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.”