By Stephen Schenck | January 8, 2014 8:49 AM
Our focus with CES coverage so far has mainly been on the hardware we’ve seen, but that’s only one segment of the news that’s been pouring in. We’ve also been hearing a lot from the carriers about new deals; first there was AT&T late last week and its offer to pay users as much as $450 to switch over; that was followed by a leak of a similar offer from T-Mobile today (with expectations that it will go official at the carrier’s press event in a few hours). However, it’s not ETFs that Sprint has on its mind with its own new announcement, revealing an interesting (if not oddly named) “Framily” plan.
Framily is supposed to be a portmanteau of “friends” and “family,” with the intent on bringing some family-plan-like savings to groups of acquaintances. How it works, though, isn’t quite the same. Let’s take a look:
Basically, Framily plans offer users larger and larger savings based on how many of them join together in one group. But first, the big restriction: this isn’t for subsidized devices, so you’ll need to pay full retail prices to get started.
Then, you’re looking at a base rate of $55 a month for unlimited talk, text, and 1GB data. That’s if it’s just you alone; for each additional friend that joins your group, the price per-user drops $5, with a maximum discount of $30. So, three friends would pay $45 a month each (a $10 savings), or a group of seven would pay the minimum $25 a head. And unlike a regular family plan, you’re not all pooling your money – everyone on a Framily plan pays their own individual bills.
Need more data? For an extra $20 a month, Sprint will upgrade user to unlimited data – and individual members of your group can upgrade on their own, while others stay at 1GB. As an added bonus, those paying this extra fee also qualify for yearly device upgrades – effectively bringing back the subsidy.
It’s innovative, we’ll give it that, but it remains to be seen how much interest Framily plans will generate – we imagine it might be kind of difficult to convince a bunch of friends to drop their providers and buy unsubsidized Sprint phones, but time will tell.