Hi, Sprint? It’s Verizon. What’s going on, old buddy? We were just sitting around the table, me, T-Mo, AT&T, sipping on martinis. Nah, we weren’t ripping on you. Okay, so maybe we were making fun of all the customers you’ve lost and the $29 billion you just wrote off. But come on. You make it so easy. So…when are you coming to join the unlimited party? Or so I imagine the conversation would go. But Sprint finally has arrived to the party. Only they didn’t come alone. See, AT&T and Verizon are there solo. They’re so big that they don’t need any goons by their side. T-Mobile, knowing its disadvantage, took unlimited text messaging along. But Sprint brought the kitchen sink to the party. You want some bang for your buck? How about unlimited voice, data, text, email, mobile Web, Sprint TV, Sprint Music, GPS Navigation, Direct Connect, and Group Connect. And yeah, it’s all for $99 per month. So while Sprint isn’t undercutting its rivals’ prices, it’s overblowing the services available.
“This is a bold, unprecedented move,” said Dan Hesse, president and CEO, Sprint Nextel. “Wireless today is about much more than just voice. It is about data services – texting, email, video, pictures, music, navigation, surfing the Web and more. Customers want these applications, but without complexity and without having to worry about their bill. The $99.99 Simply Everything plan delivers it all right to the palm of their hand now. “Today’s handsets are powerful data devices. Each day they get better, faster and easier to use with more intuitive user interface designs and full Internet access. Our high-speed networks were built with this in mind and it’s where we believe the battleground lies – offering fast access to the best content and data services. We are removing the barriers for customers to feel free to use all of the features of their phones.”
This move towards data started with Sprint last year, when they realized that they wouldn’t be able to compete on voice alone. Verizon and AT&T were so strong that they seemed undefeatable on that platform. So they started experimenting with WiMax, a project I’m still excited about. Of course, you won’t be able to share these unlimited minutes on a family line. Sprint offers a $5 discount on all additional family plan unlimited lines. So your first is $99.99, second is $94.99, third is $89.99, et cetera, up to five lines. And so the pricing war begins. Now, do Verizon and AT&T make a preemptive move to retain their customers? Or do they wait for a few to bolt to Sprint before they start lowering prices? [Sprint]