Sprint Corp yesterday offered unlimited data services for the lifetime of an account, in a bid by the No 3 US wireless operator to lure customers away from bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc.
The announcement comes only a day after Japanese telecom group SoftBank Corp closed its $21.6 billion purchase of 78 per cent of Sprint and two days after the closure by Sprint of the buyout of Clearwire Corp, which had a vast amount of wireless airwaves licenses (US regulators approve SoftBank-Sprint and Sprint-Clearwire deal).
Sprint has already been offering unlimited data services for a flat monthly fee, but due to network capacity concerns, analysts had long wondered whether it would eventually be forced to follow its rivals who charged consumers on the basis of the amount of data they used.
According to Sprint chief executive Dan Hesse who spoke to Reuters, the new guarantee would address customer who had concerns over leaving AT&T or Verizon Wireless for Sprint and ending up sans unlimited services which they feared might be pulled out at some point in time.
"Our research has shown that is a big issue for us in attracting AT&T and Verizon customers," he said, adding that the guarantee "clearly differentiates" Sprint from its rivals.
Hesse, who has been working on addressing customer losses at Sprint after taking up the top job in December 2007, said he had to complete the Clearwire deal so as to let Sprint have "the capacity to be able to offer an unlimited guarantee for life."
New or existing Sprint customers who signed up for the My Way or My All-in plans with unlimited services would be able to hold on to those services for the life of the line of service, the company said yesterday.
This could potentially be indefinitely, given the service came with no fixed term. The new plans, which would go up on sale today, would include options for single and multiple phones and would let subscribers include basic phones with or without data.
The My All-in plan came with unlimited talk, text and data on Sprint's network, in addition to 5GB per month of hotspot data that could be used by laptops, tablets and other Wi-Fi devices, for $110. The My Way plan would start with $50 per month for unlimited talk and text on one phone, with incremental rates winding down with the addition of more phones to the plan. My Way data options would include $30 for unlimited, $20 for 1GB and $10 for unlimited data on a basic phone.