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Wireless Networking Cellphones Handhelds

Sprint Cutting Unlimited 4G Data Plans 325

Posted by timothy
from the too-good-to-last dept.
itwbennett writes "In a notice posted Thursday on the customer support section of its website, Sprint said it would impose monthly data caps on plans for all tablets, laptops, netbooks, USB and PC Card modems, and mobile hotspot devices — everything, that is, except smartphones. The caps will begin with each subscriber's next bill following notification, the carrier said."
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Sprint Cutting Unlimited 4G Data Plans

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  • by sethstorm (512897) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @11:35PM (#37813986) Homepage

    Seems like when the iPhone comes, unlimited data always goes despite the baseless concerns on data usage. All this should do is just make people figure out how to make everything look like a smartphone.

    Welcome back to yesteryear when everything is nickel-and-dimed, since nobody will provide flat-rate data.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bhcompy (1877290)

      Welcome back to AT&T of yesteryear where douchebag hipsters on their iPhones hog all the bandwidth

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Hook, line and sinker. Bandwidth is there to be used.

        Hogging the network is a cop-out.

      • I actually don't object to caps for that reason. Some people use way too much and there are limits. You can't just magically increase wireless bandwidth since there is only a certain amount of spectrum you have to play with. You can do it to an extent by building out the network, having smaller segments, but there are limits to that because of interference, and also just practical limits as to where you can put antennas (never mind cost). It is a shared resource, people have to play nice and not use it full

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Perhaps this is one of Apple's goals. They want you to pay per-song and per-episode, so they're getting you used to paying per-gigabyte, too. All hail the glory of capitalism!

      • by t2t10 (1909766)

        All hail the glory of capitalism!

        Evidently, you miss the old days when Stalin gave you all the free, high-speed Internet you wanted! Uncensored too!

  • I wonder what this is going to do to Clearwire's stock price. This is clearly a vote of no confidence in their network capacity.

  • by jimpop (27817) *

    This makes me want to switch to a Sprint smartphone plan.

    • by Dracos (107777)

      Out of all the tier 1 US carriers, Sprint's plans are IMO the best. Except for the stupid $10/month "smartphone data" fee, which is bullshit.

      Unfortunately I live in the taint of the country, and don't have any hope of actually getting 4G data on my 4G phone until Sprint completes their LTE network vision and I get an LTE capable phone.

      Hopefully Gingerbread will finally go OTA this week and make me forget these things.

      • Re:This (Score:4, Informative)

        by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 24, 2011 @01:21AM (#37814364) Homepage Journal

        In NYC my Sprint 4G smartphone doesn't get 4G hardly anywhere, and outside NYC I have yet to see it get 4G. Much of the time the phone doesn't even get 3G.

        Sprint's plans are just about the cheapest, especially for 4G. But you don't get what you don't pay for.

        I fully expect LTE to be even worse. Not technologically, but because Sprint has always sucked and reamed its customers, and gradually lowers expectations even more.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @11:41PM (#37814018)

    just jail brake your phone and make it a hotspot

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 23, 2011 @11:44PM (#37814036)

    They've made a material change.

    Cast your contract into the fires of Mount Doom.

    Only there can such evil be unmade.

    • by meerling (1487879) on Monday October 24, 2011 @12:06AM (#37814110)
      Yep. Anytime they change your contract, you can opt out without any penalties what-so-ever. It's the law. Those guys hate it, and certainly will never tell you about it, but it's true.

      To repeat: ANY time they alter your agreement/contract, you may cancel it with NO penalties. This is by FEDERAL LAW.

      No, I'm not a lawyer, but I've used this little gem myself when a provider decided to screw up things.
      • Anytime they change your contract, you can opt out without any penalties what-so-ever. It's the law.

        Without any penalties whatsoever?

        Of course having to change provider may be penalty enough in some areas, but let's say you the contract involves a bundle.. i.e. you get Phone X together with Plan Y for the special price of $N/month with a commitment to 2 years. Say they change it after just 6 months. You can cancel - but do you get to keep the phone? Usually not - so wouldn't that also be a penalty? (havi

        • by zyzko (6739)

          You can cancel - but do you get to keep the phone? Usually not - so wouldn't that also be a penalty? (having to get a new one, re-configure it, etc.

          *If* when selling these "plans" involving the phone marketing was transparent these plans would be broken open, i.e.:

          Get a cPhone! Only $y month (24 month contract)
          (of y the part of the phone is w, plan including gazillion minutes and whatever goodies, you can get out of contract any time by paying the remaining months * w, handset sold separately for q)

          But no....that would be too open for telcos and complicated for the average consumer...but guess what, where I live this is how marketing these bundles must

      • Yep. Anytime they change your contract, you can opt out without any penalties what-so-ever. It's the law. Those guys hate it, and certainly will never tell you about it, but it's true.

        You don't have to pay penalties, but you still have to pay off your equipment. And afterwards, you're left with a device that is next to useless because it won't run on any other carrier's network.

      • There's only 4 providers now. They all change terms so often you're left with NO phone providers after 6 months!!!!

