Sprint (NYSE: S) is trying to make the most of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus by introducing a $50 unlimited plan for customers who buy one of the new phones. The plan is likely the opening salvo in a battle carriers will engage in over the next several weeks to retain and attract new iPhone customers.
The new plan, called "Simply Unlimited," offers unlimited voice, texting and data for $50 per month, $10 cheaper than Sprint's $60 unlimited plan, which it introduced a few weeks ago. Similar to the $60 unlimited plan, customers purchasing the $50 plan will need to pay for their device in monthly installments through Sprint's Easy pay program.
However, Sprint is also mitigating that cost with a leasing program it calls "iPhone for Life." Under that program, individual customers will pay $20 per month for a 16 GB iPhone 6, instead of $30 under normal financing. At the end of 24 months, they can trade in their iPhone for a new iPhone. The iPhone 6 Plus will cost $25 per month under this program instead of $35 under normal financing. If a customer wants an iPhone with more internal storage they will pay more per month. The leasing program applies to families as well.
Finally, if customers switch from Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) or T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), Sprint will pay up to $350 per line to cover customers' Early Termination Fees. The $350, loaded on a Visa debit card, can be used to cover ETFs or installment billing balances.
Meanwhile, Sprint is still touting its new shared data family plans, which offer double the data of similarly-priced plans from Verizon and AT&T. Under Sprint's new plans, called Family Share Pack, customers can buy a subsidized smartphone with a two-year contract for $40 per month per line. If customers purchase their phones in installments with Sprint's Easy Pay upgrade program, the access charge for smartphones is $25 per month for plans with less than 20 GB of data, and $15 per month for plans with 20 GB or more.
Additionally, through Sept. 30 Sprint has a promotion that offers a family with up to 10 lines 20 GB of shared data for only $100 per month through the end of 2105, plus an extra 2 GB of data per line for up to 10 lines. Sprint noted that is $60 cheaper than AT&T and Verizon's plan for four lines, and more than double the data of similar plans from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
In an interview with FierceWireless, Sprint CMO Jeff Hallock said that the $50 plans represent an "extremely good value for people who want these phones."
Hallock added: "I think you're right to assume it's going to be a really aggressive promotional time" over the next few weeks. Hallock also said the approach Sprint is taking with the iPhone launch is going to extend into the holiday shipping season.
The Sprint executive said that the iPhone plans are a chance to clarify Sprint's value in the market. Sprint will communicate the message to consumers in its marketing and advertising. "We want to make sure it's easily compared to what you can get at Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile," he said. "Customers can make a good, informed decision."
Of course, Sprint likely won't have the stage to itself for long. T-Mobile is preparing to announce a new "uncarrier" initiative Wednesday that could be related to the iPhone launch, and AT&T and Verizon are likely going to aggressively promote the new iPhones as well.
Apple's iPhone 6, 6 Plus to support Sprint's Spark service, but not 700 MHz Band 12
Apple unveils larger iPhone 6, 6 Plus, adds support for VoLTE
Analysts: Sprint's $60 plan could pressure T-Mobile, but not Verizon and AT&T
Sprint drops unlimited everything plan to $60, undercuts T-Mobile by $20
T-Mobile to give unlimited LTE data to customers who 'rescue' subscribers from Sprint, others
Analysts: Sprint's new shared data plans not disruptive enough to change its fortunes