I’ve been keeping an eye out for new announcements from the mobile carriers in regards to pricing plans, and this week Sprint announced new pre-paid plans that look very compelling for people who are heavy data and text messaging users. The plans will be part of Sprint’s Virgin Mobile brand and include unlimited messaging, e-mail, data, and web with different talk minutes: 300 minutes for $25, 1200 minutes for $40, and unlimited minutes for $60 per month. The $25 per month plan is the lowest price in the U.S. for unlimited messaging and data.
The downside is that Virgin Mobile has a limited number of phones, and because they only sell pre-paid plans, you pay full price for the phone. The Blackberry Curve 8530, which is the top of the line smartphone from Virgin Mobile, costs $299.99, plus an additional $10 per month on to the pricing plans I describe above. The LG Rumor Touch costs $149.99, the LG Rumor 2 is $89.99, and the Kyocera Loft QWERTY is $69.99.
Sprint also plans to bring a new pay-by-the-minute brand to market this month. Unlike other plans that provide a set number of talk minutes and services for a monthly price, this brand will have a per minute rate for talk time so that you only pay for what you use rather than a fixed monthly price. It does not appear that the new brand will include any services beyond talk, though I wouldn’t be surprised if text messaging was an add-on given that historically carriers have tried to offer per message rate plans.
Earlier in the week Todd wrote about Verizon’s pricing plans for the new Microsoft Kin phones that are frankly too high. The plans that Sprint has announced are much more in line with the type of prices I believe would be critical to Kin’s success. It’s unfortunately that Kin’s, which look like pretty nice phones, are going to be crippled by such heavy pricing. If I were in the market to buy a phone for a teenager, I would give serious consideration to the Virgin Mobile plans.