By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated January 08, 2014.
T-Mobile and AT&T aren’t the only wireless carriers pushing out new deals for the new year. Sprint is getting in on the action with a new plan and pricing aimed at the family.
Dubbed the Sprint Framily Plan, the idea is to let consumers decide who they consider family. That may mean your favorite barista becomes your brother, your fantasy football team become your cousins, and the parents on your son’s soccer team become in-laws. Any group of family, friends and others can now be considered, as Sprint calls it, “framily.”
According to U.S. census data from 2010, 60 percent of the total U.S. households are made up of fewer than three people and are growing more quickly than larger households. The Sprint Framily plan offers these 60 percent of households the opportunity to create a family plan with virtually any group who wants to come together to purchase wireless service.
Made for the Modern Family
“The Sprint Framily Plan redefines the way we think of family plans and gives our customers the power to decide who will be a part of their group and gain greater savings as more members are added,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO.
Here’s how it works: First off, the Sprint Framily Plan is available to new and existing customers. The more people added to the group, up to 10 phone lines, the greater the savings for everyone on the plan. Because each account can be billed separately, customers can choose who is in their group.
For one line of service, new Sprint customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data. For each additional new Sprint customer that joins the Framily group, the cost per person goes down $5 a month up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line. Build a group of at least seven people and everyone gets unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for $25 per month per line.
All members of the group can customize their plans to meet their unique needs. For $20 per month per line, for example, Framily members can buy up to unlimited data plus get a new phone every year. Plans become available on Jan. 10.
Sprint’s Low CES Profile
We caught up with Jeff Kagan, an independent technology industry analyst, to get his thoughts on the Framily plan. He told us this new plan sounds good, but it's not the big announcement industry watchers would expected at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In fact, he said he’s not sure what to make of Sprint’s relatively low profile at CES.
“This plan should help Sprint hang on to more customers since that has been their problem over the last few years. They have been losing customers. They are still losing customers,” Kagan said.
“I hope that will change and Sprint will start growing again after the Softbank acquisition. However, this plan is a defensive move on Sprint’s part, not offensive. I think the purpose is more to slow customer losses. It's a good idea. Hopefully that is helpful. Sprint hasn't given us too much to talk about at CES this year,” he added.
In order to leverage the new plan, customers just need to purchase eligible wireless phones at full retail price or through the Sprint Easy Pay program and pay in 24 monthly payments. Customers also can activate existing Sprint phones.
New customers will be given a unique Framily ID, at which point they can invite friends and family outside of Sprint to join their groups. Or, new customers can join existing Sprint Framily groups within 14 days of account activation.
However, existing Sprint accounts cannot be combined into one Framily plan unless both accounts are owned by the same person. The price of the Framily Plan for customers currently on plans with discounted phones is an additional $15 per month per line for service until the customers' lines are upgrade eligible.