Sprint preps branded prepaid service
The wireless carrier reportedly is nearing the launch of its own pay-as-you-go service, adding a layer to the carrier's evolving prepaid strategy.
Sprint Nextel (S) reportedly will launch its own no-contract, pay-as-you-go monthly mobile phone service later this month.
The Android Police blog reports that Sprint will launch its prepaid service on Jan. 25, initially offering two smartphones and two basic phones. The smartphone plan gives users unlimited talk, text and data for $70 a month. Sprint's basic phone plan costs $50 a month.
The information reportedly comes from internal Sprint documentation.
It's not yet known whether the new "Sprint As You Go" plans will include the carrier's 4G/LTE connectivity, or any 4G at all. The Android Police post says it appears that users will be limited to 3G services, with no free roaming allowed.
As for hardware, you won't have the same selection of phones as you would with a standard Sprint service plan: Apple (AAPL) iPhones here, Microsoft (MSFT) Windows phones and Google (GOOG) Androids all appear to be excluded. (Note: Microsoft publishes MSN Money.)
The cellphones initially offered under the new prepaid plan reportedly will be limited on the higher-end to the Samsung Victory ($250) and the LG Optimus Elite ($150). On the lower end, available phones will be the Samsung Array ($80) and M400 flip phone ($50).
This sort of offering is not a new idea. Sprint leases out cellular services to a number of other companies, including Virgin Mobile, Republic Wireless (a VoIP/cellular service) and its own Boost Mobile. Some of those companies have data usage limits on their no-contract plans.
Prepaid represents a growth driver for the telecommunications industry. T-Mobile's pending merger with MetroPCS (PCS) is expected to create a rival that's more focused on customers opting for prepaid plans.
Sprint did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the report.
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