Jul 20 AT 5:14 PM Edgar Cervantes 54 Comments

Sprint CEO hints at possibility of tiered data plans

Tiered data plans are taking over our nightmares. While these can offer some good price options (depending on how the carrier goes about it), owning a smartphone is definitely an easy way to run up some Gigabytes on your monthly usage. Some carriers choose to go for tiered capped data plans, while others choose to throttle your data speeds after a certain cap. No one likes to be limited or slowed down, but 550,000 activations a day are sure to take a toll on carrier networks.

Smartphone users are becoming more prominent every day. Other carriers are already adopting tiered & throttled data solutions, but good ol’ Sprint is still giving its customers their share of unlimited data. Not to be a pessimist, but this is what keeps most of Sprint’s smartphone users happy. Other carriers are getting rid of unlimited plans, while Sprint keeps its uncapped plan for smartphones. It seems these data plans aren’t going to last forever, though.

Every few months we take a look, we take a look at tonnage, and we take a look at all the things we're doing to offload tonnage ... We'll just continue to monitor it.

Nothing is forever ... but we think it's a terrific opportunity to differentiate ourselves in the market.Dan HesseSprint CEO

It was also mentioned that Sprint will not follow the steps of its little brother, Virgin Mobile USA, who has chosen to throttle data speeds after reaching a certain cap. Hesse says this is simply due to the nature of the customers in each carrier. Virgin Mobile claims only 3% of its users go above the 2.5 GB per month threshold, while the majority of Sprint’s customers use more. Throttles will simply not be an option when/if Sprint chooses to limit data plans.

This basically means Sprint is currently “playing it by ear.” They’ll keep offering unlimited data plans to their customers as long as the demand is not overwhelming for their network. This may seem like a very fair statement, but we will always have our doubts. Most of us believe no company is that charitable and will do what they can get away with.

While Sprint seems to be making the right choice by simply saying “maybe,” they could also have a few tricks in mind. Being the only carrier with an unlimited data plan will surely bring some customers aboard. This could lead to a huge profit if they switch to tiered data plans afterwards. Let’s just hope this isn’t a money-making technique and they’ll actually let us keep our unlimited data as long as possible. After all, that $10 premium data charge was meant to allow Sprint to keep its unlimited data plans. Smartphone users definitely do suck up all that data, and part of this was probably utilized for improving their spectrum.

What do you guys say? Are you sticking with Sprint even after tiered data plans come into the picture?

Via: Fierce Wireless

Source: PC Mag

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • mac08wrx

    Fack that would suck

  • http://Website CJ

    Fack indeed.

  • http://Website LeBlow James, basketball choker

    Sprint sucks, Dan Hesse is gay

  • http://smartphonereport.info waazzupppp

    Oh please, just get with the times… Something has to be done with pricing, but to differentiate yourself in the market, why not do speeds?

    128-256kbps – $20.00 unlimited
    1.0-1.5Mbps – $30.00 unlimited
    2.0-3.0Mbps – $45.00 unlimited
    6+Mbps (4G) – $60.00 a month unlimited

    Tethering included – no throttling – no overage – no caps…

    You make money, we get data – life is good!

    • thel0nerang3r

      I would prefer T-Mobile’s tier data plan over what you suggest. Having X amount of bytes at full speed then throttle after that would work better for me.

    • WickedToby741

      I completely agree with this. Data is data, and as the internet continues to become a more integral part of our lives, we need more data, not limits being imposed. Home internet is billed based on speeds, so why can’t we get the same for our phones? Some people aren’t going to need ludicrous speeds whereas others are going to demand it. We should be able to pay less for slower speeds and get unlimited data and tethering at no cost.

  • http://Website Steven

    I’d rather them throttle if they gave me 2mbps on 3G, not this .5mbps bull shit…

  • http://www.getsmartphones.info waazzupppp

    I also wanted to drop a more serious note on the article…

    1) As long as Sprint is the best value – performance vs. cost – they will be our carrier.

