Ina Fried

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Sprint Dips Its Toe Into Shared Data Pools

While Verizon and AT&T have shifted their pitch to focus on sharing data plans across multiple devices, Sprint has remained focused on pitching unlimited data plans tied to a single device.

Sprint Hesse

That remains the company’s main pitch, especially for the consumer market. However, the company is testing an offer for small businesses that lets them share a pool of data across up to 30 devices.

Sprint, which announced the plans on Friday, is pitching its shared data plans as a time-limited option through June 13, available only to businesses through certain of Sprint’s channels.

Under the new plans, businesses can share 20 gigabytes of data across up to 10 phones, 40GB on up to 20 devices, or 60GB on up to 30 devices. Customers pay a set fee for the data and the first device, with an additional per-device fee for each phone, hotspot or tablet that is added to the plan.

That’s similar to the way that AT&T and Verizon handle pooled data plans. Both carriers introduced their shared data options last year, and have made them standard fare for new consumers, though AT&T still offers other options.

The move may be a competitive necessity, but erodes the sharp line that Sprint has taken in criticizing shared data plans. The company made the challenges of such plans, albeit in the context of families, a staple of its recent advertising:

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google