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Sprint planning its own branded prepaid service

Prepaid has never been a thing for the Sprint brand. For years it was content with its MVNOs, and then when it wanted to make a bigger prepaid play it acquired Boost Mobile and then Virgin Mobile. Apparently, that’s not enough. Later this month, Sprint will launch Sprint As You Go, its own stab at prepaid wireless services. It features two plans: $50 for unlimited talk, text, and web on feature phones, and $70 for the same, plus 3G data, for smartphones. There are some catches, though.

For starters, there is no EVDO roaming. If you do roam, you’re stuck with 1XRTT, which is super slow (as many MetroPCS customers can tell you). That’s one advantage of this prepaid service: it does allow roaming on Sprint’s nationwide map, while other Sprint MVNOs do not allow this. But, again, the lack of EVDO roaming is a bummer.

There will only be four handsets, two smartphones and two feature phones, available upon release. The feature phones include a flip and a candybar, while the smartphones include the LG Optimus Elite and the Samsung Victory (not to be confused with the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G, which we saw last month headed for Virgin). Make no mistakes, though: these are the only handsets available for Sprint As You Go. Postpaid Sprint phones are not available for activation. The Elite will cost $150, while the Victory will cost $250.

The service launches January 25th. It’s easy to see Sprint’s intentions here. It appears they’re attempting to move 3G customers to prepaid, while reserving postpaid for 4G customers. It’s something akin to what Verizon has attempted with its own prepaid smartphone service. Carriers do have large reserves of 3G smartphones, but postpaid customers aren’t buying them. They’re going for newer 4G models. Might as well steer them to a different service.

Via Android Police.