In a market research note written to subscribers, Wave7 Research says that Sprint apparently has plans to add programming from Hulu in its unlimited plans. Dealers have already been reportedly told to expect this new inclusion, with one subscription for each account and the value is said to be worth $7.99.
Of course, Sprint is hardly the only major US wireless carrier to add a free streaming video subscription service to its plans. As a matter of fact, back in September earlier this year, rival T-Mobile had started providing Netflix, free of charge, to its unlimited subscribers who have signed up for family plans. Specifically, any T-Mobile subscribers with at least a couple of lines of service with unlimited gigabytes of data get to have free access to Netflix. Then last January, the Uncarrier also introduced a new Hulu special offer.
In the case of Sprint, having Hulu included in its unlimited plans could also work in attracting new customers (or keeping existing ones). A basic subscription of Hulu’s service typically fetches for $5.99 each month for the first year (afterwards, the pricing goes up to $7.99 per month), and already delivers a wide range of TV programs, films, and original Hulu content, with limited or even zero ads.
Despite being one of the Big Four carriers in the United States, Sprint has some catching up to do in order to compete with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and the aforementioned T-Mobile. Internally, the mobile operator might be going through some changes, especially after the failure of its merger negotiations with T-Mobile. Marcelo Claure, the chief executive officer of the company, has even hinted that prices may go up during the next quarter.
And then there are some questions related to network capacity -- can Sprint handle the added load brought on by the inclusion of the free Hulu service? A week ago, Claure had revealed that while the carrier’s tactic of utilizing small cell technology in making up for network limitations had been effective to some extent, it did not fully take care of all the deficiencies. Still, the CEO has stated last Thursday that the fourth biggest mobile operator in the country will be looking to increase its network capex starting in 2018, basically confirming similar plans outlined by Masayoshi Son, the chief executive officer of SoftBank, the parent company of Sprint. Despite the fact that Sprint still has to deal with about $38 billion of debt (half of which will become due over the next few years), its cost cutting strategies have been a success, which should help immensely in financing its network investments.
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