Sprint Pulls the Plug on Fair & Flexible

In internal documents, sent from sources, Sprint appears to be ready to discontinue their highly-promoted Fair & Flexible plans. The “no huge overage” plans will be discontinued in the middle of next month. Read more for a complete list of changes to Sprint’s plan lineup.

Also, Nextel data and messaging goes cheap.

In Come the Power Packs

Sprint will replace Fair & Flexible next month with Sprint Power Packs. Power Packs, on both Individual and Family plans, are aimed at matching Cingular and Verizon’s current offerings. Currently Fair & Flexible offers significant advantage in overages. However, next month, Sprint’s only comparative advantage will be in Night & Weekend minutes starting at 7 PM instead of 9 PM. Sprint will offer 6 PM calling for $5/month additionally.

Sprint cites internally lack of market competition, as well as poor penetration of Fair & Flexible usage. Sprint justifies the move by saying that very few customers actually went over their minutes (less than 20%) in a given month. In addition, most customers were not significantly impacted by the savings from Fair & Flexible price tiers.

The plans do vary in terms of the exact overage rate (lower the higher the recurring monthly charge), and all plans continue to include free roaming and mobile-to-mobile calling.

Below are the plan price-points, as set by Sprint in internal documents. Power Packs will launch on January 13.

Note: 6 PM calling is $5/month as an add-on on individual plans, down from $10/month on Fair & Flexible.

$39.99: 450 Minutes, $.45/minute Overage
$59.99: 900 Minutes, $.40/minute Overage
$79.99: 1350 Minutes, $.35/minute Overage
$99.99: 2000 Minutes, $.25/minute Overage
$149.99: 4000 Minutes, $.25/minute Overage

Family Plans
Prices include second line. Also, 6 PM Night & Weekend calling is reduced to $10/month on all plans above $59.99.

$59.99: 550 Minutes, $.45/minute Overage
$69.99: 700 Minutes, $.45/minute Overage
$89.99: 1400 Minutes, $.40/minute Overage
$109.99: 2100 Minutes, $.35/minute Overage
$149.99: 3000 Minutes, $.25/minute Overage


Current customers on Fair & Flexible plans will keep their current plan and price tiers. Also, customers on Fair & Flexible shared line plans will continue to be allowed to add additional lines.

As a logistical option, Fair & Flexible plans will remain in the system for a little over two months post-1/13, however, Sprint will be training representatives to not offer these plans to customers. That means that if you want to get a Fair & Flexible plan, you have until January 13 to do so.

Other Changes

The industry has moved to get rid of the $29.99/month price point. From the industry’s perspective, customers interested in $29.99 plans would be better served with prepaid or no-contract postpaid options. Cingular has moved the $29.99 price-point to GoPhone Pick Your Plan, and Verizon has followed suit with their EasyPay option.

Sprint however, lacks a prepaid unit as a part of their direct offering (Virgin Mobile remains their only CDMA prepaid provider that they own). Because of this, Sprint will offer the Sprint Basic 200 plan to both iDEN and CDMA customers. The Basic 200 plan will not be on rate plans and will not be promoted, however any customer can chose the plan.

The Sprint Basic 200 plan is bare-bones. Night & Weekend calling starts at 9 PM, and the overage rate will now be $.45/minute. 6 PM and add-on minute bundles are not compatible with this plan. If you want a Sprint plan at a $29.99 price-point, it is best to do so now.

Alternatively, the Sprint SERO promotion is expected to continue, with savings@sprint.com as a login allowing all (informed) potential customers to have a much better plan.

For other changes, Free incoming Plans on CDMA will trade Ready Link PTT for Mobile to Mobile as a built-in offering, and Hybrid Network phones will have data services cut to $10/month. This is also going to be mirrored on iDEN plans, with the new PowerSource Data Pack.

The PowerSource Data Pack for Nextel will offer unlimited data, web access, and will also bundle 1000 SMS messages for $10/month. In addition, unlimited SMS will be offered as an add-on for $5/month. These data changes do not affect Vision or CDMA plans, they will remain unchanged.