In the latest battle of the wireless war, Sprint and T-Mobile are trying to poach each other's customers with tempting bargains.
T-Mobile turned up the heat this week via its prepaid subsidiary, MetroPCS. Starting Thursday, Sprint customers who switch to MetroPCS will get as much as 50 percent off their current Sprint agreements and receive free, low-end smartphones.
The two best things about the offer? The price cut, and the fact that MetroPCS service is delivered over T-Mobile's speedy network. However, MetroPCS customers can't take advantage of T-Mobile goodies such as its Binge On feature, which lets users stream video from a variety of services without affecting their monthly allotment of data. MetroPCS customer service also can't compete with T-Mobile support, according to a survey of thousands of wireless phone subscribers from Consumer Reports.
The dollars and cents of MetroPCS and Sprint offers
The offer is only available for a limited amount of time, though the company has not specified when exactly it will end, and the price will not change as long as new subscribers stay with MetroPCS. Customers with two separate lines who opt for MetroPCS service with 2GB of data each will pay $50 a month. Voice and text services are unlimited. Similar service at Sprint costs $100.
MetroPCS will charge a customer who has only one line and opts for 2GB of data $30 a month, while Sprint charges $55.64.
The free promotional phones are hardly top of the line: Sprint customers who switch their numbers over to MetroPCS can choose between the LG Leon LTE, the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, the Kyocera Hydro WAVE or the LG K7. Rebates of $50 are available if customers want more expensive devices.
MetroPCS, Sprint and the ongoing wireless war
The MetroPCS offer is a direct response to another similar Sprint promo; the carrier will cut new customers' bills by 50 percent when they ditch their current service providers. The MetroPCS press release announcing its latest offer even took a jab at Sprint in its title: "MetroPCS Launches 'The Biggest Offer in Sprint's History.'"
Prepaid carriers such as MetroPCS aren't right for everyone. However, as I wrote recently, it's wise to remember that the four major providers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless) aren't the only options. In fact, the highest-rated carrier in the previously cited Consumer Reports survey was Consumer Cellular, a relatively small outfit that uses both the AT&T and T-Mobile networks.