    2) “while the majority of Sprint’s customers use more than 2.5 GB every month” is something I find completely impossible to believe. Not many BlackBerry users climb the 2.5 GB mountain… Not many WebOS users do either… I am almost willing to bet that no feature phone users get near that number… Even for Android users – I’d be 10-15% take down that cap… Unless you are Netflixing a ton, illegally tethering a rooted device or torrenting to your phone – 2.5 is a pretty large number. I know people break it, but I’m sure it’s not the majority…

    3) Despite your claims that the majority of users go over, and that speed restrictions won’t work, it really is where this is heading for Sprint – just like T-Mobile. Hopefully, they will follow VM and keep it at a respectable 256kbps as the cut line and not go down the 56kbps mark like T-Mobile.

    4) There is alot of speculation that the tiered plans are being fought off until Sprint is able to get LTE rolling – this would mean that WiMax would stay unlimited and throttled (which Clear already does on a soft cap of 7-8GB per month) and the new LTE plans could come out of the gate tiered. Not a single mention of that one…

    Ok, rant over… Sorry, just had to do it…

    • http://Website mmark27

      Double True. hitting more than 1.5 GB a month takes some effort. I use my Evo constantly and can’t get near that range over 2.5GB.

      • http://Website Mikey

        I break 5gb with my mytouch4g every month with ease.

      • ilostmysanity

        Really? I use my Droid X regularly and stream Amazon Cloud music from my personal library at work and I hit 6-8GB/ mo…. part of the reason I am considering switching to Sprint and leaving Verizon… If I ever want to upgrade my phone I then go tiered and pay $80/ mo which is no good for me.

        • Ryan

          That’s not true. Verizon grandfathered all of their unlimited users.

  • http://Website Androidawg

    Idiots, idiots, idiots.

    MetroPCS and Virgin Mobile are about to explode. They have excellent coverage and true unlimited data plans and the phones are coming. The big 3 just teamed up and screwed themselves.

    • thel0nerang3r

      I doubt that. Most consumers see “this phone is $300! but with contract I can get it for free.”
      I don’t think that most people look at the cost as the 2yr life of the contract. Most consumers look at the initial cost, don’t take into consideration the 2 yr agreement. T-Mobile has the BYOD and pay a smaller amount a month. If you work out the cost over two years it’s less. However, I would be surprised if even 5% of their customer are going that route.

    • http://acho-hosting.com Nick A

      MetroPCS 4G speed is only 700kb/sec its crap as they have only offered 2G speeds to there customers till now. Also they dont have 1 phone that actually qualifies as a smart phone. There all restricted and limited and no mobile hotspot either.

  • http://Website Bob Smith

    I would be fine if they tiered it. I heard it was a soft 5gb anyways and I don’t currently use that. But here is my biggest complaint. I feel that I am paying the $30 a month for 5gb. This means that I should be able to use the 5gb however I see fit, i.e. streaming, tethering, hotspot, etc. Once I go over the 5gb it should be another $30. I shouldn’t have to pay $30 to turn on a hotspot service to use the data I am already paying for.

    Basically I am paying for the data…let me choose how I want to access it.

    • thel0nerang3r

      I’m sure there will a govt inquiry… or lawsuit in the near future with people asking “if I have 2GB cap, how come you limit me to how I can consume it?”

  • http://Website cristal

    That would suck! But my sprint service already sucks down in south texas.. I’m always on WiFi so I would really leave sprint..

    • thel0nerang3r

      How much data are you using per month? I’m curious.

  • http://Website snowbdr89

    Look on the bright side with how slow wimax is you wouldnt have to worry about eating up a 2gig plan!! : )

    • http://Website Bjhoppy

      Dumbass

      • http://Website snowbdr89

        Moron. : )

  • http://Website Cvballa3g0

    Lol, and I remember all the sprint people laughing at Verizon when we were getting tiered data.

    Who’s laughing now!

