Sprint offered free unlimited services for Verizon customers switching to its network, stepping up the battle for unlimited tariff customers in the US.

The deal offers existing Verizon customers a year of free unlimited data, messaging and minutes on a SIM-only plan, and is open until end-June. According to the terms and conditions, customers will still pay “Sprint surcharges” and taxes on the service during the free period.

It is not the first time Sprint targeted promotions at customers of the country’s largest operators.

Since 2014 it sporadically promised to half the bills of AT&T and Verizon customers when they moved to its network. Reports in April suggested this offer had been effectively killed off by the resurrection of unlimited data plans as customers taking the deal were often sold additional data allowances to increase ARPU.

Unlimited fight
The return to unlimited tariffs was sparked by T-Mobile’s launch of the One Plan in August 2016, and all four operators now offer similar options.

Verizon was last to the party, with the launch of an unlimited option in February, and each of the operators embarked on something of a war of words regarding their rivals.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere boasted about the capabilities of its network and claimed Verizon’s network had got slower after it launched unlimited plans.

Sprint parent SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son welcomed the unlimited fight and confirmed Sprint’s assets were up to the task, while AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson believed the return to the deals were “the moment the battle for network reach and capacity really began”.

Despite its initial reluctance towards unlimited tariffs, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said it had boosted customer additions and pointed to its “network leadership” in terms of capacity.