Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sprint Redefines "Family" Plan with New "Framily" Plans

Sprint’s new “Framily Plan” takes the notion of a shared family plan one step further and allows accounts to include as many as 10 devices in a shared plan, including any users the account holder wishes to specify.

The plan appears aimed at the 60 percent of U.S. households made up of fewer than three people. The Sprint Framily plan allows creation of “family plans” with virtually any self-defined group of users who agree to be on a single account, though bills can be issued separately to any member of a group.

Sprint's Framily Plan is available to new and existing customers.

For one line of service, new Sprint customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data. For each additional new Sprint customer that joins the Framily group, the cost per person goes down $5 a month up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line.

Build a group of at least seven people and everyone gets unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for $25 per month per line (pricing excludes taxes and surcharges).

For $20 per month per line, Framily members can buy up to unlimited data plus get a new phone every year.

Each account can be billed separately.

To participate, customers purchase an eligible wireless phone at full retail price or through the Sprint “Easy Pay” program and pay in 24 monthly payments. Customers also can activate an existing Sprint phone.

New customers will be given a unique Framily ID, at which point they can invite friends and family outside of Sprint to join their group. Or, new customers can easily join an existing Sprint Framily group within 14 days of account activation.

Existing Sprint accounts, though,  cannot be combined into one Framily plan unless both accounts are owned by the same person.

The price of the Framily Plan for customers currently on a plan with a discounted phone is an additional $15 per month per line for service until the customer’s line is upgrade eligible. For a limited time, Sprint will waive the $15 per month to move to the Sprint Framily Plan for customers who purchased a discounted phone before Jan. 10, 2014, and are not upgrade eligible.

A single-line subscriber who is part of a seven-line Framily Group will pay $25 per month for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data, a significant monthly savings versus what they would pay for a new line of service at competitors.

Sprint argues a seven-member Framily, at $25 per user, beats a T-Mobile Simple Choice (500MB of data) at $50 a month; an AT&T Mobile Share Value plan with 1 GB of data at $70 a month or a Verizon Share Everything account with 1GB of data at $90.

Those comparisons, one might argue, are not truly “apples to apples,” as Sprint compares per-user costs for a seven-member plan with single user plans.

A single-line subscriber at Sprint with no group members, a better comparison,  would have a single user paying $55 per month.

The Framily plan offers users more flexibility and possibly some recurring cost savings, compared to T-Mobile US, AT&T Mobility or Verizon Wireless plans, on a single-user basis. lt’s helpful, though not likely “disruptive.”

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