RealTime IT News

Sprint Starts Holiday Discount Season

Sprint PCS unrolled new pricing plans for its business and resident digital wireless phone service Friday, aimed at hitting the early holiday season shoppers and boosting sales of its 3G data service.

Customers who sign up today for the entry level ($30 to $60 a month) plans will receive unlimited night and weekend calls, while the business and high-end residential services ($85 and up) include unlimited data downloads and unlimited PCS to PCS phone calls for three months. The discount offer for the high-end services extends to PCS Voice command, e-mail download service and sharing a second phone for the first three months also.

In order to simplify its different billing plans, Sprint is also putting a flat-rate 50 cents per minute rate on all out-of-network calls in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and 75 cents for out-of-network calls where long distance fees are applicable.

After the third month, users can pay a monthly fee for the plans they wish to keep under a new pricing scheme from Sprint:

  • PCS Vision (the data service) for $10 a month.
  • PCS to PCS calling - $5 a month.
  • PCS Voice Command - $5 a month.
  • Second line to share - $20 a month.
  • PCS Business Connection - $5 a month to download e-mail to a PCS phone or laptop or PDA.

Dan Wilinsky, Sprint spokesperson, said the company wanted to simplify its data and phone services, which many found confusing, and to get a start on the holiday season.

"Basically, we're going for simplicity with these 'buckets' of packages they can buy," he said. "We're also pricing for adoption, with the most aggressive pricing you're going to see. We're looking to pick up key customers during the key holiday season."

According to Wilinsky, there is no end date on the books for the discount plan, though he expects it to end sometime after the Christmas season.

The wireless phone company is also eliminating the $3 customer support fee normally charged to speak to a company rep.

"The wireless industry as a whole needs to do better when it comes to customer service and at Sprint we've made this our top priority," said Len Lauer, Sprint PCS president.

So far, the wireless phone industry has had a tough time convincing customers to buy a 3G phone. According to ARS, Inc., a research company, Sprint leads the U.S. in 2.5G phone market share, with 27 percent. A report back in August showed Sprint had the best chance to market to the masses in the U.S., with an average 38 percent more coverage around the country than its competitors.

"We're pleased with the results so far and have been on plan," Wilinsky said in response to the company's 3G sales. "With these new pricing offers, we're going to see an aggressive uptick in numbers."