Subscribers of Sprint’s Virgin Mobile prepaid brand will now have the option of sharing data with or limiting data usage of family members. Typically, T-Mobile is the frontrunner when it comes to initiatives for making changes but this time, Sprint Corporation took the lead and with the new offering, has completely changed the rules of the wireless industry.
Sprint’s offer is different because this is the first time the no-contract prepaid market will benefit from shared data family plans, something common within the more lucrative post-paid market. In addition to giving users greater flexibility, existing data plans designed to attract customers is being ramped up by Virgin Mobile.
In August of last year, the Virgin Mobile Custom was launched by Sprint, which was part of an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Even though the plan for this partnership provided users with more flexibility, Sprint did not feel representatives of Wal-Mart Stores had the ability to convey the true value to consumers. It was at that time that Sprint made the decision to revamp the plan with Virgin Mobile Custom while keeping the flexibility.
One of the top features for Sprint’s new prepaid bundle is plan customization. For example, with ItsOn Technology, the main accountholder has the ability to allocate data for every family member while being incredible flexible specific to making calls overseas. For parents, the parental controls are outstanding, making it possible to limit data used by their children.
Consumers can select one of three unique data bundles, all of them including unlimited text and talk, as well as a feature for free mobile hotspot. For the two-line plan, a user gets 4GB of shareable data for only $65 a month whereas with the three and four-line plans, the amount of memory increases to 8GB and 12GB with plans priced at $90 and $115 a month, respectively.
Also included with the plans is two months of music streaming at no cost that does not count against the data allotment. Although there are tremendous benefits, the shared data plans do come with a few restrictions. For one thing, these plans are only being offered for the LG Volt, Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, HTC Desire 510, and LG Tribute.
Limited device availability has always been an issue within the prepaid market but according to Sprint, more devices will be added to the list sometime next month. The other expense is a $20 starter kit required to get each line on the plan activated. Also, speeds for video streaming are limited to just 3G.
Sprint stated that two additional individual data plans will be introduced soon. The first includes unlimited texting, unlimited data, and 300 voice minutes for $35 a month. The second comes with unlimited text, talk, and data for only $45 a month. The only downside is that once a user consumes over 2.5GB within a billing cycle, speeds are throttled.
The bottom line is that the partnership with Wal-Mart stores did not turn out as expected but recognizing the problem, Sprint took action. With the launch of new shared, as well as individual data plans available through Sprint’s Virgin Mobile, demand by users is being satisfied.