Saturday, October 10, 2015

Despite ad pitch, even Sprint has its limits

In commercials, Sprint has been touting itself as the only major carrier that still offers truly unlimited data plans. Now it reportedly plans at least one limit.

Despite ad pitch, even Sprint has its limits


In commercials, Sprint has been touting itself as the only major carrier that still offers its customers limitless downloads.  Sprint says its smartphone plans distinguish it from AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, which offer capped plans plus overage charges, and from T-Mobile, which slows down transmission beyond 5 gigabytes per month.

But that will change Oct. 2 for one class of customers, according to a report at those who pay $30 a month to use their phones as mobile hotspots for their laptops or tablets.

BGR's Zach Epstein writes:

Sprint on Thursday confirmed that it will soon introduce a data cap tied to its mobile hotspot add-on for smartphone users. Currently, Sprint subscribers with compatible smartphones can pay an extra $29.99 per month for unlimited Wi-Fi tethering, which allows other devices to connect via Wi-Fi in order to utilize a Sprint phone’s 3G or 4G data connection. Beginning October 2nd, the mobile hotspot add-on will be capped at 5GB of data per month. Read on for more.

“Sprint continues to offer unlimited data for phones in its Everything Data and Simply Everything plans,” a Sprint spokesperson told BGR in an emailed statement. “Mobile Hotspot data usage is calculated independent of a customer’s phone data usage. The mobile hotspot functionality on a phone enables other Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to the Sprint network. Effective Oct. 2, Sprint is changing the optional $29.99 Mobile Hotspot add-on for phones. The new add-on has a monthly 5GB on-network data allowance for 3G or combined 3G/4G usage.”

The report doesn't say whether data hogs prompted the change, not does it explain how Sprint will price data overages. But based on an earlier report, BGR says it will likely be $0.05 per megabyte over 5GB if their usage goes over the cap in a single billing period.

At $50 a gigabyte, downloading a 1.5 gigabyte movie will get mighty expensive, so you'll probably want to do it from another kind of WiFi connection - which may be the whole point.

One subclass of customers will be spared the extra expense, Epstein suggests: "Sprint’s tablets will reportedly not be affected by the policy change."

Inquirer Business Columnist
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About this blog

Jeff Gelles, who writes the Inquirer's weekly Consumer 14.0 and Tech Life columns, takes a broad look at the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas.

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Jeff Gelles Inquirer Business Columnist
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