In a bid to differentiate itself from rivals Verizon and AT&T, Sprint is introducing another unlimited service to complement its unrestricted talk, text, and data plans: cloud storage.
The wireless carrier today announced a partnership with Cloud Engines, a cloud storage company that offers unlimited cloud storage to consumers for $5 a month under its Pogoplug brand. Sprint will begin selling Pogoplug’s cloud service to its customers through its Sprint Zone store.
“Everything that Sprint offers is unlimited, and we mapped into that very well in terms of providing unlimited cloud [storage],” said Daniel Putterman, CEO of Cloud Engines, in an interview with VentureBeat last week.
This isn’t a fundamentally new offering: Sprint customers could already buy Pogoplug cloud storage through the Apple App Store or Google Play, as could people using other wireless providers. But the Sprint partnership could represent an important new sales channel for Pogoplug.
“Sprint only sells a very small number of third-party offerings, and we’re the only cloud storage offering,” said Putterman.
With Pogoplug installed, people can store their media and other digital information on the cloud, conserving space on their mobile devices. Pogoplug offers 5GB of storage for free and unlimited storage for $5 a month, which Putterman calls a “very meaningful” price point for consumers. According to Putterman, 23 percent of people introduced to the service opt to pay for the unlimited model right away. The company is approaching one million paying customers, he added.
Unlike Dropbox and Hightail, two cloud storage providers that pivoted to focus primarily on the enterprise market, Pogoplug remains “maniacally focused” on consumers.
“I think it’s exciting for the industry to hear that it’s not just about the enterprise,” said Putterman. “Let’s not forget about the billion smartphone users who care about their photos.”
Cloud Engines does offer a Pogoplug for Teams service, however. It also offers two additional products for the privacy conscious to complement its core cloud service: a networked hard drive that acts as a “private cloud,” and a device called Safeplug that reroutes Internet traffic through the twisty, anonymous Tor network.
Cloud Engines has raised over $30 million in funding to date from backers like Foundry Group, Softbank Capital, and Morgan Stanley. It employs around 60 people between its San Francisco headquarters and a subsidiary in Tel Aviv.