Sprint announced today that its rebranding and relaunching its obscure Sprint As You Go brand as Sprint Prepaid with new plans and new handset choices. Contrary to earlier rumors, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile are not being folded into Sprint Prepaid and continue unchanged. The new plans are:
- Smart $45/month - Unlimited talk and text, no data or MMS
- Smart Plus $60/month Unlimited talk, text and data, throttled after 2.5 GB/month. Video streaming is limited to 3G speeds.
- Basic Plus $50/month Unlimited talk, text and data
- Basic $35/month 500 minutes unlimited text and data. Additional minutes are 10¢/each
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini $349.99
- Samsung Galaxy S3 $299.99
- Certified pre-owned Apple 4S $199.99
- Motorola Moto G $99.99
Sprint Prepaid customers will be eligible for Sprint Buyback which lets them trade in their old phone and receive an account credit and for Sprint Money Express, which includes an app that lets them "...send money, load checks and pay bills, and it also includes a personalized, reloadable, Sprint-branded Visa prepaid card to make purchases anywhere in the world that Visa debit is accepted."
Sprint Prepaid is available now at Sprint branded retail locations or through telesales at 866-866-7509. Monthly plan payments can be made with a credit or debit card at www.sprint.com/prepaidmysprint with auto-pay available, or by dialing *3 on a Sprint Prepaid phone. Payments can also be made with cash or credit or debit cards at Sprint stores and auto pay
Based on the Sprint Prepaid coverage map, coverage is on the Sprint native network only, there's no off-network roaming. The listed plan prices are identical to the old Sprint As You Go plans. However all the As You Go plans included no-extra cost off-network roaming and the $60 As You Go Plan plan included unlimited hi-speed data. The good news is that, unlike Sprint As You Go, Sprint Prepaid plan prices include all taxes except state and local sales taxes and fees. The Sprint As You Go plans had an added tax burden for telecom taxes and fees that added $10 to $16 to the $35 plan and $16 - $25 to the $60 plan's cost.
The old Sprint As You Go Plans are no longer available to new customers. Current Sprint As You Go customers can keep their plans and service as long as their plan remains in good standing and they don't change phones.
I'm underwhelmed by these changes. The two things that made Sprint As You Go unique, no-extra cost roaming and unlimited high speed data, are missing and users are still restricted to a limited choice of phones. Similar plans at lower prices and with a wider selection of phones are available from Sprint's Boost and Virgin Mobile brands. I think there's a place for a premium Sprint prepaid brand but it needs to offer features that customers are willing pay extra for like roaming, unlimited data and the ability to use any Sprint phone including phones they already own and current flagship devices.
Sources: Sprint, Fierce Wireless
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