Diggin' technology every day

October 23, 2011

That was fast

Filed under: General — Tags: — Nate @ 8:58 pm

This isn’t really what I expected when I said Sprint would likely take away it’s unlimited data plans, in fact I explicitly thought they would not touch their 4G service because iPhones don’t do Wimax, and I figure it’s fairly uncommon for iPhone people to get Mifis.

Sprint Nextel is ending unlimited data plans for all devices except smartphones, bringing the era of all-you-can-eat mobile data in the U.S. nearer to a close.


However, Sprint will continue to offer its plans for unlimited data use on phones, including on the Apple iPhone, which Sprint introduced just last week.

I wonder what prompted this move, it’s not as if you can incur roaming charges on their 4G network, is there even such a thing as roaming on Wimax ? I’m sure it’s theoretically possible but am quite confident it just doesn’t happen to Sprint 4G/Clearwire customers. Sprint owns a majority in Clearwire, and has invested billions on it.

For Mobile Hotspot plans on phones, data usage will be capped at 5GB per month of either 3G or combined 3G/4G service, depending on whether the phone can use 4G. Use above that cap will be charged at $0.05 per megabyte.

It is very unfortunate, and surprising move, maybe the executive who came up with this idea came from Netflix.

Their excess charges are well, excessive. AT&T I believe charges $10/GB for going over, which to me is reasonable, Sprint would charge, at a 1GB rate $51 for 1GB over the limit.

The AT&T excess charge is very similar to getting a higher plan which was nice to see, I mean when I signed up, I got the 2GB plan, and if I happened to use 3-4GB, the charges for that would be no different than if I had signed up for a larger plan.

It would be less bad if the devices had an automatic cutoff once you hit the limit, but of course there isn’t. My Mifi is nice enough to tell me how much data I use in a particular session but has no aggregation features. Which I’ve always found strange why phones and other devices don’t have functionality to keep track of that kind of stuff, I suppose it could be intentional, if it were, it would be even more unfortunate.

Luckily for me this change won’t impact me much at all I don’t believe, but still, very unfortunate for all round.

I came across a post from someone who has kept much closer track as to the changes Sprint has implemented than I have:

  • Removal of the Sprint Premiere Membership Program and the removal of all its benefits
  • Using your phone as a Mobile Hotspot no longer has unlimited data but is now capped. It still costs the same $30.
  • Adding a $10 a month 4g charge to every 4g line on an account regardless of whether you get 4g reception or not. This charge was then expanded to include all smartphones on the Sprint network, even if they weren’t capable of 4g.
  • No more Billing to Account.
  • An increase in administrative fees per line.
  • Raising the Early Termination Fee on an account by $150 to $350 for each phone line.
  • Changing the arbitration rules for settling customer disputes in a way that heavily favors Sprint.
  • Stopping people from leaving Sprint because of the arbitration changes without being charged the ETF, even though Federal Courts have ruled that changes in arbitration rules are a material change in the contract.
  • Eliminating unlimited 4g data from it’s Mobile Broadband plans.
  • Dropping WIMAX for their new LTE 4g network. This not only means that if you do not have 4g currently, you will never have it for your current 4g phone but also that all Sprint 4g phones being sold today, even if you are within a current 4g area, will stop operating as 4g at the end of next year because they will not work on Sprint’s new network.

Sprint your not doing me any favors encouraging me to use your service, even after charging what seemed to be a $50 fee to terminate my phone service even though I have not been on a contract for over a year(and having been a customer for 10 years), now eliminating my unlimited data on my remaining service with you. I recently purchased a AT&T 3G/4G mifi from dailysteals for $60. It’s unlocked, I thought I’d keep it handy as a backup, now it looks like it may be a a full time replacement for my Mifi when my contract is up next year.

Someone else mentioned a federal law saying with such a material change in the contract existing users have the legal right to terminate the contract without penalty, I may just do that. Even if I have to return the Mifi I have, it’s not as if I need it anyways.


  1. T-Mobile! (if they can stay independent). I’m doing prepaid cell phone (don’t yack that much on the go anymore now) + MiFi using T-Mobile; T-Mobile is still doing the slow down after 5G, instead of charging. If the AT&T buyout goes through, however, I’ll most likely dump T-Mobile.

    If you don’t talk that much, Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile have some interesting pre-paid plans, but don’t allow tethering. Also, Verizon allows /allowed (not sure if it’s still available for new customers) free tethering with select phones (original Pre IIRC).

    Cell phone carriers do a great job trying to confuse customers to get them to pay more.

    Comment by Tony — October 24, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  2. Wow. That blows chunks. Still, the grass is often greener on the other side, eh?

    I just left t-mobile for sprint. Their reception issues where I live have made using their service unbearable. Pretty much anywhere I go, I’m wondering whether there is signal, or if there is UMA available to shore things up. Not a great way to feel when what I have in my hand is supposed to be a mobile phone.

    While their 4G stuff looks good, my experience with their 3G has soured me to their concept of what coverage means…

    Add to that, the AT&T buyout, and I’m out. Been with AT&T in the past, and they have just been a waste of time for both me and my wife(separate, but similarly hellish experiences).

    With the release of the iphone 4S, we switched to Sprint. Went with their 1500 minute unlimited plan. Tethering would have been awesome, but at 3G speeds and $30 per line per month… it wasn’t worth it for us.

    So it’s interesting that as I leave for the greener pastures of Sprint, others are leaving for the greener pastures of T-Mobile.

    I guess we’ll see in a year or two if the grass is still as green. 🙂

    Comment by Wing Wong — October 24, 2011 @ 11:00 am

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