Sprint adds 6 new Spark markets, introduces “Framily” plan that gets cheaper with more people

Sprint has announced that they’ve lit up 6 new markets with Sprint Spark upgrades, which brings their 4G LTE on new wireless spectrum that offers better building penetration and improved speeds. The six markets you can find new speeds in are Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, Texas, as well as Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That brings us up to 11 markets with speeds up to 60 megabits per second.

Sprint-Logo

While Sprint’s roster of Spark-enabled devices is thin right now, you can expect the carrier to outfit most of their future smartphones with the radios. We already know that a Spark-equipped LG G Flex is coming, and Sprint also announced plans to relaunch the Samsung Galaxy S4 with Sprint Spark inside. In addition to those phones, there are a number of mobile hotspot and USB modem devices with the functionality already.

With that, Sprint also introduced a new “framily” plan. Nope, not a typo. The “Framily” plan will give you the ability to get a cheaper bill as you add more people. Folks will start out at $55 alone, but the plan gets $5 cheaper for each member that signs up (though you’ll be capped at $30 in savings at some point). Each line is billed individually, and each line has its own set of data plans and services.

For one line of service, new Sprint customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data. For each additional new Sprint customer that joins the Framily group, the cost per person goes down $5 a month up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line. Build a group of at least seven people and everyone gets unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for $25 per month per line (pricing excludes taxes and surcharges).

All members of the group can customize their plan to meet their unique needs. For only $20 per month per line, Framily members can buy up to unlimited data plus get a new phone every year. Plan members can share the savings, without the hassle of sharing a bill. Each account can be billed separately. Unlimited features are while on the Sprint network.

For an example, Sprint says someone on a 7-line framily plan can pay as little as $25 per month for unlimited talk, texts and 1GB of data. Comparable plans on T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon cost $50, $70 and $90, respectively.

Those savings are pretty steep, though it’ll be tough for a lot of people to find that many folks to share a plan with and get maximum savings. With T-Mobile forcing the competition to step up and provide people with the services they want for the prices they want, we should see more carriers make moves like this in the future.

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  • Tomáš Petrík

    I am still wondering why the plans are that many times more expensive in the US than here in Europe.

    • Jiro K

      because they desperately need the money

    • UMA_Fan

      Well to be fair a nationwide network in the US has to cover a lot more territory than a a country in Europe. That’s a lot of towers and infrastructure and marketing etc. Many European countries would be equivalent in size to some states in the US. If US consumers could chose a carrier that specialized covering only a single state then I would imagine pricing would be cheaper

      • Tomáš Petrík

        I get your point, but with larger territory they should have equally more users, i.e. bigger income.
        Secondly, what good does it do to a person in Florida that the carrier has coverage in Oregon? From the carrier’s point of view, sure, somebody has to cover the costs. But it can’t really be used as marketing, that they have coverage somewhere across the whole country from where you are.

        • steveb944

          Larger territory!=more money as the networks that have been around for a while and have their networks already built limit the possibility of profit for the new kids on the block.
          The marketing here is engraved into our brains that it matters that we get coverage where we are AND the middle of nowhere USA that no one cares about other than that deep pocket carrier that can afford coverage there.

          In my case, I prefer the low pricing of T-Mobile and having coverage in areas that matter to me.

          • Tomáš Petrík

            I see.

    • Robb Nunya

      Most of Europe is still 3G, if I’m not mistaken. That’s part of it. Another part is that until very recently, all phone carriers subsidized the phones they sold. So instead of paying $599 for a phone, we’d pay $200, and the overage would be rolled in to the plan, making the monthly rates higher. I’m sure there are other reasons, but those come to mind readily.

      • Tomáš Petrík

        But I guess the US prices did not suddenly go up with the rise of 4G. So even in the age of 3G both in Europe and in the US, it was much more expensive in the US.
        And, we have subsidized phones too. Many of them for €1, the top models for approx. €100, depending on what plan you subscribe to. But even with that, you generally pay between €10 and €30 per month.

  • drzfr3shboialex

    So what T-mobile has been doing?

    • Josh Dukes

      T-mobile will have their conference/announcements at CES tomorrow. That is why you are seeing all the other providers rushing to make their announcements yesterday and today.

      • Jerel Butler

        All except Verizon I don’t think they care

    • ChristianMcC

      Building an LTE network that’s accessible by most of America. Oh and giving us unlimited everything for $42 with 5 lines(4g, not just throttled; $32 if you need only 2.5GB for every lineline, and $22 if you can get by with half a gig[my sis still hits 1.5 gigs with throttling, lol]).

  • g3treal

    Has anyone actually used or tested Spark yet? I really wonder if the coverage is that much better or worth switching to for anyone. Or is it just the same coverage with little bit of speed increase…

    • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

      The coverage of Spark is supposed to mirror that of the WiMax coverage since it is based on Clearwire coverage. They may bump the coverage up with microcell towers in some areas as well. Spark is mainly higher speeds, roughly 50-60Mbps down.

      Personally, I was in Atlanta the last weekend of 2013 at the Falcons game and enabled all three bands on my Nexus 5. Unfortunately I never landed on the Sprint Spark or old Nextel bands.

  • SofaKingWeToddid

    Hey that’s AWESOME! Now friends and family that AREN’T on Sprint can join in the misery because their network is unable to handle the traffic it has now…nice move Sprint. Now sit the eff down and move over.

  • ScottColbert

    oooh, a whole gig data?

    • No_Nickname90

      With Sprint speeds, that’ll last an entire month.

      • ScottColbert

        With luck, their new Spark will catch them up to the 3G speeds of the others. :P

      • Roaduardo

        Boom! But really though Sprint’s LTE is so spotty and random. I was passing through Nixon, Texas… NIXON! and I clocked about 15mbps on my speed app. WTF?

