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Wireless Networking

Sprint Customers Face 5GB Hotspot Data Cap, As of Oct. 2 222

zacharye 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."
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Sprint Customers Face 5GB Hotspot Data Cap, As of Oct. 2

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  • Re:Dammit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:23PM (#37484892)

    Did you even bother to read the summary? This a cap on using your phone as a wifi hot spot. They still have unlimited data plans and this doesn't change that.

  • Stop this BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:23PM (#37484894)

    "Hi, would you like to subscribe to our unlimited bandwidth plan"
    "Hello again, I see you've been using some of our bandwidth, I'm afraid when we said 'unlimited' what we actually mean was 'severely and punitively limited' so your going to have to either stop or pay us a fuck ton more money"

    Why the hell are corporations worldwide allowed to keep pulling this shit? If it's not a straight bait-and-switch then it's using a rather unconventional definition of unlimited, and every single time they are allowed to get away with it.

  • by TheEyes ( 1686556 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:27PM (#37484940)

    Invest in your damn network infrastructure, you big goddamn babies. Your shareholders can go without their precious dividends for a while.

    Sprint hasn't turned a profit in four years. I'm pretty sure they're not paying dividends.

  • Re:Stop this BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:44PM (#37485152)
    Not worldwide. This is only in America, baby!
  • Re:Dammit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vijayiyer ( 728590 ) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @05:49PM (#37485202)

    It's the "toss up a bunch of towers" that's extremely expensive and impossible in some locales, like San Francisco, where residents will fight tooth and nail over "radiation".

  • Re:Dammit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@NOSPAM.beau.org> on Thursday September 22, 2011 @07:00PM (#37485820)

    > Yes, there is a limit to wireless bandwith, but that isn't why it is so expensive.

    Yup, that is reason #1, #2 and #3. Because without caps people would use their wireless like they use their wired Internet. Hell, most people would just ditch their wired Internet in favor of tethering. After all, in most tech savvy households every member old enough to use they Internet is already packing a smartphone. It would just make sense. Except there isn't nearly enough bandwidth for that. Pricing is nature's way of forcing people to share a finite resource. Of course if people really were willing to fork over enough money, more spectrum, towers, whatever would become available to service that demand.

    > It is expensive for the same reason many wired ISPs have 5GB caps: because they can

    No, again it is sorta supply and demand. So long as it was just a few netheads slurping up extreme amounts of bandwidth the ISPs were willing to ignore it because they all felt the word "UNLIMITED" in the ad copy was more important. Heck, few customers would even be able to know how much Internet they were using so fear of hitting a cap and getting billed zillions of dollars in overages would have impeded uptake of the Internet. Nobody would have watched many YouTube videos. Nobody would have let anyone else touch their PC (remember Compuserve? Who would have let the neighbor's kid plop down in front of their CI$ account? Almost nobody.), the kids would have been strictly monitored, etc. And no explosive growth. People wouldn't have become addicted. But then Netflix and Hulu threatened to saturate the net with video. In direct competition to the bundles the ISPs (now down to the cable and phone companies in most markets) were offering. The combined threat to both their network infrastructure and cash flow became greater than their fear of customer reaction to caps.

    And please remember, yes the cable company sells you 10+mbps service but on the understanding your use will be bursty, not constant. They oversubscribe their outbound link 10:1 or more. And don't bitch about that being unfair. They also sell real service intended for heavy use with an SLA promising you will get every last bit per second you are paying for, try pricing it sometime.

  • Re:usb tethering? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schnell ( 163007 ) <(ten.llenhcs) (ta) (em)> on Thursday September 22, 2011 @07:44PM (#37486240) Homepage

    I was actually planning on paying for tethering and dropping my land line internet once sprint brought 4g to my city.

    I feel your pain but I don't understand why the smart, otherwise technically savvy people on Slashdot seem to not understand this:

    Wireless is not and will not be a replacement for wireline broadband. They are fundamentally different economically and technically.

    With wireline (cable/DSL/FiOS/leased line/whatever) broadband, an ISP can cram as much data down each of those pipes as their upstream/downstream terminal gear (VDSL, DOCSIS 3.0, GPON, etc.) can handle and their upstream bandwidth can take. Bandwidth allowances to individual customers have comparatively small impact on other users, so you can get very high speeds and large data caps

    With wireless, ISPs are functionally limited by their available licensed spectrum within each market area. Currently there is more thirst for cellular data than there is available spectrum, so in most cellsites in any moderately populated area, you are going to be fighting for bandwidth with everyone who is streaming HD NetFlix. You can solve that with more spectrum, but at least in the US, spectrum coasts a s**tload of money, and there is a shortage of it available to the wireless providers already. You could help the issue with more cell towers, but those cost a lot of money to put up and even if you want to spend the cash, in many areas all the tinfoil hat brigades complain about their cell service but then make carriers go through three years of environmental impact studies to put more towers up if ever.

    So for practical purposes, wireless bandwidth is a much more constrained resource than wireline bandwidth is, and what each user "eats" may be taking off the plate of the next user, so that's why you get caps/throttling/whatever. There is no secret conspiracy to make wireless users' lives miserable, all the carriers have these same frustrating data policies because... they all have to deal with the same spectrum limitations, regulatory limitations, and the need to make money.

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