Last October at a meeting with executives, S0ftbank (Sprint’s Japanese corporate owner) boss Masayoshi Son lost his temper and slammed his fist on a table. Son was irate at the mobile carrier’s advertising and told the room that they were not doing enough to lure new customers due to their “loser” mentality. Soon thereafter, Sprint finished dead last in the Consumer Reports rankings for U.S. wireless service providers due to “dismal marks” for value, voice, text and 4G reliability.
Sadly, Sprint still does not seem to be in any hurry to change their image towards potential customers. Whether it is because of a terrible new mobile plan or their significant job cuts across the country, Sprint continues to struggle with changing their image as an over-priced and under-performing mobile company. Last week, Sprint cut 200 jobs in Kansas City, 240 jobs in Sacramento and 450 jobs in Fort Worth.
Additionally, Sprint is being criticized for their recently announced prepaid option named the “Smart” plan. According to a Sprint announcement, the Smart plan costs $45 per month and includes unlimited voice and text. Oh, and no data whatsoever. Therefore, all data consumption must be done over Wi-Fi.
Sprint says it is targeting people who are looking for savings but it is hard to see where anyone would save under this plan. As such, reaction to the plan has been incredibly poor. The Wall Street Journal deemed the plan to be the “Worst Deal Ever.”
There are a multitude of reasons why customers should stay away from this plan.
First, Sprint seems to be confused about the direction in which people are using their cellphones. While mobile data traffic increased 81% in 2013, voice minutes have been in steady decline since 2008. Therefore, it is a mystery why Sprint would introduce a plan that goes in the opposite direction of this trend. Customers are looking for plans that give them more data. Period.
Sprint seems to be confused about the direction in which people are using their cellphones
Second, Sprint seems to have made the Smart plan the most expensive of its kind. Virgin Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Sprint itself, has a plan that includes 300 minutes of talk time and unlimited mobile data with a price tag of just $35. Republic Wireless has a plan with unlimited voice and texts and no data for $10 a month. That’s the exact same deal as Sprint’s Smart plan on the exact same network for $35 less a month.
Third, Sprint also announced a Smart Plus option, which includes unlimited data for $60 a month. That is more than the $40 a month plan that another Sprint subsidiary, Boost Mobile, charges for its own unlimited voice, text and data plan (this price reflects a reward for on-time payments).
Fourth, if you want to buy this over-priced plan, do not expect to be using a phone released in the last few months. As the Wall Street Journal points out, customers who want the Sprint Prepaid plan must be happy using older model phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, the Samsung Galaxy S3, and a used Apple iPhone 4s.
Sprint had only one goal with this announcement and that was to introduce a prepaid option into its retail stores. Therefore, customers should stay as far away from this plan as possible.