monthly data. A "small" plan of $30 buys 1 GB on Verizon but 3 GB on Sprint, for instance, while the XXL plan at $100 a month gets 18 GB on Verizon and 40 GB on Sprint.

Sprint had bled subscribers over the last few years, but its ambitious network buildout and promotional discounts paid dividends in the fourth quarter. The foundering operator reported 501,000 postpaid net adds during the period, up from just 30,000 during the prior year, and its adjusted EBITDA of $1.9 billion far exceeded Wall Street estimates.

For more:
- see this Sprint press release

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