AndroidGood and EVO

Sprint might raise plan prices once its LTE footprint is more competitive

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There are two things Sprint currently has going for it: unlimited data and lower prices than AT&T and Verizon. As most of us already know, Sprint has been actively cutting and reducing its other differentiating factors: it cancelled its popular Premier program, it cut back on discounts for family plans, and it even cancelled unlimited data for tablets and tethering plans.

Still, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse is committed to maintaining unlimited data on smartphones, and he has said several times that he wants to maintain this competitive advantage as long as possible. But data usage continues to increase, and subsidies for Android smartphones and iPhones continue to cost the company money. Additionally, the LTE rollout and Network Vision doesn’t come cheaply. Something’s got to give.

Speaking at an analyst conference today, Hesse said that Sprint will probably be forced to raise plan pricing sometime in the future, although now is not the right time: “We have a competitive disadvantage in terms of LTE footprint … You don’t increase your price when you have a network footprint disadvantage. You want to wait and think of that until you get to that point.”

He went on to say that Sprint has already sold more than a million LTE-enabled phones, in spite of the small footprint of the LTE network. Additionally, he said that the iPhone is “going to be a really strong selling device … I’m just very glad we have it” – even though it’s costing Sprint a lot of money to carry it.

To emphasize, we’re not saying that Sprint will definitely raise prices, or that it might happen tomorrow. Any price hike will probably happen closer to the end of Network Vision, which is scheduled to be mostly complete by the end of 2013. Only then would Sprint’s network be competitive against Verizon’s or AT&T’s – and that is the only point at which Sprint might effectively raise prices without scaring people away.

But what do you think? If Network Vision turns out to be everything Sprint says it will be, how much more would you be willing to pay?

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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