Lower Prices, More Features Indicate Right Call on Sprint/T-Mobile

By Doug Mohney September 02, 2014

It's been about a month since Sprint kicked out Dan Hesse and let slip that it was not pursuing T-Mobile.  Instead, we've seen a battle of pricing plans between the two firms.  If you are a price conscious shopper, it's all good.

Within days after bringing in a new CEO, Sprint announced a new family plan and $60 per month unlimited plan for text, talk, and data, proudly boasting it was "$20 cheaper than" T-Mobile's $80 per month unlimited plan.  Of course, to qualify, new and existing customers had to either purchase their phone through Sprint Easy Pay, pay full retail price or bring their own compatible device.

Sprint previously owned the "unlimited plan" concept in my mind until T-Mobile showed up and started pounding the table that it had a cheaper plan if you brought your own phone.  Now, the company can boast that savings on a two year contract pay for a good chunk of the shiny-new phone customers are more likely to buy if they sign up.

It is also nice to see the whole "Framily" word -- talk about ugly -- got flushed when the company announced its new family plan.  For $100 a month -- about what I used to pay for Sprint "Unlimited" a few years ago -- a family can have up to 10 lines with 20 GB of shared data across them.

Sprint has also embraced International Wi-Fi calling back to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands for no cost. Make a call outside the U.S. on Sprint's Wi-Fi Android client and there's no charges and no minutes counted against a monthly plan.  T-Mobile has had free international Wi-Fi calling for ages along with various plans from the OTT crowd, so Sprint's playing catch-up.

If there's a problem here, it's Sprint is playing catch-up on matching pricing and features while T-Mobile already has at least three to five moves in the pipeline.   Sprint will have to be reactive rather than proactive as it continues to update its network and shed personnel. Talk of gigabit wireless speeds over LTE and other future ideas aren't what customers want at this point.

Exactly what T-Mobile has in mind is unknown.  The company plans to announce "Uncarrier 7.0" on September 10 in San Francisco, promising that "This time it's personal" on the press invite. Expect some more consumer-aimed incentives. 

But T-Mobile is also more than just grabbing consumers. The company has taken aim at enterprises with international business plans, including flat rate voice and offerings.  CEO John Legere and other executives have recognized the value of LTE as a data network first and foremost, with the ability to layer other value-added services on top.  Expanded mobile wallet services could be one area where the company could make advances and I wouldn't be surprised if it embraces voice biometrics for authenticating its customers and as a value-added service.

How long both companies can sustain a price war is an open question.  Sprint is backed by Softbank's money while Deutsche Telekom believes it can get $35 or more a share for T-Mobile at this point in time, yet both can't continue to lose money over the long term.  Ultimately, someone has to blink in the "lowest best price ever" game.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Editor

Related Articles

10 Benefits of Drone-Based Asset Inspections

By: Frank Segarra    1/15/2018

Although a new and emerging technology, (which is still evolving), in early 2018, most companies are not aware of the possible benefits they can achie…

Read More

VR Could Change Entertainment Forever

By: Special Guest    1/11/2018

VR could change everything from how we play video games to how we interact with our friends and family. VR has the power to change how we consume all …

Read More

Making Connections - The Value of Data Correlation

By: Special Guest    1/5/2018

The app economy is upon us, and businesses of all stripes are moving to address it. In this age of digital transformation, businesses rely on applicat…

Read More

3 Ways to Improve Your VR Projects

By: Ellie Martin    1/4/2018

There is no denying that VR is here and will most likely only increase in velocity as a terminal speed is yet to be even hypothesized. That is why it …

Read More

Alphabet to See Schmidt Step Down

By: Maurice Nagle    12/21/2017

In 2001, Google brought Eric Schmidt on board as CEO. To 10 years later become executive chairman, and continue to serve in this capacity through rest…

Read More