By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK – Major new subscriber programs unveiled by AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile kicked up the competitive-heat index in July.
Here’s what they announced:
• T-Mobile launched Phase 2 of its “uncarrier” strategy by unveiling the JUMP (Just Upgrade My Phone) program, which allows Simple Choice no-contract unsubsidized-handset subscribers on an equipment installment payment to upgrade a phone up to twice a year for any reason. Subscribers have to pay $10/ month for the privilege.
• T-Mobile became the first carrier to offer prepaid family plans to people without a credit check, though the account holder must pay for one month’s service in advance.
• AT&T emulated T-Mobile’s strategy with plans for a July 26 direct-channel-only launch of Next, a program that combines no-contract plans, unsubsidized handsets and tablets, an installment plan to pay off the devices, and the flexibility to change phones once every 12 months without a penalty or upgrade fee.
• Sprint reduced the price of unlimited talk, text and data for smartphones down to $80 for a single line from $110, guaranteed the plans’ unlimited provisions for the life of the line, and further reduced the cost per line as customers add lines to an account. The price falls to as little as $50/month for lines four through 10.
• AT&T announced its planned $1.2 billion purchase of ailing no-contract carrier Leap Wireless, providing AT&T with spectrum to help accommodate future data growth, raise the company’s share of the growing no-contract market, and provide a shot in the arm for Leap’s Cricket brand, which AT&T vowed to maintain.
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