Sprint's 'Framily' plan: Great in theory, questionable in practice

Sprint's 'Framily' plan: Great in theory, questionable in practice

Summary: Digital sharing plans probably makes more sense for multimedia content (i.e. Netflix, Hulu) than it does for mobile data.


2014 is already shaping up to be the year when the nation's top wireless providers are proving their willingness to experiment with contracts.

Following AT&T's announcement on Monday that it would be enabling businesses to sponsor data for its customers, Sprint is touting it can ease data costs as well, but on a less corporate level.

The gimmick is the new "Framily" plan, essentially a version of family plans that can be adapted to groups of friends.

Available to new and existing customers, Sprint's Framily plan can support up to 10 phone lines at once.

The first new line of service starts at $55 per month (not including taxes and surcharges) per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data. The cost goes down per person by $5 with each additional line, capped at maximum monthly discount of $30 per line.

If a "Framily" can get at least seven people together, then everyone gets unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for $25 per month per line. For another $20 per month per line, Framily plan members can also upgrade to unlimited data with the opportunity to get a new phone every year.

Things are a little trickier for existing Sprint customers.

Existing Sprint customers currently on a plan with a subsidized phone will need to pay an additional $15 per month until the contract runs out -- or at least until the line is eligible for an upgrade. However, Sprint is promising to waive that fee for current customers who purchased a discounted phone before this Friday, January 10, when the whole thing launches -- if they are not already upgrade eligible.

While I'm not a huge fan of the name, the Framily plan seems like a great idea -- at least in theory. In fact, the idea of being able to share data costs (much like other utilities within the same household) among friends just comes across as one of those ideas that seem natural in hindsight.

The problem, which admittedly remains to be seen until put into practice, is that sharing mobile data isn't quite the same as sharing other household bills -- even home Internet service plans in which the data usage is virtually unlimited.

Digital sharing plans among friends actually make more sense for the content running on that data, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, often now fees that are already been split up among friends whether these service providers condone that activity or not.

Also, sharing a contract with friends could end up being risky if something goes awry in the relationship, for whatever reason. That might not matter so much for people who have already agreed to sign leases together (or maybe it will just compound things, who knows?), but it might become awkward in the case of colleagues who don't work together anymore under less-than-friendly circumstances anymore -- even if Framily plan members are billed separately.

Again, all this remains to be seen in practice and once contracts are signed, there is no involvement required among the Framily whatsoever. At least Sprint, as well as other wireless providers, are finally demonstrating some flexibility in how customers can sign up. If only cable companies would follow suit.

Image via Sprint

Topics: Mobility, 4G, Networking, Smartphones, CES

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  • 'Framily'? Could they not have chosen a better name?

    The plan actually seems like it might suit the needs of many looking to get a better rate. One hang up that I haven't quite sorted out is the billing as they have said that each member can get their own bills which is great. The question is: Does each individual bill reflect the maximum discount of $25 or does one person say $55 and another display display the $25..etc? As for the name, this has to be one of the poorest choices in cell phone plan names in history. I see the obvious combination of Friends+Family=Framily but man does it sound bad and even so far as racist toward Asians. I'm sure this wasn't their intention but surely someone had to have seen a South Park episode in the company right?
    • A Framily by any other name would be as sweet

      @Racerx1 -- To answer your question: EVERYBODY gets the discounted price. So if 7 people are on your Framily plan, everybody pays $25/mo. That's what makes this so sweet, because it doesn't matter whether you're #1 or #7.

      Now, to respond to the article... Yeah, so maybe you have a falling out with a friend and they leave your Framily plan. So you grab another friend, add him/her onto your Framily ID, and you're good to go! And your ex-friend can join somebody else's Framily, too.
  • data is not shared

    I believe you have misunderstood the plan. The $20 per month extra for the unlimited data is per person that wants unlimited, it is not a pool of shared data. For example if you have 10 people.. each pay their $25 per line for unlimited text and talk and 1GB of data each. If 1 or 2 of those people want unlimited data, then they each pay an extra $20 per month for that privilege. so the total cost for these 10 people would be $290 plus taxes and surcharges. Also each member gets their own bill so it isn't like any other kind of family plan sprint has offered before or anyone else I don't believe.
  • Finding Framily Codes

