Sprint allows its prepaid carrier partners to debrand Android phones, rid devices of bloatware

In a move that could only be viewed as a step in the right direction, Sprint has just made a major move in the battle against bloatware. Its newly-unveiled Custom Branded Device Program is being introduced just as prepaid carriers are beginning to see something of a resurgence. In a nutshell, the initiative enables its MVNO partners (carriers like Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile) to customize white-label Android phones. In case you needed to hear it another way, it'll give those partners the ability to "completely de-brand devices from Sprint." Of course, this opens the door for said partners to litter these phones with their own software, but it also provides an option to see phones in a manner that Americans rarely see unless they opt for pricier global (and unlocked) models.

Sprint is hoping that the program will allow its MVNO partners -- carriers who sell phones under their own brand but actually rely on Sprint's network for service -- to "have greater, and potentially quicker, access to a large selection of completely de-branded marquee Android handsets out of Sprint and Boost Mobile device inventory with volume pricing included." Presently, Sprint has three devices available for this program -- LG Optimus G, LG Mach and Sprint Flash -- but additional devices are expected to be added by the month's end. Perhaps most interestingly, we reported back in July of 2011 that Sprint was making a "conscious decision to scale back bloatware on smartphones." Here's hoping that decision is soon realized.

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Sprint Introduces Custom Branded Device Program, Enabling MVNOs to Custom-Brand White-Label Android Phones

For the first time, MVNOs have greater access to completely de-branded devices from Sprint

Coupled with white-labeled Mobile ID and Mobile Zone products from Sprint, MVNOs can extend their brand elements to end users more efficiently

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), March 20, 2013 - As the proliferation of smartphones continues to grow, Sprint (NYSE:S) Emerging & Wholesale Solutions today introduced the Custom Branded Device Program. Through the program, MVNOs will have greater, and potentially quicker, access to a large selection of completely de-branded marquee Android handsets out of Sprint and Boost Mobile device inventory with volume pricing included.

Select Android devices can be automatically modified through Mobile ID and Mobile Zone, giving MVNOs the ability to extend their own brand directly to end users through over-the-air activation. Currently, Sprint has three devices available for this program – LG Optimus G, LG Mach and Sprint Flash. Several additional devices are expected to be added to the lineup by the end of this month.

Industry analyst firm Strategy Analytics reported in January that 70 percent of the world smartphone market share belonged at the end of 2012 to Android Meanwhile, in early February, research firm comScore released its quarterly U.S. smartphone market share numbers, which showed Android leading in market share with 53.4 percent of the total smartphone market.

"The Android operating system provides such incredible flexibility and supply chain economy of scale that, when coupled with the Sprint Mobile ID and Mobile Zone products, can now extend a value and a new branding opportunity to our wholesale customers," said Bill Esrey, vice president, Emerging & Wholesale Solutions at Sprint. "The Custom Branded Device Program enables our MVNO customers to extend a personal and direct relationship that transcends outside of the store walls, at Sprint's volume pricing."

Sprint continues its commitment to the "open" mobile ecosystem through open platforms Mobile ID and Mobile Zone, which are white-labeled variations of the popular Sprint ID and Sprint Zone applications. These platforms enable Sprint's international and wholesale customers to replicate Sprint's success with the retail versions of the same services – driving enhanced customer engagement and revenue growth opportunities for MVNOs.

Mobile ID – Mobile ID delivers a complete mobile experience – centered on consumers', students' or businesses' interests or favorite brands – including applications, widgets, ringtones and wallpapers, all in a couple of simple clicks. With more than 6 million downloads in the United States, Sprint smartphone users have already begun to harness the power of ID packs to create their own experiences while catering to different tastes and hobbies. Mobile ID enables personalization for the end user that offers access to a broad array of categories, allowing MVNOs to deliver a successful customized application to defined markets and customer segments.
Mobile Zone – Mobile Zone provides a messaging gateway for end users to receive communication from their MVNO and enable customers with self-help services. Mobile Zone can enhance the user experience while improving MVNO-to-customer interaction. An interactive and relevant mobile application, Mobile Zone allows users who are always on-the-go a way to manage their account and discover new content anywhere and at any time.

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Sprint allows its prepaid carrier partners to de-brand Android phones, rid devices of bloatware