        • Robb Nunya

          OK… I’ve lived in Texas my entire life and have never heard of Nixon. (Don’t worry… I’ll Google it)

          Edit: I Googled it… Nope… still never heard of it! LoL! That’s some out in the middle of nowhere LTE service!

          • Roaduardo

            I know right? My buddy and I were like, “WTF Nixon?”. We drive to Victoria to pick up his kids for visits and we pass through Nixon each time. Sprint’s coverage on the way there from San Antonio is pretty decent considering the route. We’re able to watch Netflix for most of the trip.

  • Charles Sweeney

    So I wonder how many people are falling for the smoke and mirror show that is Spark and are, at the moment, not thinking about their slower than hell LTE buildout? Sort of remind me when Comcast made up Xfinity to compete with Big Red….lol.

    • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

      You do realize that Sprint isn’t just rolling out LTE, but they are completely revamping each and every cell site they’re in from top to bottom, right? They aren’t just installing LTE and flipping a switch, they are also enhancing backhaul, laying new cabling, and reducing their footprint inside an each individual cell site.

      This whole “Sprint is slow at rolling out LTE” is sheer ignorance based on the fact that fools who say it don’t actually research anything before they start typing. These same fools regurgitate the same ignorance that they see others post elsewhere and decide that it sounds good enough to say it themselves elsewhere.

      • No_Nickname90

        Then Vanakatherock looked up the technology behind LTE Spark and seen that Sprint hasn’t learned their lesson from WiMax.

        • Charles Sweeney

          Oh man my comment to vancock got deleted by the sensitive @$$ moderator.

          • No_Nickname90

            LoL!!

          • No_Nickname90
          • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

            Thanks for proving your ignorance. Every deadline I’ve seen Sprint announce, they hit it. You live in a rathole and don’t get service and you cry like a little baby. WAAH WAAH WAAH.

          • Martin

            Is Seattle a rathole? Sprint’s almost 2 years deep telling customers that the buildout will be complete in 3 months.

          • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock
          • Martin

            Nope, because they haven’t rolled out network vision here, so any triband device will only connect with EVDO. Look at Sprint’s own data map for confirmation.

          • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

            Network Vision is 3G + the ORIGINAL LTE. Sprint Spark is separate from Network Vision.

          • Martin
          • Guest

            I’ve seen the stories about “crippled LTE” in Triband phones. I have a Triband Nexus 5 and use it on Sprint. LTE works fine when I’m in the coverage area. Seems to get better signal than my GS4 did.

            This screenshot is of my most recent 4G LTE test (1900 band) on my Nexus 5. Speeds are consistent with the GS4 I had.

          • Martin

            Well, my point is that Seattle is an area that has NO LTE for triband devices, and there are a number of major cities that are in the same boat. Until this is resolved, I think it is more than fair to say that Sprint has blown its 4g rollout.

          • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

            Sorry, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree. There is more to their 4G rollout than all three bands. The 4G LTE rollout is primarily the 1900 band. Seattle has plenty of that, as do a lot of other cities and Sprint keeps announcing them. Once they rollout the 1900 band in a region, then they start working on the 800 and 2500 bands when the crews and hardware is available.

            I would actually say that their 4G LTE Rollout is a big success considering I have more and better coverage in areas I didn’t have within the last two years. My home now used to get 1 bar of 3G. LTE rollout brought me 3 bars of LTE.

            Oh, and there is no current “Spark” LTE in the Atlanta area and I don’t consider that a failure. I have LTE and I’m happy. To each their own.

          • Martin

            All their new phones are triband phones. No triband phones can connect to LTE here. How big are your blinders that you don’t see that as a problem?

          • Martin

            Just to be clear, I’m not complaining about the lack of Spark here, I’m complaining that they didn’t have the equipment in place to support the flagship phones they are selling, resulting in there being no LTE for any of their new phones.

          • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

            You clearly missed where I told you my TRIBAND Nexus 5 connects to LTE everywhere I go. This notion that Sprint Triband phones can’t connect to LTE is bogus.

          • Martin

            Read the article I posted or the discussion on s4gru. I also have a Nexus5, and because CSFB and eCSFB aren’t implemented here, it will not get LTE.

          • squiddy20

            Yeah…. This list would beg to differ: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/212-network-visionlte-deployment-running-list/ Notice especially the first round markets, you know, the ones that were started late 2011 and early 2012? Not one of them are 100% complete in Network Vision or LTE (though admittedly Network Vision is 99.8% done in Chicago), and they were by-and-large all scheduled to be completed no later than July 2013, mostly earlier.
            Oh, and if I recall correctly, Sprint would announce a market as “complete” for the press release when it had over 50%. I don’t know about you, but 50% is a long way off from “complete” in my book. And I’m a Sprint customer.

        • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

          Apparently YOU haven’t looked up the technology behind LTE Spark. TD-LTE is completely different than WiMax. The ONLY comparison is the frequency. You’re just as ignorant as the moron Charles Sweeney.

      • Charles Sweeney

        Well do you realize that dumb@$$es that spit excuses for a fledgling network are even more ignorant? My comments are based on my own personal real word experience with the Now Network and it’s bumbling rollout of LTE in my area. That along with the announcement of the date that LTE would be available in my area that has come and gone and no LTE or follow up. That date was a year ago. For some, Sprint can do no wrong and for others, myself included, Sprint is dropping the ball.

  • CerealFTW

    this will go great with Sony’s “Brack Friday Bunduru”!!!

  • moises1204

    all this thanks to tmobile.

  • Scotsman of Loch Ness

    Max 1gb. Nothing there about overages I’d you exceed the 1gb cap.

  • BoneCrusher

    Having Sprint is like having a girlfriend without a v@gina.

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