Sprint acknowledged that the temporary promotion is one of the carrier’s strategies to regain its position as the top prepaid phone service in the United States. As of this writing, Sprint lost 427,000 prepaid customers during Q3 2016 while T-Mobile retained its top position in the prepaid world. As such, the struggling carrier is keen to win back those customers with different business models, something that Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure confirmed during a recent investors conference.
“You’re going to see us test different models. One model we’re testing that we like is a potential — rather than subsidizing handsets, actually providing free airtime with no subsidy on the handset,” said Claure. “So you’re going to see Virgin be our disruptor brand. And you’re going to see Boost be a very strong brand that can give good competition to both Cricket and [MetroPCS].”
Based on Claure’s wording, it sounds as if Virgin Mobile will be Sprint’s testbed for different pricing models, though Boost Mobile — Sprint’s other prepaid service — is not out of the question.
As for the promotion, it is only available through select Best Buy stores and if you buy the X Power. Furthermore, the five months of free service uses Virgin Mobile’s $35 plan, which includes unlimited talk and text and 5GB of 4G LTE data. Data speeds are knocked down to 2G once the allotment is spent, though it is unknown for how long the promotion will go for or whether it will expand to include other phones.
Regardless, the report also cites Sprint’s Virgin Mobile relaunch, which is scheduled for sometime during 2017.