Sprint Nextel went one step further than rival U.S. mobile operators today by offering unlimited voice, data and multimedia services for $99.99 per month.
The $99.99 Simply Everything plan, launching tomorrow, includes unlimited voice minutes, data services, e-mail, Web surfing, Sprint TV, Sprint Music, GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation and push-to-talk services. It will be available to new and existing customers on both Sprint's CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and iDEN networks.
Last week, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA all announced unlimited voice minutes for $99 per month. The stampede was good news for people who spend a lot of time talking on the phone, because existing voice plans in that price range were limited to a few thousand minutes a month. But with those carriers, data services cost extra.
Sprint is under pressure to undercut its competitors because it is the underdog in the market. On Thursday, it posted a loss of $29.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2007, counting a writedown of $29.7 billion for Sprint's 2005 acquisition of Nextel. It also suffered a net loss of 108,000 subscribers and forecast losing about 1.2 million post-paid customers in the current quarter, a trend it does not expect to improve in the second quarter of this year. Average revenue per user is also declining, Sprint said.
The carrier has had trouble integrating Nextel, which brought in a different network, customer base and corporate culture, according to industry observers. Sprint also has struggled to differentiate itself from the nation's other big mobile operators. Chairman, President and CEO Gary Forsee resigned last October and was replaced by a new CEO, Dan Hesse, in December.
Current Sprint customers will be able to switch to the Simply Everything plan without extending their contracts, according to Sprint. Every time a customer adds one more line using the plan, Sprint will cut another $5 off the monthly rate for that line, so for example, two lines would cost $194.99 per month.