Sprint just upped the ante in its unlimited plan competition with T-Mobile. The carrier on Friday unleashed yet another unlimited choice for consumers: Unlimited Freedom Premium.
The upgraded version of Sprint’s new Unlimited Freedom plan comes with an extra $20 on the price tag and brings users a higher quality streaming experience.
Where the standard $60 Unlimited Freedom plan offers unlimited talk, text and data with “optimized” streaming for video at 480, games at up to 2 mbps and music at up to 500 kbps, the $80 premium version offers all of the latter in HD quality. Sprint said Unlimited Freedom Premium includes 1080p+ HD video streaming, gaming at up to 8 mbps and HD music streaming at 1.5 mbps.
Sprint said families looking for unlimited can mix and match the two plans, perhaps using the standard unlimited plan for the parents and the premium version for mobile-focused kids.
The $80 price tag of Sprint’s new premium plan undercuts the cost of HD on T-Mobile’s recently unveiled T-Mobile ONE unlimited plan. That comes at a cost of $70 per month for the standard plan, but costs an additional $25 per month for HD streaming, bringing the total monthly cost to $95 for one line.
The change comes amid a fierce competition between T-Mobile and Sprint, which last week unveiled nearly identical unlimited plans within an hour of one another. The major difference between the two was that Sprint’s unlimited plan was an addition to its other offerings, while T-Mobile’s plan was meant to replace its former data tiers altogether.
Sprint’s unlimited refresh comes as it seeks to promote its network improvements, boost net addition figures and steal share from the other major market players. Sprint in the second quarter pulled in 173,000 postpaid phone net additions – putting it ahead of both Verizon and AT&T, but still well behind T-Mobile’s 646,000 postpaid phone net additions. BITG’s Walter Piecyk has estimated Sprint would need to add more than 3 million postpaid voice customers to stop its cash burn.
While a lower price for unlimited might woo some, Sprint decided to sweeten the deal on Friday to address a major customer criticism of T-Mobile’s new unlimited plan: having to pay for premium streaming.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure on Twitter said customers who sign up for the standard unlimited plan before Halloween will be able to upgrade to Unlimited Freedom Premium for free.