Sprint is introducing two new pricing plans for its cell service, including an Unlimited Plus plan that will come bundled with a subscription to Tidal’s music streaming service, Billboard has learned. The new plans are expected to be rolled out later this week.
The new Tidal-bundled plan will also include Hulu access, a 15GB mobile hotspot, global roaming and unlimited talk, text and data within the United States. It’s set to cost $22 per month per line for up to five lines with a new or existing phone, and $42 per month per line for a leased phone. A second, “basic” plan that omits Tidal will also be an option for Sprint customers, with five lines for leased phones costing $32 per month per line.
Telecom bundles with music streaming services such as this are relatively common in Europe, where companies like Deezer have partnered with cell providers to include free music streaming in monthly data plans. But they’re rare in the United States, despite their successes overseas and in other types of bundles, like Spotify’s subscription packages with Hulu and the New York Times, or Amazon’s inclusion of Amazon Music Unlimited in its Amazon Prime subscription, for instance. Sources tell Billboard that the telecom bundle involved a different type of negotiation with the major record labels than those other types of bundles, with the labels looking to promote more competition in the subscription streaming space as Spotify and Apple Music continue to dominate the market.
In this case, a closer relationship between Sprint’s telecom plans and Tidal’s streaming service — currently priced at $9.99/month, or $19.99/month for hi-fi audio — represents a culmination of the relationship between the two companies. In January 2017, Sprint purchased a 33 percent stake in Tidal for what sources told Billboard at the time amounted to $200 million, which gave Sprint’s 45 million retail customers access to a free six month trial of Tidal before customers had to pay for the service. Now, with this new bundle, access to Tidal is built in to Sprint’s plan.
The new plans will also come with a large, “robust, long-term” marketing campaign that will include a series of events and takeovers at Sprint stores in over a dozen markets across the country, according to a source close to the situation. They’ll include ticket giveaways, live events and podcasts and artists on site, with Sprint leveraging Tidal’s reputation and relationships to help sell the plans.