    • http://Website Richard Yarrell

      I call bs on this. SPRINT is still the best carrier, they know what they are doing. Dan Hesse is probably the worlds best CEO. Keep the faith, clowns.

      • http://Website Hans

        Best CEO? Nah. Did he turn Sprint around? Yeah.

        But like he said, “nothing lasts forever”.
        Considering how many WiMax(faux-4G) phones they have, I’m sure it’ll put a strain on their network soon enough.

        A lot of people I know that have dealt with Sprint(especially customer service) say it sucks. I’ve had it, but it was when I was a teen, so I didn’t do anything with my account on my own.

        But on Verizon, I’ve been treated pretty good. I’ve never had a problem with them in the 2+ years I’ve had them. The coverage is great, I still have my unlimited data plan(now with unlimited LTE), and my corporate discount. There’s a reason why they’re number one. ;)

    • thel0nerang3r

      Sprint people are still laughing, because we don’t have a cap yet.

      • http://Website Bjhoppy

        And we aren’t with a carrier that over charges us and treats us like shit. There is more to it then just data speeds.

  • http://Website kazahani

    Sprint and Dan Hesse have built up some goodwill with the general public since he took over the company, but if they play the bait-and-switch game with tiered data plans, they will regret it. People will flock back to Verizon/ATT.

  • http://Website ddp

    I’m with the unlimited, choosing of speeds route. I’m usually in the 2-3gb range, and may dip under that if I just happen to use wifi all the time. I don’t tether, and hardly Ever use my rooted wifi tether either. That changed when I got a iPad (now being sold for a 10.1). So I’d like the unlimited option to stay for good, just give us speed packages just like tire ISPs.

  • http://Website Techrocket9

    As far as I know Sprint doesn’t even track 4G data usage for individuals (at least, only 3G usage shows up on the bill).

    At any rate, I streamed four hours of Netflix over 4G the other day. Data caplessness is nice.

  • thel0nerang3r

    I’ve seen my Sprint bill and it looks like I rarely go over 500MB of data. When at home I use Wifi. I could use Wifi hot spots (free with my att dsl). How much data is everyone using?

    I’m curious, what’s everyone using their data on? Looks like I’m missing out on something.

  • http://Website Daniel

    Not a chance. If Sprint goes tiered and doesn’t grandfather existing customers in we’ll be jumping ship for Big Red. I like Sprint, but their network is slower and smaller than Verizon’s. Plus there are some conflicting statements about the future of their 4G. WiMax or LTE? Either way, they have been dragging their feet in a bad way, as far as the rollout goes. The unlimited data is their only real competitive advantage. They are starting to catch up with the phones they offer but are still lagging behind Verizon in that arena as well. So, tiered data means serious loss of customers for Sprint. If I was sitting on their board, the last thing I’d want to see is an uptake in customer churn.

  • WickedToby741

    I don’t understand why we can’t get unlimited 3G and limited 4G. Like with Verizon for instance, I’d rather pay $40 and get 2 GB of 4G LTE and then get unlimited 3G if I run over. Others could do the same or similar. I don’t see why that’s so unreasonable, but then again I guess I’m not in charge. It really doesn’t matter since I still have unlimited, but that’s not guaranteed forever.

  • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com Silver Fang

    Down with tiers and throttles! These are just moneymaking schemes that have nothing to do with protecting the integrity of the network. If these companies are going to market these data hungry phones, then they have the duty to make sure their networks can actually handle the demand.

    • ilostmysanity

      I agree 100%. They had to know when they started dropping Android and iPhones on to thier network they were going to EXPLODE. if they can’t keep up with demand then they should not advertise them at all. I understand capacity issues… I work for a communications company that provides internet service… and when capacity starts filling up, we add more capacity to our network… not tell all our customers that they are going to be at an unreasonable cap….

  • http://Website jennifer1983

    I have unlimited speeds on my Verizon iPhone 4, spasctics!.

    • http://Website Bacon_Hat

      Let me guess? You have a 4G iPhone also!

