Sprint to position pre-paid service as an alternative for consumers who don't need unlimited data1
While Sprint's new pricing obviously appeals to those who need unlimited data, what about subscribers who don't need so much of the sweet stuff? Those customers are apparently going to be served by the pre-paid side of Sprint. According to analytical firm Wave7, Sprint's pre-paid operations are about to be re-launched in a few weeks and will be positioned as the place for Sprint subscribers to go if they don't want or need unlimited data. These customers would save money by subscribing to a package offering 3GB or 5GB of high-speed data each month.
Sprint Pre-paid currently offers unlimited talk, text and data. For $40 a month with AutoPay, subscribers receive 3GB of high-speed data. $50 monthly will give the subscriber 5GB of high speed data. Once the high-speed cap is reached, subscribers are throttled to 2G data speeds. Currently, there is a pre-paid unlimited high-speed data option that costs $60 with AutoPay. This includes mobile optimized video and music streaming and 5GB of mobile hot spot service. Once the 5GB is consumed, hot spot data will move at 2G speeds. And once 23GB of high-speed data is used up, for the rest of the month the pre-paid customer will be "deprioritized" at times when Sprint's network is congested.
While it would seem silly to subscribe to the Sprint pre-paid version of unlimited high speed data when postpaid unlimited is $10/$15 cheaper per month, the pre-paid option is a viable choice for those who might not have a great credit score. In addition, there is no obligation to pay every month with a pre-paid account.
Sprint was expected to re-launch its Virgin Mobile brand last year, but that has seemingly been pushed back. The word here is that Sprint wants Virgin to become a disrupter brand in pre-paid and will introduce the new Virgin Wireless "soon." Meanwhile, Sprint will have some hard work to do. T-Mobile's MetroPCS, and AT&T's Cricket Wireless are both doing well. Meanwhile, during the fourth quarter of 2016, Sprint lost 501,000 pre-paid subscribers.