Sprint Offers Free Service To Students

Sprint is the nation’s third largest mobile carrier and wants to add to its 54M customers and $35.3B revenue from 2012. It currently lags behind AT&T and Verizon in data speed in addition to revenue and customer base.  

In a transparent attempt to gain market share on Verizon and AT&T, Sprint announced high school and college students can get 12 months of service for free. If a high school, vocational, or college student buys a phone at a “student activated price” and signs up for a new line of service under the “Unlimited, My Way” contract plan at Best Buy, the student can get one year of service on the house. This contract includes unlimited talk and text, but only 1GB of data. Students can upgrade to an unlimited data plan for $10 per month.

The offer lasts from November 18th to January 4th and is done under the pretense of benevolence. Sprint describes the promotion as part of its attempts to further education efforts, and acclaims their commitment to schools, students and teachers. This initiative sounds nice, but is likely only going to lead to more texting in classrooms. (Although you can read their spin on it here.) It seems clear that Sprint is working to capture young customers before they choose AT&T or Verizon. I like the business tactic, but Sprint’s marketing department should have held a focus group with some teachers before branding this promotion as educational. I would wager smartphone use in class is in every teacher’s top 5 biggest pet peeves. It certainly was in mine. 

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