Whenever I travel (which is over 250 days a year) I always ask myself two key questions:
- where is my phone? (I’ve lost it again)
- am in a location (airport or hotel) where I am going to get good service? (uuugh)
I’ve been watching with interest the two lower cost cellular network providers – Sprint and T-Mobile. I took notice of these two again a couple of weeks ago when Sprint dropped its bid to buy T-Mobile due to concerns over gaining regulatory approval, and now the two carriers are in a pricing war – attempting to lure customers with deeply discounted individual plans.
So last Friday Sprint announced that it is offering a plan for $60 a month Unlimited Plan that includes unlimited talk, texting and data. The price is $20 less than the T-Mobile $80 a month unlimited plan. Sprint made the offer just days after T-Mobile offered free unlimited LTE data to anyone who convinces a friend from a different cellular network to switch to T-Mobile.
AT&T and Verizon are largely unaffected as they don’t offer unlimited data on new plans, however, giving up my grandfathered in unlimited data plan on AT&T might be hard to do.
The new unlimited pricing plan along with a new Family Share Pack introduced on Monday are meant to kick-start Sprint’s competitiveness in the market and help right a ship that has been going off course for several quarters. Sprint — which has fallen to last place nationally, according to recent RootMetrics network testing — has been struggling to keep customers. In the last quarter, it lost 220,000 customers. A new CEO came on board less than two weeks ago and has already started to shake things up. Priority No. 1 has been to reposition Sprint’s pricing so that it not only adds more value for customers but also is easily compared to plans offered by rivals, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile.
cnet.com also reports one of the major drawbacks is that customers don’t get a subsidy on their phone if they switch carriers.
“The main tweak is that Sprint will no longer offer a subsidy or two-year contract for anyone purchasing a new unlimited plan. This means consumers either have to buy their device outright or they can finance it using Sprint’s Easy Pay program, which allows for monthly payments for the device over 24 months.”
But it looks like T-Mobile is adding to the war again next week, says anroidguys.com:
T-Mobile is at it again, unveiling yet another industry-undercutting rate plan. The Un-carrier on Monday announced a new option for its Simple Starter customers in the form of a $45 2GB data plan that also includes unlimited talk and text. As is the case with the other plan this one is contract-free and does not include any overage fees. Set to go live on September 3, the plan is available for new and existing customers.
Sprint’s $60 a month looks attractive for unlimited talk, text and data, especially if you aren’t part of a family or shared user plan. Beware tho: Sprint isn’t known to have the best network – especially for data. And now that T-Mobile is looking to undercut at $45 for a similar plan with pay-for-use on data, the race to the pricing bottom is underway. What has been your experience on either of these two networks? Is now a good time to switch? And where did I leave my phone (this time)?