    If you're looking for 'Framily' Codes. Look no further. Visit http://www.framilypran.com to share and find codes.
  • heres my id for and extra $10 off

    hi. i switched my sprint billing to this new thing called "framily" its like friends and family, but its totally separate billing. so for everybody that joins sprint with my id the bill for EACH LINE goes down by $5 (all the way down to $25 each) but you and I have our own plan and billing. I already have two lines on my plan so thats an instant $10 off a line. if you want to switch carriers and use my id code for free, check it out. THANKS! we will never share billing, i have my bill, you have your bill. You get unlimited data for $20 more. you can take my framily ID into a store M00103869lh or call customer service.
    Stephen Cameron
  • Heres my ID..Lets save some cash!

    Up to 10 friends, family and others. $25/mo. per line with just 7 people! Unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data each while on the Sprint network. Get a used Sprint device on eBay/Craigslist and go!
    Separate bills.
    No annual service contracts. No early termination fees.
    We will never share billing, I have my bill, you have your bill. You can get unlimited data for $20 more. You can take my framily ID into a store e00293832Oo or call customer service. You have to enter it exactly so its small e 00293832 big O and small o
  • Hate the name, but not as much as I love saving money!!

    I switched to the new "Framily" plan solely because of the math. I have 2 heavy data users on my account, we text more than talk, but data was the big closer... With unlimited talk+unlimited text+unlimited data my recurring charge will be less than $75 per month! My previous "Family" plan was $90 line#1 (1500min+unl.txt)+$20 line#1 (unl data)+$15 per add'l line(shared talk)+$10 per add'l line (unl.txt)+$20 per add'l line (unl.data)... monthly bill=$160 for 2 phones (plus taxes and fees and such) and is now $145 MAX for 2 phones, lower as I add "Framily" members AND we get ANNUAL FREE UPGRADES and NO ETF!! So if some other provider decides to get their price point in line I can walk away from Sprint with no post-breakup-awkward-moments.
    That being said...if anyone needs a Framily ID so you, too may reap the rewards of no-more-surprising-bills-or-cellphone-anniversary-disappointments my ID is":
    V00258569vp (capital V+zero+zero+258569+lower case v+lower case p)
    And, YES THIS CAN BE USED BY CURRENT SPRINT CUSTOMERS, as long as you are switching your current plan to the Framily plan.
    And, Sprint DOES NOT CHARGE A $15/mo ETF fee for switching prior to your end-of-contract, as long as you haven't upgraded since January 10th, 2014. My contract was not ending until September 2014, I wasn't eligible for a device upgrade until May 2014.
    • $15/mo early termination fee

      I was told that anyone who is currently under contract has to pay the addtl 15.00 per month until that contract ends. hmk10974 states you do not. Which is true? I am considering joining the plan, but want to make sure I know the ins and outs first.
  • Join Framily Plan - m00133313VU

    10 Year Customer with 3 Lines Already - Instant Savings!!!

    Please keep in mind the Framily ID is case sensitive. Hope this helps you enjoy sprint and save money !!!!
  • Spaces available in our Framily group

    Sprint Framily plan groups are filling up fast! There's still room in mine. If you're looking to join Sprint as a new customer, take my Framily ID#L00259377Ya to your local Sprint store and sign up to join our Framily group. You will save $10/month immediately and more as others join our group. Instant savings!
    • Space left?

      Hi - I'm a current sprint customer (long-time!) with 3 lines. Let me know please if anyone has a framily ID we can join.

      I went into the Sprint store today and they said if you sign up for the Framily plan by 3/16 you get a free tablet - you just have to pay $15/month for 1GB of data for it.

  • Discount is applied within 2 invoices.

    Discount is applied within 2 invoices. what does this mean? I saw this on their information page.
  • Ins and Outs of Joining the Sprint Framily Plan

    Hey guys, hope the information I am about to share clarifies some issues in regards to joining a framily plan to prospective framily plan members.