  • http://Website Minesh Rai

    some tym before they were laughing at Verizon

    • http://Website neeraj patel

      Down with tiers and throttles! These are just moneymaking schemes that have nothing to do with protecting the integrity of the network. If these companies are going to market these data hungry phones, then they have the duty to make sure their networks can actually handle the demand.

  • http://www.cdmaclub.com Raj

    some tym before they were laughing at Verizon

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    Honestly Mr. Hesse is right….NOTHING LAST FOREVER….True customers who are overly happy with the overall service being provided WILL NOT GO ANYWHERE REGARDLESS OF TIERED PLANS. Sprint offers the best devices in the industry as well as the best dollar for dollar plans within the smartphone market people aren’t going anywhere. Today they are UNLIMITED and provide a great service as far as 6months from now WHO KNOWS maybe tiered plans will happen but one thing holds true if your currently on sprint the tiered plans WON’T EFFECT YOU ANYWAY…This is and has been a great year for sprint they have PLACED THEMSELVES ON THE MAP WITH A LARGE BULLSEYE NO DOUBT and the crazy part is THE BEST IS YET TO COME within the next 6months. This year is far from over people on sprint will have the opportunity to enjoy the EVO 3D, PHOTON 4G, HERO4G, SAMSUNG WITHIN 4G, and later this year in Sept/Oct the new iphone willl be placed on 3g tier. In my book they have done the very best they can I support sprint that will always be.

  • http://Website JHouston

    This is why I don’t want the next iPhone to come to sprint. Sprint’s network would be overwhelmed just like AT&T. Funny how Verizon started carrying the iPhone and now the have tiered data plans, too. iPhone=network killer.

  • http://Website Paul Atreides

    I’ll enjoy it while it last. I have faith when it is finally introduced, it will be most likely be chaeaper than the competitors. Hoping and praying.

  • http://Website Splendor

    “Nothing lasts forever”…including my business.

    If you want to charge me for tiered data you’d better give me a data only option so I don’t have to continue subsidizing everyone else’s voice minutes that I never use.

  • http://maxtechnewz.blogspot.com max

    i would rather have throutled speeds than tried data

  • http://Website Tony

    INB4SprintFanboys.. oh wait, too late.

    I personally find this hilarious, with all the trash talk about everyone but Sprint moving away from unlimited. It was an inevitable fate that we all knew would certainly become the norm for all major carriers here in the US. You guys were fooling yourselves to think Sprint of all carriers, was going to remain unlimited forever.

  • http://Website jeneen

    I have been a sprint user for several years my plan was to continue to stay with sprint because of the awesome phones and family plans they offer. If sprint goes to tiered data I will take my 5lines of service to verizon who offers excellent coverage in my area. My coverage with sprint is spotty I only stay because of the reasonable plans. Not any more!!!! See ya sprint!!!!

  • http://Website Ozualdo

    Oh well is like strike gold. Leverage on behalf not “always forever” like Don Hesse says. May be some new companies may arise outhere. Or more takeovers. I will shop around.

  • http://Website Alonso

    I hope not I use over 12gb of data a month. Not rooted I have the evo 3D

  • http://www.jimblogger.com JimBlogger

    Why would you offer unlimited plans to your customers, and then turn around and take that all back and cap them out? Why not just offer tierd l plans to begin with? Cell phone carriers are ripping us off as it is in this Country. Italians get unlimited EvERYTHING for $25 euro a month.

  • frettfreak

    how is this a$$hole gonna put out commercials BASHING all the other companies and then turn around and do the same thing!! What a fn Hippocrit!!

  • Jack L

    I

  • Jack L

    I do not think Sprint should go with tired data because the min they bring in allot of costomers then they will lose all of them after they go to tired data .. they could jsut add more spectrum to handle network traffic .. would be the best thing to do ..Pls sprint was built off of data soswitching off of Unlimited would kill there reputation.

  • Jack L

    Sorry I have made a few mistakes on my first two coments :-(