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Sprint Vows to Halve the Bills of AT&T and Verizon Defectors

Customers still have to pay for the full cost of their device or lease one from Sprint, but the carrier will pay early termination fees up to $350.

Sprint will unveil an aggressive new price promotion Tuesday that it claims will halve the bills of customers who defect from AT&T and Verizon in the latest salvo of an increasingly bitter price war.

Under the terms of the deal, which kicks off Friday, a customer can bring a current AT&T or Verizon bill to a Sprint store and store representatives will set up a new plan that is half of the service portion of that bill (the cost of calls, texting and data). In addition to that service cost, though, customers have to buy an unsubsidized device, either up front, through installments or using one of Sprint’s new leasing plans.

Sprint will also pay up to $350 in early termination fees or remaining device-installment payments, though customers must turn in their existing devices.

In many ways, this is Sprint’s boldest move yet, with the company placing few restrictions other than requiring customers to show proof of their current plans.

So, for example, if a Verizon customer is paying $320 for four lines, Sprint is saying that it will charge $160 for a similar calling plan — plus the cost of a new device.

New Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has vowed to make his company the value leader and introduced a number of new offers and promotions in the months since he has taken the helm. He has also announced plans to cut costs and shed jobs in order to allow Sprint to offer the lower rates.

Claure tweeted about the rate plan in vague terms late Monday night.

Notably, the offer does not extend to customers of T-Mobile U.S. Officially, Sprint notes that AT&T and Verizon control about 70 percent of the market, though the decision probably also has to do with the fact that T-Mobile already has pretty low rates of its own.

The new offer does not apply to Sprint’s current customers, though the company has other offers that are available to existing customers. The company is also looking to be more aggressive in retaining existing customers who might be considering a switch.

While the latest pitch could well appeal to AT&T and Verizon customers willing to move to Sprint’s network, it could turn out to be a logistical nightmare for Sprint’s business. In addition to the considerable up-front work needed to determine a customer’s rate, Sprint will be left with customers on a seemingly infinite number of different rate plans.

Training for Sprint’s store workers will begin later on Tuesday, giving the company’s employees just a couple of days to prepare for customers to start showing up with their phones and bills.

Sprint says that while the offer is for a limited time, those who sign up for this promotion can keep that rate for as long as they wish.

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