The days of aggressive bargains from your wireless carrier may be over.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said at an investor event that the company will hike prices in the next quarter. Claure didn’t specify which plans would see an increase, and a spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
It’s the latest move by the carriers as the industry has settled down from the past year of robust promotions, which saw lower prices and more freebies, like Netflix or HBO service. For consumers, this means it’s going to get harder to search for deals from the carriers, or you’ll have to look at prepaid players like Cricket Wireless or Virgin Mobile or wireless resellers like Straight Talk for cheaper plans.
Claure, speaking in public for the first time since, said there weren’t many promotions around the iPhone X this year because the inventory is low, and it didn’t make sense to offer discounts when the phone is sold out. Last year saw aggressive discounts, including the ability to trade in an old iPhone for a base model for free. Some of the carriers are offering $300 if you trade in your old phone.
Still, Claure said he expects the fourth quarter to be a strong one as the iPhone X drives demand.
Claure touched on the discussion with T-Mobile, confirming that the deal died because Sprint parent Softbank and its CEO, Masayoshi Son, didn’t want to give up control. The proposed merger would have put T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom and the T-Mobile management team in charge of the combined carrier.
With Sprint focused on running as an independent entity again, Claure said, the priority is to upgrade the network and put to use Sprint’s wealth of spectrum assets. Son previously said the company would spend between $5 billion and $6 billion a year over the next few years to upgrade its network. Claure added that he believed that was a low estimate, and that he’d pour even more money into the network to accelerate the deployment.