Sprint once again threw down the gauntlet in the wireless price-cutting war on Wednesday, introducing a promotion that will give new customers a 50 percent discount on whatever they’re paying for service from T-Mobile, AT&T or Verizon.
The promotion is almost identical to the highly touted “cut your rate plan in half” campaign Sprint ran around this time last year. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure told reporters after the announcement that last year’s promotion contributed to one of the best quarters in Sprint history. Now, he expects this offer to have a similar effect.
New customers have between Nov. 20 and Jan. 7 to take advantage of what the company is calling the “biggest wireless offer in U.S. history.” The discounted rate will last for the life of new customers’ wireless contracts, which means some users will keep the rate all the way into 2018.
Customers who do switch won’t actually see the price on their bill drop by 50 percent, just like they didn’t last time around. That’s simply because the discounted rate only applies to the cost of service and not the monthly installments most users pay for their devices.
You can check out all 930 words of fine print over on Sprint’s website, but the company says the main difference with this half-off offer is that everything is simpler. If an AT&T customer walks into the store, they’ll pull up AT&T’s plans, let the customer choose one and then offer the same deal at a 50 percent discount.
To sweeten the deal, Sprint is offering a 28-day trial period. Users who do switch can turn in their device at any point during that time and walk away if they’re not satisfied with their new carrier.
“There’s a lot of skepticism about our network, as you’re well aware,” Claure said during a Wednesday media call. “The only way we’re going to convince customers to come is if we give them a try and if we give them a great offer.”
The deal is the latest escalation in the company’s competition with T-Mobile, as the two companies have been battling it out for the title of third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers for a while.
Last year’s half-off promotion — which didn’t apply to T-Mobile customers the first time around — helped keep Sprint ahead for a little while longer, but T-Mobile eventually leapfrogged into third place.
Now it looks like the competition will be equally fierce as the holiday shopping season gets underway once again. T-Mobile CEO John Legere, meanwhile, doesn’t seem too concerned.
Did we just witness beginning of the end for @sprint? $2.5B to cut, laying people off, now price cuts? The countdown clock makes sense now!
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) November 18, 2015
“We hope that T-Mobile customers are going to realize that they can come to a better network and they’re going to be able to save 50 percent,” Claure said. “So we’re going to see in the next few days.”