Back in 2014, Sprint began advertising that it would cut customers’ bills in half when they switched from another carrier — though that deal wasn’t quite as good as advertised — and even led a competitor to call in an impartial ad watchdog, which referred the case to the Federal Communications Commission. Sprint is finally ending the campaign because its competitors’ offerings have changed.
Three years ago, Sprint began trying to lure in new customers by promising to slash their existing wireless bill in half (a promise that wasn’t quite as good as advertised). With a renewed industry-wide focus on unlimited plans, Sprint is expected to finally drop this promotion.
In 2014, when Sprint launched this offer, the competition wasn’t offering unlimited plans. So even if Sprint’s “50% off” really only came out to about 20% for many customers, the service was still cheaper and often offered access to more data.
At the time Sprint began advertising its purported half-off deals, other postpaid carriers weren’t offering unlimited plans. Paying (theoretically) half as much for significantly more data was a tempting deal in 2014.
In 2017, The Wall Street Journal explains, this doesn’t work anymore. With the three other major carriers offering their own unlimited plans, it’s less appealing. Customers can get unlimited plans (T-Mobile only offers unlimited data for its postpaid customers) and there’s no price drop that makes it possible to double “unlimited.”
While the promo helped Sprint increase its subscriber numbers, it didn’t help with the most important figure. The company hasn’t turned a profit since 2006, and the new pricing could signal that it’s done with aggressive price-cutting and attention-getting promotions like cheap iPhone leases.
While the WSJ didn’t have any information on what the new pricing plans will be, we do know that they’ll be unveiled sometime this week.