US operator Sprint has announced a series of price cuts and provided a “guarantee” that customers will be able to continue enjoying unlimited data usage for the lifetime of a service.
The announcement comes shortly after Japan’s SoftBank (Tokyo) completed its takeover of the number-three player and quashes speculation that Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA) would be forced to abandon its unlimited-usage offers and follow bigger rivals AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) and Verizon Wireless (New York City, NY, USA) into imposing monthly caps on subscribers.
Under the new deals, customers will be able to pay just $80 a month for a no-limits service, compared with a previous rate of $110.
“The Sprint unlimited guarantee allows our customers to lock in unlimited talk, text and data not for just the next two years but for life,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint’s chief executive. “Sprint customers won’t have to worry about their wireless bill or managing their family’s wireless usage. While other wireless providers are moving away from unlimited service, Sprint champions it.”
The promotion will add to the pressure on AT&T and Verizon, which have already been under attack from a resurgent T-Mobile (Bellevue, WA, USA).
Meanwhile, having recently overhauled its own plans to offer consumers a “no-contract” service, T-Mobile may also be troubled by the Sprint challenge.
Sprint has suddenly emerged as a more competitive force following SoftBank’s $21.6 billion acquisition of a 78% stake in the company.
The Japanese operator has developed a reputation in its domestic market as a low-cost challenger to bigger rivals NTT DoCoMo (Tokyo, Japan) and KDDI (Tokyo, Japan), and has already said it will provide an immediate capital injection into Sprint to assist the number-three player’s rollout of high-speed mobile networks.
Sprint has also been strengthened by its takeover of Clearwire (Bellevue, WA, USA), a mobile broadband operator in which it previously held a 50.8% stake.
Clearwire owns large quantities of spectrum suitable for use with high-speed mobile technologies like LTE, which Sprint is currently deploying, and LTE-Advanced, which it has said it will launch before the end of the year.
The two related acquisitions should allow Sprint to speed up its network rollout and capture business from AT&T and Verizon in new areas.
Sprint claims the Unlimited, My Way plan – as it is branded – offers a monthly saving of $20 when compared with a similar service from Verizon.
“As additional lines are added to the account, customers will see significant monthly savings,” said Hesse. “The Sprint Unlimited, My Way plan makes it easier for families to tailor plans to meet their wireless needs, making Sprint the clear choice for families.”