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Sprint simplifies cell plans in market grab

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Sprint simplifies cell plans in market grabSprint this afternoon has introduced changes to its cellphone plans it hopes will bolster its network. The US provider says it now has just two basic talk-only plans that offer 450 and 900 minutes of talk time at $40 and $60 respectively. Subscribers can add $10 per month to get unlimited messaging and also get access to a $90 plan at the same level that adds unlimited calling. The existing Everything plans are intact and give unlimited access to all of Sprint's subscription services, including data, navigation, and streaming media for the same amounts of minutes (including unlimited) at $70, $90, and $100 per month.

A similar effect is in place for shared plans that offers a basic 700-minute, two-phone service for $70; 1500 and 3000 minutes are available for $100 and $150 per month each, while the two larger plans can also get unlimited extra features for $130 and $170.

Sprint claims that the plans both end ambiguities over their past plans but also outmatch similar plans from AT&T and Verizon, which cost more at $210 and $220 per month for the same 3000-minute family plan but also strip out features such as BlackBerry mail or Internet radio.

The initiative comes roughly one week ahead of the launch of the Samsung Instinct, which has already been deemed the iPhone 3G's most direct competitor and which should have a similar $200 price and minimum requirement of a $70 monthly phone and data plan.

Sprint officials have previously suggested such a move was forthcoming as part of an effort to turn around mounting subscriber losses in recent quarters, most of which has been attributed to poor customer service as well as an at times complex service plan catalog.

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