Sprint Offers Year of Free Service in a Bid for Converts

In a bold — some would say reckless — attempt to regain ground against competitors, Sprint makes a play for DirectTV customers.

The wireless carrier price war is heating up, offering enticing savings opportunities for consumers.

Sprint, which recently lost its ranking as the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier to T-Mobile, is now offering a free year of cellphone service to DirecTV customers who switch to Sprint.

If you’re already a Sprint customer, you can take advantage of the offer by adding a line to your existing plan.

This is a bold move by Sprint to take aim at AT&T, which recently completed a $48.5 billion takeover of DirecTV. AT&T has since pushed a DirecTV and wireless service bundle package that it claims can save consumers up to $600 in its first year.

“DirecTV customers love their TV service – but they shouldn’t have to settle for AT&T wireless,” said Kevin Crull, Sprint’s chief marketing officer. “Why not build the perfect bundle by combining with Sprint wireless? We’re winning awards across the country because our network has never been stronger, faster or more reliable, and our customers have never been more satisfied.”

Sprint’s free year of service includes unlimited talk, text and 2 gigabytes of data per month. But if you read the fine print, the deal isn’t entirely free. You’ll be charged a $36 activation fee, taxes and surcharges. A similar plan with Sprint now costs about $60 a month plus the cost of a phone.

After the free 12 months is up, Sprint will start charging $50 a month for their service.

Sprint’s offer is only good from Aug. 28 through Sept. 30. Click here for more information or to sign up.

According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T is not impressed with Sprint’s move, calling it the act of a weakened competitor.

“This ranks right up there with a desperate Hail Mary pass to a petite defensive lineman,” said Brad Burns, an AT&T spokesman. “With Sprint’s network and the many asterisks on this deal, we’re feeling good about our offers.”

Senior analyst Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson, an investment research company, said Sprint’s new deal isn’t a smart move for the company.

“The word ‘crazy’ comes to mind,” Moffett said. “They get a tip of the hat for making a marketing splash, but it is reckless for a company that is burning through its remaining liquidity at such a rapid rate to now start giving away service for free.”

The WSJ noted that Sprint has been losing customers for several years and hasn’t posted an annual profit since 2006.

Sprint also recently announced it was ditching two-year contracts, which were once the standard for U.S. wireless carriers. Verizon and T-Mobile also abandoned them, leaving AT&T as the sole U.S. carrier to offer two-year contracts.

What do you think of Sprint’s free cellphone service offer? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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