        The whole problem with these wireless terms now is that I had to make a 2-year deal based on advertising. Now 1 year into the deal they don't want to provide ALL the features promised... And I can't get that feature from somebody ELSE now and i could have PAID SOMEBODY ELSE just a little more. If I was using this to equip my staff for a business I would be pissed... Because I just had 25-50+ pe

    • And replace it with who now? Verizon? AT&T? Oh so many wonderful choices.

  • by jesseck (942036) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @11:57PM (#37814076)
    I use Sprint at home, and go through quite a bit of data (in both 3G and 4G areas). I checked TFA for a source at Sprint, but it just said the "announcement" was buried in the support pages. Does anyone have a better source than this "article"?
  • We are ever the first to use "it" (whatever "it" is), we roar and soar for a while, and then the monopolies began to form...although since monopolies are now forming that impact the use and spread of information and technology, we are likely to be technology followers from here on out.
  • by irabinovitch (614425) on Monday October 24, 2011 @12:30AM (#37814206) Homepage
    Didn't their CTO just go on record recently saying the unlimited plans weren't going anywhere? http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/27/sprints-unlimited-data-plans-arent-going-anywhere-cto-confirm/ [engadget.com]
    • by am 2k (217885)

      Hey, that was one month ago! You can't expect that to be true forever, can you?

  • by Petersonz (753708) on Monday October 24, 2011 @12:37AM (#37814228)
    What are the odds that after the smartphones, particularly the iPhones, become capped/metered just after sales die down, and the majority of the customers are in a 2 year contract.
    • One would suspect that this would constitute a material change in the contract, and would provide you with an opportunity to cancel without penalty.

      Obviously you shouuld check with a lawyer first.
  • by jmhysong (1560115) on Monday October 24, 2011 @12:49AM (#37814264)

    Sprint has been cutting back on features and raising fees for a while now. It's getting out of hand. They're probably doing it all in an effort to make up for the $28B they paid Apple to sell the iPhone. Here is a list of some of the changes.

    * 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 sucks.

    • Sprint is TRYING to die, and TRYING to get bought out by either AT&T or VZ. That is the ONLY conclusion I have to the boneheaded moves by the #3 player. It is almost like Sprint is saying "we suck more than the other guys". I used to be with Sprint, left them years ago, and I am so glad I did.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sprint may suck by your standards - but my 3-lin Family Plan is between $50-$60/month cheaper than with Verizon. You complain about Sprint's $10 'advanced' data fee? Try Verizon's $30 mandatory fee - which you can't ditch under any circumstances. I was a 21 year Verizon customer who switched to Sprint the day the iPhone was released there. (And the fact that I still have unlimited data whereas Verizon took it away) To me, Sprint is an upgrade.

    • 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.

      So, after they turn on LTE in the first few markets, they are going to cut the power to all their WiMax gear? Wow.. And here I thought they would do as they have publicly said, and continue to use WiMax where it is, until the equipment is replaced in 5-7 years..

  • Sprint 4G to smartphones has always been limited by the really crappy 4G coverage. Even in NYC I hardly ever get a 4G signal. It seems like even a 7 storey apartment building is enough to block 4G.

    Any way you look at it, "unlimited" 4G has been a scam from Sprint.

    And why does Sprint get to unilaterally delete features from its contract? What's the point of a contract then, except to force the consumer to pay and take Sprint's abuse?

    • Well at least when they change the contract it gives you a free out. I signed on to a Sprint "unlimited" 4G contact a few months ago, and got a subsidized Dell 1121z for like $150. Now because they are changing their terms, I can leave the contract with no penalties and take my Core i3 someplace else.
  • Well some of us have what they call grandfathered data plans. I have $59 per month unlimited plan on my data card which I signed up for about 4 years ago. They stopped offering that 2 years ago but my plan keeps going despite contract being ended a while ago. If this limit applies to the likes of me, it will be good-bye sprint.
  • And T-Mo just cut off tethering for their smartphones, unless you want to pay another $15/month. Seriously, getting to the point to finding $100/month a little ridiculous (and I only use around 1gb/month in data with tethering).

    Maybe I should just go back to POTS. Leave me a fucking message on my answering machine.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday October 24, 2011 @01:51AM (#37814440)
    Competition is drying up faster than Lake Meade!
  • So they could cut it. I was thinking of writing an "Sprint Android 4g Enabler" app that just turns on and says "Searching for network" and then "Couldn't find network", which is all Sprint's 4g button has ever done on my phone. Assuming I can get any coverage at all, which is pretty hit or miss. Seems like we need a better solution...
  • I don't begrudge companies changing their product offerings by any means, but what does irritate me to no end is that companies will ADVERTISE what a good deal their service is, right up until the moment they actually change it. That strikes me as borderline false advertising... Sign-up the day you see the commercial, and get the advertised deal, or wait until a few days a find there's no "there" there... What's the legal limit of how long they have to honor their advertised service levels?

    Personally, I'

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAKNjEi3Xao [youtube.com]

    It's technically true. The "best" kind of truth.

    Just not for anything BUT smartphones I guess...

  • non-unlimited, de-unlimited, post-unlimited, limited or 'de luxe'?

Recursion is the root of computation since it trades description for time.

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