Sprint Introduces Tiered Plans for Connected Devices

by Matt Klassen on November 15, 2011

While Sprint has finally managed to secure some of the more popular smartphones for its network, it always seems like the country’s third largest wireless carrier is playing catch-up. To that end, while Sprint is proud to finally be among the Apple elect when it comes to selling the country’s most popular smartphone, the next frontier in mobile money making is clearly tablets, a market that without the iPad Sprint has little footprint in.

In an effort to remedy this tablet market shortfall one might have suggested to Sprint a bold marketing strategy, one that saw the carrier offer something consumers couldn’t find at AT&T or Verizon, something like unlimited 4G access on all tablets and other non-smartphone mobile devices….oh wait.

Of course the irony is that Sprint already had this strategy in place, one that likely would have allowed the perpetual third place finisher to actually attract consumers to its relatively paltry line-up of tablets, and it chose to end it and replace it with something new…tiered data plans

In an announcement yesterday, Sprint unveiled its new tiered data pricing plans geared specifically towards connected devices (i.e. tablets, mobile hot spot cards, USB cards, and Netbooks or laptops). As I mentioned in my previous coverage of Sprint discontinuing its unlimited 4G access for these devices, its unlimited smartphone plans will remain unchanged.

The new plans, while lamentably no longer unlimited, are competitively priced, offering users more bang for their buck. The tiered options feature a 1GB plan ($19.99/month), a 3GB plan ($24.99/month), a 6GB plan ($49.99) and a 12 GB plan ($79.99/month). By comparison, Verizon offers a 5GB plan for $50 and a 10GB plan for $80, while AT&T offers a similar 5GB plan for $50 as well.

While this a big change for Sprint, who previously only offered a 5GB plan for $60 and a 10GB plan for $90, all this may be moot given that Sprint doesn’t offer the one tablet that anyone would want to pay money every month to use, namely Apple’s iPad.

That said, for a company looking to make inroads into this market of increasingly disparate connected devices, offering such competitively priced plans is a good place to start. If it doesn’t spark interest in the company’s relatively lacklustre catalogue of Android tablets—which admittedly have garnered little critical or consumer interest—I would wager that Sprint will see wireless data usage increase significantly on other connected devices like laptops, as companies and consumers continue to find the most affordable way to maintain their technological lifestyles.

In the end, while none of this replaces the attractiveness of an unlimited 4G data plan for tablets—something that would have truly been unrivalled in this market—Sprint has indeed offered a respectable alternative, giving tablet and laptop users across the nation a chance to get more bang for their mobile buck.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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