Sprint introduces the “Simply Everything We Can Do To Keep This Sucker Afloat” plan

When its three major competitors in the wireless game started offering unlimited cell plans for a flat rate of $99.99 a month a week or so ago, Sprint Nextel, with a shrinking pile of chips, had the usual choices — fold, call or raise. Today it chose to raise, introducing a plan at the same price point called “Simply Everything,” which offers unlimited voice (like Verizon Wireless and AT&T) and messaging (like T-Mobile), but also unlimited data use, Web surfing, Sprint TV and Music, GPS and more. “This is a bold, unprecedented move,” said CEO Dan Hesse. “Today’s handsets are powerful data devices. Each day they get better, faster and easier to use with more intuitive user interface designs and full Internet access. Our high-speed networks were built with this in mind and it’s where we believe the battleground lies — offering fast access to the best content and data services. We are removing the barriers for customers to feel free to use all of the features of their phones.”

All of this might have made for a rare day of positive Sprint headlines were it not for the fact that the announcement was accompanied by some truly ugly quarterly results and a pile of related bad news. The company swung to a fourth-quarter loss of $29.5 billion, a large chunk of that as it wrote off most of the remaining value of its ill-fated acquisition of Nextel in 2005. The quarter saw almost 700,000 annual-contract customers jump ship, and Sprint expects almost twice that many to bail out in the current quarter. As part of the battening-down process, the company will also stop paying dividends and will tap its revolving credit line for $2.5 billion in pocket money. And all this comes as the company continues to shed employees and sales outlets (see “You call them layoffs, we call them early terminations“). “Our business is not performing well right now,” Hesse told analysts. “We are working aggressively to turn this around but our financial performance will not improve overnight.” Investors were not inclined to wait, taking the stock down almost 10 percent.

So will Sprint’s aggressive flat-rate plan slow the customer exodus and push the competition into a price war? We’ll need to wait for the verdict on the first, but it sounds like the other carriers are content to let Sprint explore this territory alone, mostly because they feel they can win on quality of service. “We’re never going to chase price for people who don’t offer the same value of product that we have,” said AT&T telecom head John Stankey.

 
 

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  • eric Domejean

    Sprint is finally paying for their years of horrible service. They deserve to die. The are constantly ranked as one of the worse companies in service.

  • dermbuilder

    Actually I think Sprint is headed for eventual chapter 7. They screwed their customers over so badly that it is no wonder they are deserting Sprint now. I suspect that many are just waiting for the time that they can leave without paying the $200.00 that Sprint likes to charge anyone who leaves.

  • Wiiiindy

    Past sins be damned. This would be a great deal and I would grab it EXCEPT – their stupid network does not reach my house – Verizon’s does (it misses by an 1/8 mile). Price means nothing if the phone doesn’t work.

  • Michael

    I don’t think Sprint deserves all the negative comments. My phone works flawlessly, service is flawless, I love thier web and music interface vs Verizon. This is a good plan, I’m on it now and know they’ve learned thier lessen on going cheap for overseas customer care.

    My opinion:
    AT&T – the iphone is a waste on that network
    Verizon – I hate the data interface, thier gimmicky phones and thier “we are god” attitude
    T-Mobile – I’m older than 24, so I just generally dislike them.

  • Steven

    I agree that Sprint offers the best UNLIMITED PLAN. They have the fastest data connection over the phone and Sprint Music really rocks!

    I really can’t wait for the Samsung Instinct that Sprint will unveil by June. With Samsung devices, and Sprint network, EVERYTHING will just be alright.

    I am confident and satisfied as a consumer. Eventhough, there are some issues withe service, Sprint still has been the most dedicated and customer-sensitive Telecommunications company.

    I do hope we can get more of other Sprint Premium Downloads or I would really enjoy a Sprint Device that will offer Unlimited Music for a minimal MRC.

    Sprint has a lot to say. We just need to be patient, but not to much complacent.

 
 
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