After recently promising big price cuts, Sprint (NYSE:S) has launched Family Share Packs, a pricing scheme that bears a strong resemblance to AT&T and Verizon's subsidy-free shared data plans. Unlike regular Framily plans, there's no drop in per-line charges upon adding new members.
Sprint argues its pricing sharply undercuts rivals. For example, a family sharing 20GB between four lines would pay $160/month, less than the $210/month charged by AT&T and Verizon for similar plans, and the $180/month charged by T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) for a plan featuring 5GB/line for four lines.
However, Sprint fails to undercut T-Mobile among families requiring less data. With Sprint charging an extra $10/month per line to those buying a bucket smaller than 20GB, an 8GB bucket costs $170/month to a family of four, and a 4GB bucket $140/month. By contrast, a $140/month T-Mobile plan provides 12GB (3GB/line) to a family of four.
At the same time, Sprint is following T-Mobile's lead in offering aggressive short-term promotions: Until the end of September, the carrier is waiving $15/month access line charges through 2015 for families buying plans with 20GB or larger buckets, and is also throwing in an extra 2GB/line.