Sprint attacks rivals data strategy - but Virgin move raises questions - Mobile World Live

Sprint attacks rivals data strategy – but Virgin move raises questions

14 JUL 2011

Sprint has taken another swipe at its rivals over their decision to cut unlimited data plans, but a move yesterday by Sprint’s prepaid brand Virgin Mobile USA suggests the operator could be considering launching its own data management tools. In a new advertising campaign, Sprint highlights the data caps and throttling employed by its competitors AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, and reiterates its offer of uncapped smartphone data: “With Sprint, you don’t get charged extra, you don’t slow down.” Sprint’s ads will run across TV, print and online nationally and follow an advertising campaign in March where CEO Dan Hesse claimed: “The other day, I looked up the word unlimited in the dictionary. Nowhere in the definition did I see words like metering, overage or throttling, which is code for slowing you down. Only Sprint gives you true unlimited calling, texting, surfing, TV and navigation on all phones.”

However, at CTIA in late March Hesse admitted he had not ruled out the possibility of joining rival operators in offering tiered data tariffs, adding that “we are monitoring the situation very closely.” In May various reports suggested the operator was close to performing a u-turn on its data pricing strategy, although this was never borne out. Interestingly, Sprint’s Virgin Mobile USA brand yesterday said that, beginning October, Virgin will implement data speed throttling for consumers that exceed 2.5 gigabytes of data per month. Once a customer exceeds that data threshold, they will have their regular 3G connection speeds cut to 256 kb/s through the end of their billing cycle. RCR Wireless News notes that “with the capabilities for throttling already in its system, the move for Sprint Nextel into that realm would appear to be smooth.”


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