Along with banning Instinct, and retroactively kicking customers off of Instinct phones… Sprint has hindered SERO plan holders in an entirely new way.
The Sprint Employee Referral Offer (SERO) is a significantly less expensive plan pricing that has been attractive to savvy customers. While labeled as an “employee referral” promotion, Sprint has routinely opened the program up to the general public through special promotions. At $30/month for 500 minutes and unlimited data, the plan tier is cheaper than Verizon and AT&T’s data-only plans.
However, as of now, you cannot activate a PDA or Smartphone on a SERO plan (except for the $99 SERO Unlimited plan). It is not clear if existing PDAs owned by SERO customers can continue to be re-activated, but new PDA sales are clearly prohibited to SERO customers.
This comes as Sprint begins to address the Instinct debacle that we previously reported on. Today, Sprint issued an internal memo to employees, stating that customers can switch back to a SERO plan should they chose to return Instinct, or switch to another phone at a later date. However, Sprint also made clear that they will continue to force customers with Instinct and a SERO plan off of their current plan (or, to return the Instinct).
Sprint clearly is taking actions to force savvy and informed customers to abandon the SERO plan pricing. It also is clear that this is a material change of service, and that SERO customers may cancel their contracts without paying an early termination fee.
Update: Sprint may have reversed their decision yesterday. We have just attempted to purchase a PDA from SERO and were offered all three SERO plans.
When we did the same thing yesterday, we were forced to select the SERO Unlimited plan. In addition, Sprint employees on the forums confirmed the change, which prompted us to test the SERO store yesterday initially, where we gained the independent confirmation.
We would not have reported on this had we not had both seen the ban ourselves on the SERO store, as well as confirmed it with Sprint employees. It is not clear if Sprint used this as a trial balloon or not, however, we will follow-up when the situationÂ stabilizes.
Update 2: Sprint has responded to our coverage, which we have outlined in this article.