updated 10:15 am EST, Thu February 28, 2008
Sprint Simply Everything
Sprint saw one of its worst quarters in recent history late last year, the company reported this morning. The phone provider drew a nearly $29.5 billion loss for the calendar quarter ended in December and noted that it had lost 683,000 customers over the same period versus gains from nearly all its rivals. This is only set to worsen as another 1.2 million are expected to drop subscriptions by the end of the current quarter, according to the carrier's guidance. The news is said to have surprised even new CEO Dan Hesse, who noted that Sprint had borrowed $2.5 billion and that it would take a long time to recover from its recent history.
"To be frank, the issues we face are more difficult than what I expected to find," he said.
The losses are said to be the result of multiple factors but often center around the company's customer support quality, which is widely acknowledged to have dropped off sharply in recent years.
As part of its response, Sprint says it will now offer a $100 unlimited calling plan for cellphones beginning this Friday. Known as Simply Everything, the service is set to exceed similar plans unveiled in recent days by other major American carriers, including AT&T and Verizon: data, text messaging, GPS mapping, and streaming services for both music and video are all included in the package. The upgrade applies to both normal customers as well as users of the push-to-talk iDEN network and does not require a contract extension for existing users, according to the company. Sprint also intends to offer a $5 monthly discount for each additional line added to the plan.
While not as aggressive as the rumored $60 calling-only plan, the number of features may instigate an expected price war between carriers as each tries to offer more features than the other. While Verizon's plan is normally limited to calls alone on traditional "feature phones," AT&T retaliated the same day by offering a similar plan for BlackBerries, the iPhone, and similar smartphones normally exempt from unlimited deals. A T-Mobile plan also introduced at the same time countered previous offerings by adding unlimited text messaging to its phone service.