UPDATED: Targeting Verizon users, Sprint continues ‘free unlimited for a year’ promotion

On its website, Sprint is advertising its new free year of service offer. (Sprint)

Sprint continues to offer a promotion that offers a free year of unlimited service to customers who switch to the carrier and bring their own phone. The promotion is available to anyone who owns any one of roughly three dozen phones, including those from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Google and others, but it appears mostly slanted toward unhappy Verizon customers.

“Keep your Verizon phone and save $900 in the first year,” Sprint’s website proclaims. “Stop feeling ripped off by Verizon.”

The promotion was first launched by Sprint in the summer of 2017. It was described at the time by Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett as the “most aggressive promotion in the history of the U.S. wireless industry,” and it did serve to boost Sprint’s quarterly results. In August 2017, shortly after launching the promotion, Sprint posted its first quarterly profit in three years and added 88,000 net postpaid subscribers.

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Although Sprint continues to offer its free year of service, the offering doesn't appear to have had much effect on expectations for the carrier's recently completed fourth quarter. "For C4Q17, we expect Sprint to report downside revenue and EBITDA results, cutting our postpaid phone net adds to +237K from +506K (on both higher churn and lower gross adds) noting lower volume (iPhone X supply constraints) and a competitive quarter for the carrier," the analysts at Cowen wrote in their preview of the upcoming fourth-quarter reporting season. "Specifically, T-Mobile recently noted a meaningfully improved porting ratio vs. Sprint (at 1.50 vs. C3Q17 at 1.25). Prepaid should be solid but also moderating as we expect +138K net adds. Mgmt. has messaged service revenue inflection “in F2018”, leaving six quarters, as the carrier works through the non-subsidized base."

Sprint's current free year of service promotion ends at the end of January, and it offers anyone who switches to Sprint (and brings with them an eligible phone) a free year of unlimited service. It is available to individuals as well as families.

The unlimited service offers HD video streaming, 10 GB of high-speed hotspot data and international roaming. Customers will need to purchase a suitable SIM card but will not have to pay any activation fees. The offer runs through Jan. 31, 2019, at which time customers’ monthly prices will kick in at $60 per month for the first line, $40 per month for the second line and $30 per month for lines 3-5.

Customers must first check to see if their existing phone is eligible for the service.

Sprint is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results in the coming weeks. The analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted the operator will add 244,000 phone net subscribtions in the quarter (which is lower than analyst consensus of around 311,000) and around 12,000 prepaid customers (again above analyst consensus of around 89,000). The firm also said it expects Sprint’s postpaid phone churn to reach 1.77% in the period.

Article updated Jan. 18 to clarify that Sprint's offer of a free year of service has been available since the carrier first launched it in June of last year and has not been relaunched.

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