Sprints Half-Price Offer a Zig to T-Mobiles Zag

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With its latest promotion, Sprint might be trying to steal customers from Verizon and AT&T – but its real target is T-Mobile, says one industry insider.

T-Mobile has gained a tremendous amount of traction with its “uncarrier” strategy – doing away with two-year contracts and device subsidies. As a result, America’s fourth-largest wireless provider has made gains on Sprint – the No. 3 – which has been losing hundreds of thousands of customers every quarter over the past couple of years. In some of those quarters, T-Mobile has even outgained larger rivals AT&T and Verizon.

Sprint’s promo, kicking off today, offers AT&T and Verizon customers a half-price data plan if they switch to Sprint. It includes unlimited talk and text to anywhere in the U.S. Sprint also covers an early-termination fees. Customers will have to buy a new device through Sprint if they want to get the offer, which is not available to T-Mobile customers.

Rich Karpinski, principal analyst with 451 Research, says that fending off T-Mobile appears to be Sprint’s initial goal, noting that sticking with two-year contracts – only offering them on the cheap – could wind up working as a good counter to the Magenta Network’s no-contract philosophy.

“Sprint continues to throw ideas at the wall, hoping to find something not only that sticks but makes a difference,” noted Karpinski, commenting specifically on an eWeek article. “Its focus on value-based family plans, including aggressive promo pricing and layering services on top of these now shared data offerings, looks to have some traction. It in particular makes sense as a zig to T-Mobile’s uncarrier zag.”

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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