Heads up, Sprint customers, because it looks you've got a unique new rate plan headed your way. Sprint today announced its new "Framily Plan" that allows customers to gather under a single account in order to save some cash on their monthly bill. Each account can have up to 10 lines, each of which is billed separately, and every line added to the group reduces each user's monthly cost by $5. Each member of a Framily with 7-10 members can save $30 per month.
When it comes to pricing, the base Framily Plan starts at $55 per month and includes unlimited talk and text as well as 1GB of data. Customers interested in a bigger data bucket can sign up for a 3GB monthly allotment for $10 more per month or the unlimited data add-on for an additional $20 per month.
Sprint's Framily Plan will be available starting Friday, Jan. 10. In order to sign up for a Framily Plan, new Sprint customers can either buy a phone at full retail price, purchase a device through the Sprint Easy Pay program and spread the full cost out over 24 months or bring in their own phone.
Existing Sprint customers can also sign up for a Framily Plan, but Sprint notes that current subscribers can't be combined into a Framily unless the accounts are owned by the same person. Additionally, existing customers that are using a discounted phone will need to pay an additional $15 per month until their line is upgrade-eligible. Sprint does note that, for a limited time, it's waiving that $15 charge for customers that buy a discounted phone before Jan. 10 and are not upgrade-eligible.
Family plans have been a part of the wireless industry for quite a while, but these new Framily plans add a bit of a twist by encouraging users to get their friends onto their account with the temptation of a lower monthly bill. Of course, there is the catch that customers in a Framily won't be able to get subsidized pricing on a new device, but a large enough Framily could help to offset the price of unsubsidized hardware.
Sprint today also made a few announcements regarding its Spark 4G LTE service. First up, the carrier says that Spark is now available in an additional six cities: Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Fort Worth, Texas; Houston, Texas; and San Antonio, Texas. This expansion brings the total number of Spark markets up to 11.
Sprint also revealed today that it will soon launch two more Spark-capable devices. The curved LG G Flex will be the next smartphone to support the Spark LTE network, and Sprint will also launch a fixed wireless router known as the Netgear LTE Gateway 6100D. Launch and pricing details for both devices are coming soon.
Finally, Sprint says that its Spark LTE service will soon make the jump to prepaid. Virgin Mobile will begin selling the Netgear Mingle Mobile Hotspot this quarter under its Broadband2Go service, which include plans that start at daily access or $5, 1.5GB monthly access for $25 or 6GB per month for $55. The Netgear Mingle features 3G/4G LTE connectivity, a 1.77-inch LCD screen, 1800mAh battery and support for up to 10 wireless connections.