Sprint’s Reply: $100 a Month For “Everything”

Last week, three of the major US operators announced $100/month flat-rate voice plans (with T-Mobile throwing in SMS and MMS as well). There was a lot of speculation about how Sprint might respond, with much of it saying that the company would probably just slash prices. Sprint today announced its “Simply Everything” plan, which gives users unlimited voice calls, as well as unlimited messaging, data, Sprint TV, Sprint Music, navigation services and push-to-talk for $100 a month.

Interesting. The canned comment from the CEO in the press release: “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.”

Nice to see him giving a nod to data services, but I wonder just how strong a differentiator that will be. Sprint’s business is still in the toilet, and I’m skeptical that its $100 unlimited plan, even with the data and other services, will prove all that attractive to many consumers against other operators’ — who enjoy better brand images and reputations — unlimited voice plans at the same price point. I guess we’ll find out, though…

I think where this might prove most useful for Sprint is in the business market, where companies can now spend a consistent and predictable $100 per month per employee for voice and data service, and the incremental cost (in terms of mobile bills) of rolling out new mobile services is nil.

My biggest hope, though, is that this pushes the other operators to add data to the mix, either in their unlimited plans, or by slashing their data tariffs for all customers. The pipe dream: that they start making data free. Perhaps that’s unrealistic, but giving up the short-term monthly data revenues could give the mobile data and content industry the long-term boost it needs in the US.

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