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Plan comes up short compared to Boost or Virgin

In a strange scenario, Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) has decided to offer its own branded pay-as-you-go service.  Takers on the new plan -- which kicks off Jan. 25 -- will have to pony up $250 USD for a Galaxy S (the "Victory" from Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930)) or $150 USD for an entry level Android, LG Electronics, Inc.'s (KSC:066570) "Elite".  None of the high-end contract handsets can be used with the new plan.

If the hardware/hardware pricing is a bit of a turn-off, the monthly fees won't make you much happier.  It will cost $70 USD/month to get unlimited talk/text/web.  Or if you want you can pay as little as $50 USD to get a feature phone, which comes with a $50 USD/month "unlimited" plan, with the built in limitation of having inherently limited internet capabilities.

Worst of all, there's no mention of roaming on EVDO, so Android Police and others speculate that you may be hit with fees that eat up your account payments, when using the device in areas where the Sprint network is dead or weak.

Sprint Pay-as-You-Go
Sprint's pricing on its self-branding PAYG plan isn't great. [Image Source: Android Police]

The truly curious part is that Sprint is offering up an inferior deal to ... itself.

Sprint's joint-subsidiary Virgin Mobile USA offers the same LG Elite handset for $80 and a $55 USD "unlimited" monthly fee.  In other words, if you go with Sprint's branded service you will lose approximately $430 USD over a 2-year period.  Virgin customers also get for a mere $150 USD, a far fancier EVO V 4G from HTC Corp. (TPE:2498), a modified variant of the EVO 3D.
Sprint PAYG
There's concern the plan may not include 2G roaming. [Image Source: Android Police]

And then there's Boost Mobile, the other prepaid player -- also owned by Sprint.  Boost offers the Samsung Galaxy Rush (another Galaxy S variant) for $149 USD ($100 USD less than Sprint), an LG Venice (aka Optimus L7) for $220 USD, or a Warp Sequent by ZTE Corp. (SHE:000063) for $200 USD.  While throttled after 2.5 GB of data use, Boost also offers "unlimited" for $55 USD/month.

And then there are upstart providers like Republic Wireless who offer even cheaper services albeit with slower connection speeds.  For example Republic sells the Motorola Mobility DEFY XT for $249 USD, but then only charges you $19 USD/month for "unlimited" access, thanks to a hybrid system using 3G roaming and Wi-Fi (when available).

In other words, Sprint's service appears to offer few (perhaps no data caps?) if any advantages at this point over its own prepaid brands, let alone over rival offerings that adopt more unusual service models.

Source: Android Police





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