    Sprint framily plans are simple in billing structure. 1 person pays 55 bucks. adding a person gives every line on the account a 5 dollar discount. 2 people = 50/line, 3 people = 45/line until you reach the max number of lines eligible for a discount which is 7. 7 lines = 25/line... After 7 lines you will no longer get a 5 dollar discount.

    Kiss your subsidized phone out the window with the framily plan...
    If you join a framily plan you will no longer be able to upgrade a phone a discounted prices.... no more 100 dollar iphone 4/4s/5/5s/6 :(

    If you are a new sprint customer you will have the option of either bringing in your own compatible sprint phone or buying one at sprint through their ez pay plan meaning they will charge you the entire price of the phone which you will then have to pay monthly installments of for 24 months... Ex. If you're on a framily plan and decide to purchase an Iphone 6 coming out in sept/oct valued at $850, you will have to pay roughly $36/mth for the phone + $25 for your line assuming you have 7 people on the same framily ID. So you would be paying around $60 bucks/mth under these circumstances. Pretty simple huh? But here's where it gets a little confusing:
    If you are a current sprint customer looking to transfer to a framily plan there are two different scenarios. Customers who are under a two year agreement and those who are out of contract obligations.
    Those who are under a two-year agreement who are looking to switch to a framily plan must do so before april 10th to avoid paying the $15/month "Service Fee". If you want to keep your phone upgrade date per your previous 2-year agreement... By upgrade I dont mean discounted phone, I mean just having the ability to use sprints ez pay system to purchase a new phone under the framily plan. But this is contingent upon the fact that you must have upgraded your current phone before january 10th. Any phone upgraded afterwards will be subject to the 15/month service fee.
    If you are not under contract then you can either purchase a phone through sprint ez pay or bring in your own phone purchased through craigslist or whatever the case may be.
  • It's a GIMMICK

    No. You will NOT EVER save money with Framily. Do the hard math.

    First, you lose unlimited data. If you want it back, you have to pay an additional $20/month now.

    Second, once you enroll in Framily, you can never buy a discounted phone. Meaning, you'll now start paying $600 for a phone, rather then $100. They try to soften the blow by breaking the the $600 up into $30/month payments for 2 years. They call this "easy pay" to be deceptive.

    Take your $25 plan, $20 for unlimited, $30 for a phone. That's $75/month/line. For a family of 4, that's $300. Average family of 4 on Sprint pays less then $300 now.

    Framily + Easy Pay = sucks for any Sprint customer.
    • sprint framily. options

      if you choose the $20 for unlimited data option, free phone upgrades are included, so I question your math. In addition, they are waiving the $15/mo for those who switch to framily from contract and recently had an upgrade/free phone. A friend who just switched to framily is currently paying over $200/mo (2 lines), now will be paying $65 a mo under the framily plan. They both have smart phones, use internet, email, maps but dont do youtube/video on the phone. The included 1gb is plenty for them (they use about 0.3 gb a mo currently). I am joining their group and will be saving almost $100 mo over existing straight talk and at&t (3 lines). I think almost anyone (and everyone I've talked to) can save big time over their current plans. Even for those that like the free phone/contract model it still should be practically a no brainer. I have nothing to loose by switching, will not be on contract and can switch to another provided at any time if I choose. those that want to really save money can save a ton by looking at data usage and staying on the 1gb included plan (my daughter in college, uses an iphone for everything and uses maybe 0.5gb/mo). $25 for unlimited talk+text +1gb, Awesome!
  • Framily Plan

    I need some more people for my framily plan! My code is d00988423EV (case sensitive), and my last four of my phone number is 0838. I currently have 2 people on the account and would love to get some more so we can ALL save money!
    • What big happy family

      I just tried joining your family with Sprint but without a telephone number they can't do it!help
  • FramilyMeeting

    FramilyMeeting.com to share Framily IDs for collective savings.
  • Sprint No

    We have 8 open slots on our Framily Plan if anyone wants the discount just enter these numbers.....o01059655cu.
  • Join my Framily Plan

    I've been with Sprint going on 3 years now. So we are solid. #Y00225779wc, the last 4 digits are 1914