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Sprint's New All-In Plan – It’s Messy And A Cause For Concern

by Richard Guppy | 7月 08, 2015

Sprint’s CEO Marcello Claure commented recently on Sprint’s new ‘All-In’ plan: ‘We understand how frustrating and confusing shopping for wireless can be.. at Sprint, we are doing things differently. We are telling customers, 'This is your All-In price.’’

Separately, Sprint said it would stop the practice of throttling data for its heaviest users, following the FCC’s ruling on net neutrality and proposed fine for ATT for throttling without clear notice.

On the ‘All-In’ plan , subscribers get 'unlimited data/voice/texts' and an iPhone or S6 on lease for $80 per month.  The proposition is a clean, tidy offer to customers: one price covers all, and you can still have Sprint’s trademark ‘all you can eat’ data. (Previously, Sprint offered $50 a month for the service side, and an iPhone lease for $20 a month).

We’ve done case studies of parent SoftBank’s masterful use of pricing strategies in Japan to go from number 3 operator to number 1 operator across many metrics (see July 28 webinar, 'Operator Strategies - Disruptive Pricing').  We also know that SoftBank CEO Mr Son is taking a more personal interest in Sprint these days, as it becomes more of a challenge to turn around than he expected.

Yet this latest launch looks so messy, that our expectation of a major recovery at Sprint has suddenly become much smaller.  Here is how, to us, it looks messy:

  • The plan is not ‘all in’ – on top of the $80 there are taxes on leasing, taxes on service, regulatory fees, administration fees and sign-up fees.
  • The plan is not always $80: price varies according to the model of phone chosen.
  • The plan is not unlimited in all cases: see the small print, reproduced below.
  • The plan launched with video restricted to 600kbps streaming, though that was withdrawn after users protested.
  • Plus, the price is an increase on the old price of $50 for service and $20 for leasing.. 

Just how could Sprint launch a service built on unlimited data where video was limited to 600kbps, after SoftBank’s CEO famously described data speeds in the USA as ‘horrible’ in 2014.  Just how could Sprint address 'confusing shopping' with a plan carrying so much small print and uncertainty?

To the SCIm team, this launch raises serious questions about Sprint’s commercial expertise, going right to the top – this plan will have been signed off at the highest levels.  Suddenly, our expectation that Sprint may recover as a major force in the US market has become much smaller, if it can get this launch so wrong, after its parent company did things so right in Japan.

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Below: All-In Plan's T&C’s From Sprint

Monthly lease portion of payments exclude taxes (varies by area).

Monthly service portion of price plan excludes taxes & Sprint Surcharges [incl. USF charge of up to 17.10% (varies quarterly), up to $2.50 Admin. & 40¢ Reg. /line/mo. & fees by area (approx. 5-20%)]. Surcharges are not taxes. See sprint.com/taxesandfees.

Activ. Fee: $36/line. Credit approval req.

Plan: Offer ends 8/6/2015. Includes unlimited domestic Long Distance calling, texting and on-network data. Third-party content/downloads are add'l charge. Int'l svcs are not included. Req. leased device.

Usage Limitations: To improve data experience for the majority of users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network.

Sprint may terminate service if off-network roaming usage in a month exceeds: (1) 800 min. or a majority of min. or (2) 100MB or a majority of KB.

Prohibited network use rules apply-see sprint.com/termsandconditions. 

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