Amazing but true — Sprint’s “Framily” ad campaign has done little to stop subscribers from fleeing in droves. The Un-uncarrier last quarter reported losing another 245,000 contract subscribers and now it’s in danger of falling behind T-Mobile to become America’s fourth-largest wireless carrier. And how’s T-Mobile doing? Over the same period this year it added 1.5 million net customers, including a hugely impressive 579,000 branded postpaid subscribers. And as BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk points out, T-Mobile’s wireless service revenue grew by 8.1% last quarter while Sprint’s fell by 6.3%.
So, things are looking pretty awful for Sprint, just as they have for years. Bloomberg is reporting, however, that Sprint may finally be waking up to the realization that ads with talking hamsters aren’t going to win it back the subscribers it’s been losing. In fact, Sprint is even thinking of cutting the rates on its Framily plans even further so it can better compete with T-Mobile, which just put Sprint to shame with a new cheaper family plan of its own earlier this week.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse tells Bloomberg that his company is looking at making the four-person “Framily” plans more competitive to match T-Mobile’s offer. At the moment, a four-person Framily plan offers 4GB of data per month for $160 per month, while T-Mobile’s new four-person plan costs just $100 per month and will offer 10GB of data for the first 16 months before dropping down to 4G of data afterward.
“If you look at where we’ve lost competitive position, there’s more likelihood you’ll see some adjustment there,” Hesse explained. “If you look at family, or what we call Framily group plans, we are more competitive in certain areas than others, and that’s one of the gaps we’re looking to close.”
One problem for Sprint, though, is that it’s simply taking too long to react. It was the last carrier to offer an early upgrade plan and it’s generally been a step or three behind T-Mobile’s assorted “Uncarrier” moves that have caught the rest of the wireless industry off guard. We’ll see if the latest subscriber numbers finally push Sprint to up its game and make the American wireless industry even more competitive.