Sprint targets AT&T by offering DirecTV customers 1 year of free service for switching

Sprint (NYSE: S) is not content to let AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T)  lure DirecTV customers to its wireless service with the promise of savings through a bundled offer – it's offering them something better: a year of free service if they switch to Sprint.

DirecTV, which had 20.28 million customers at the end of the second quarter, is now part of the "AT&T family," as AT&T's recent commercials attest, following the close of AT&T's $49 billion deal in July. However, not every DirecTV customer is an AT&T customer as there is opportunity to shake up AT&T's plans to convert DirecTV customers to AT&T's wireless service.

Sprint said from Aug. 28 to Sept. 30, both DirecTV customers switching to Sprint and existing Sprint customers who add a new line of service through the Sprint Lease, Sprint's "iPhone Forever" plan, Sprint Easy Pay or who pay full retail price for a smartphone will get 12 months of unlimited voice texting and a 2 GB of data per line (for up to five lines) all while on the Sprint network.

After 12 months of free Sprint service, customers on this plan will automatically move to plans with unlimited voice texting and a 2 GB of data per line that cost $50 per month, for one line, $90 for two lines, $120 for three lines, $150 for four lines and $180 for five lines.

Qualified DirecTV customers simply need to upload their recent DirecTV bill at www.sprint.com/directvoffer. Then, they can go to Sprint.com or call Sprint Telesales to obtain the offer. Customers can also complete the process at a Sprint store. Customers are responsible for the one-time $36 activation fee and monthly taxes and surcharges per line.

Additionally, for a limited time, Sprint said it will pay off the cost of customers' old phone balances and contracts. If customers are not currently under contract or don't have installment billing phone payments, Sprint will buy back customers' current working smartphones for up to $300 per line.

AT&T dismissed the Sprint offer as a weak attempt to attract customers. "This ranks right up there with a desperate Hail Mary pass to a petite defensive lineman," AT&T said in a statement to FierceWireless. "With Sprint's network and the many asterisks on this deal, we're feeling good about our offers."

Earlier this month AT&T started to offer a package that includes HD and DVR DirecTV service for up to four TV receivers, unlimited voice and texting for four wireless lines and 10 GB of shareable wireless data starting at $200 per month. AT&T said this represents annual savings of $600 or more in the first 12 months. However, that price does not include the cost of monthly smartphone installment payments as part of AT&T's Next equipment installment plan. The offer ends Nov. 14.

AT&T's new "All-in-One" plans offer DirecTV service nationwide or several AT&T U-verse TV plans, which are available in 21 states. The TV plans range from $50 to $125 per month, and then also include the wireless service for an additional $160 per month.

Customers may add AT&T's wireless services, with 10 GB of shared data and unlimited talk and texting for four phone lines, for $160 per month. AT&T said that when combined on a single AT&T bill with the basic TV plan for $50 (DirecTV Select or U-verse U-Family), with service on up to four TVs, consumers will pay $200 per month for the All-in-One plan after a $10 a month combined bill discount.

So, while the $200 price point is for the "All in One" plan with the basic TV service package, customers who choose more expensive TV packages will be paying significantly more per month than $200.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
Analysts skeptical on AT&T/DirecTV bundling, think OTT mobile video offer could be coming
AT&T not chasing 'switchers segment,' raises outlook for 2015
AT&T combines wireless, DirecTV service starting at $200/month
AT&T closes DirecTV purchase: Stankey in charge of new 'Home Solutions' operation, White retires

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