Sprint Offers Simplicity with its “All-in” Mobile Plan

by Matt Klassen on July 2, 2015

As the mobile market has shifted away from the extended binding contract model towards subsidizing phones through a monthly leasing plan alongside service fees customers are often left trying to parse through pages of marketing jargon in an effort to find out just how much they’ll be paying for phones, promotions, features, and service, leaving many frustrated and confused.

In an effort to continue to differentiate itself in the wildly competitive—and sometimes downright ludicrous—American mobile market, Sprint has decided to offer the customer something often advertised but rarely delivered: simplicity. The company announced this week that it will offer an $80/month “All-in” plan, including both service and smartphone fees, a boon for those customers often frustrated by hidden fees and overly complex pricing plans.

The unfortunate irony for customers, however, is that despite Sprint’s attempt at simplicity and openness the devil of this particular plan still lies firmly in the details, meaning that even something as simple as simplicity seems just a little too complicated for Sprint.

Much like the airline industry, the mobile market has long been plagued with hidden fees, extra prices, and confusing service plans that seem to need both marketing and legal teams to truly figure out. Even in this new post-contract era, customers are expected to pick their service plan, sign a lease on a particular kind of promotional plan, and then figure out from there exactly how much they’ll be tagged for each month. Such billing gymnastics can leave customers who think they’ve just signed up for a great deal with a bloated bill they never expected. Now, however, Sprint is attempting to do things differently.

The new Sprint “All-in” plan will feature unlimited talk, text, and data for $60/month, plus $20 as a lease payment towards the latest smartphones like the iPhone 6 or Samsung’s Galaxy S6, chief marketing officer Kevin Crull said in an interview.

“The natural evolution of the industry is to advertise both combined: cost of the device and the rate plan, put them together and tell the customer what’s the rate all in,” Crull said.

Now granted simplifying the billing process isn’t what anyone would call revolutionary, but there comes a time when too much ‘revolution,’ as it were, leaves consumers feeling more than a little woozy, in desperate need of some stable simplicity. So while Sprint’s move to create an comprehensive plan that covers everything from service to lease to extras under one flat rate may pale in comparison to T-Mobile abolishing overage fees or shattered the ironclad hold of the onerous mobile contract, after the paradigm has shifted there comes a time when the industry needs to rediscover stability, and that’s what Sprint is doing here.

But as one might expect with any new deal, there seems to be a catch. As Jared Peters of Talk Android explains, “Some fine details in the terms and conditions of Sprint’s new plan suggests that the carrier will place a 600 kbps cap on all streaming video for users on this new plan. Yeah, 600 kbps. That’s just barely over the recommended internet speed that Google suggests for YouTube, and you can bet that’s not HD video.”

Simply put, Sprint may have delivered simplicity to the customer, but if the fine print is correct, this has come as the cost of actual network service. As Peters writes, it’s difficult to see Sprint’s end game in all this, “since any users that have this plan that try to stream any kind of video are going to have an awful time. There’s no way that will result in anything but horrible publicity for the company that’s spent the better part of the past few years trying to convince the general public that their network is steadily improving.”

In the end I’ll say one thing, there truly doesn’t seem to be anything cheaper or easier than offering customers a little simplicity in their mobile experience, but never would I have guessed that Sprint could have messed this one up quite so badly.

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

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