Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is becoming more vocal in its opposition to the shared data plans being touted by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), and is urging consumers to compare the plans to Sprint's cheaper offerings. Sprint has set up a new website, dubbed "Dare to Compare," to highlight the differences.
Sprint's website compares its offerings to the shared data plans from AT&T and Verizon.
Sprint has made no secret of its opposition to the concept of shared data plans, and came out against the plans last month when AT&T announced its Mobile Share plans and Verizon started offering its Shared Everything plans. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said during the company's second-quarter earnings conference call last month that Sprint was still assessing the plans but had no intention of following them with a shared plan of its own. "What we want our rate plans to stand for is simplicity and value," he said. "Unlimited is still a significant differentiator."
Sprint's Dare to Compare website sets up a comparison between Sprint's plans for three smartphone customers and similar plans from AT&T and Verizon, showing that Sprint's plans are consistently cheaper when a customer tries to match the features.
All of Sprint's smartphone plans include unlimited data on Sprint's network, with no overage charges, whereas the AT&T and Verizon plans charge on a per-GB basis. However, the AT&T and Verizon plans include unlimited voice minutes and messaging, while the plan Sprint is using to compare has 1,500 voice minutes. All of the plans from the three carriers include unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling.
The Verizon and AT&T plans also include tethering in their data allotments at no extra cost, whereas Sprint notes that it charges separately for mobile hotspot functionality, starting at $20 per month for an extra 2 GB of data.
Sprint is not the only the carrier that has come out against the shared plans. T-Mobile USA has also taken a strong stand against them, arguing that they are costly, complicated and punitive and that T-Mobile customers can use hotspot functionality to share data between devices and pay less.
Conversely, AT&T and Verizon have argued that while the plans may not be the best fit for everyone (AT&T continues to offer its previous pricing plans alongside its new shared data plans, while Verizon does not), they offer flexibility for families that want to share data between multiple devices, such as tablets and USB modems.
In other shared data plan news, Amazon is offering a $40 credit to smartphone buyers who sign up for one of several Verizon smartphones and choose a shared data plan. The offer ends today.
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