NEW YORK (TheStreet) --When Sprint's (S) - Get Report CEO Marcelo Claure swore at T-Mobile USA's (TMUS) - Get Report CEO John Legere on Twitter (TWTR) - Get Report Wednesday night, complaining about its competitor's payment schemes, Claure might have tried an alternative method to remind investors of a new pricing plan announced two days ago that could drive Sprint's value proposition ahead of the other big four carriers.
Whatever Claure's reasons for swearing publicly to a fellow CEO, Sprint revealed a new payment plan on Monday that could give it the pricing edge over rivals T-Mobile, AT&T (T) - Get Report and Verizon (VZ) - Get Report, said Michael Gikas, senior editor of Electronic Content Development at Consumer Reports. "The All-in payment plan is the cause of this. I've crunched the numbers, and Sprint comes out ahead."
The marketplace among wireless carriers has become one with little differentiation, according to Gikas. As mobile phones improve, the devices become "generic" with no dramatic differences between them. Batteries last longer, screens are larger and all the carriers service all types of phones. Consumers for the most part lack a reason to change phones and move to another carrier.
Pricing has become the telecom carriers' battleground and the winners in that category are small carriers, Gikas continued, like Republic Wireless, Ting and Consumer Cellular, continued Gikas.
Although Sprint and T-Mobile are among the biggest US-based telecoms, they're still "laggards" behind Verizon and AT&T, "fighting over trivial things for third place."
Sprint's All-In payment plan costs $80 per month for a device with unlimited talk, text and data that could beat T-Mobile's phones in pricing depending on number of services, number of phones and access fees, Gikas said.
"With Sprint All-In Wireless, we are making it easy for the customer to see how much their device and unlimited plan will cost -- $80 for both," said Kristin Wallace, a spokesperson for Sprint. "With T-Mobile, on the other hand, it's one price for iPhone and a different price for Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - more confusion."
A spokesperson for T-Mobile declined comment.
Kirk Parsons, senior director for telecom, media and technology services at J.D. Power disagreed with Gikas' assessment of the wireless carrier playing field. T-Mobile is ranked higher in every category of the research firm's consumer satisfaction categories. T-Mobile's network services are superior as Sprint upgrades its network, said Parsons. And T-Mobile's ustomers are serviced more quickly and efficiently when they buy phones and have technical problems.
On Twitter, opinion on whether T-Mobile or Sprint provided superior services to consumers were mixed.