Nov 14 AT 11:50 AM Anthony Domanico 51 Comments

Remember those braggart Sprint unlimited commercials? Yeah, neither do they.


UPDATE: Sprint dropped us an email to make sure you guys knew this new tiered data structure did not apply to smartphones, and there were no plans to remove unlimited data from their smartphone plans at this time. That being said, several Sprint users (myself included) have been reporting horrible 3G speeds since the iPhone was launched a few weeks back. For the heck of it, I ran a few 3G speed tests over the past half hour, and am averaging 100kbps down, 40 kbps up. Though they’re going to try to re-focus some of their spectrum on the old Nextel frequencies, we have a feeling the end of the unlimited data era is quickly going to be upon us. But again, that’s just our opinion. What do you think?

Oh Sprint, you really nailed it with those unlimited commercials when you launched them a few months back, but how quickly you take away your main differentiating factor.

Sprint has confirmed that they are moving away from offering unlimited plans for all non-smartphone devices except for smartphones starting today. Instead, Sprint will be offering the customary tiered data plans that customers of AT&T and Verizon have come to expect from their carriers. Sprint will be offering the following plans to all new and existing customers:

  • Tablets-only: $20 per month for 1 GB of data
  • Tablets + Hotspot: $35 per month for 3 GB
  • Tablets + Hotspot: $50 per month for 6 GB
  • Tablets + Hotspot: $80 per month for 12 GB

This move gives Sprint the cheapest tablet and hotspot data packages, providing users with the most GB bang for their buck. That being said, Sprint hasn’t exactly been offering the best in the way of data speeds, with users reporting 3G speeds that are similar to what I experienced on T-Mobile’s 2G Edge network (100kbps down/up).

This is quite a bold move for Sprint, though not unexpected. We reported a while back that Sprint was going to move their tablets, mobile hotspots and netbook devices away from unlimited data, and this is simply their move coming to fruition. Furthermore, we speculated that it was only a matter of time before they would move their smartphone data plans away from the world of the unlimited as well, something that’s more and more likely as Sprint’s network continues to deliver sub-optimal performance.

In our opinion, the era of truly unlimited mobile data is all but over. Though they have adamantly denied this notion, even a re-purposing of their Nextel Network and development of a 4G LTE network likely indicate the beginning of the end for Sprint’s unlimited plans. I guess time will tell.

Source: Sprint

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • Clark Wimberly

    *golfclap* for the headline

  • Galen20K

    was just a matter of time, we all knew it was coming.

    • Giggity

      That’s what she said…

  • Lex

    By ‘bold move’ don’t you mean “WTF, SPRINT??!!!” ?

  • shanikwa johnson

    I think you made a mistake. I don’t think this change applies to smartphones.

    • Anthony Domanico

      You’re correct. It doesn’t. We caught it within a few minutes and updated the story, then heard more from a few Sprint reps and updated again. Seriously though, Sprint’s 3G is crawling, and nobody on our team believes Sprint will have Unlimited data for long.

      • Futureboy

        I like the double correction… ” for all non-smartphone devices except for smartphones”

        You should add… “which doesn’t apply to smartphones and excludes smartphones.”

  • josh

    Funny, I just saw one of their Unlimited ads before a movie at the theater last night. RIP “Unlimited data”.

  • Eric Farley

    This is an epic fail since Sprint’s data is already useless and the only redeeming factor they had going for them was that I had unlimited “non-existent” data (400Kbps 3G download speeds at best, 75Kbps is a more typical speed) and now they want to cap that and charge more… Yeah I can’t wait to not be in this worthless contract, but at least my Sprint Galaxy S2 makes an excellent paper weight when I don’t have WiFi

  • Dee

    I didn’t know it was possible to use 6GB in Sprint data…

    • crickerman

      this is so sad because its true :-/ 6gb with sprint’s speeds …. takes a lot of effort lol

      • Anthony Domanico

        That’s not necessarily true. I’ve hit the 5GB mark for all 4 months I’ve been with Sprint. Granted, I’m fortunate to be in a 4G area.

        • Randall D

          From looking at my usage for this month, I used 6 GB 3G Data and 47 GB 4G data…

          3G is slow in my area, but 4G gets me around 10mbps down and 1mbps up.

          • Anthony Domanico

            Are you sure you’re converting that right? Post what it shows you in KB.

  • Kathie

    You said: “Sprint has confirmed that they are moving away from offering unlimited plans for all devices BUT PHONES starting today.” [my emphasis]. So this does not apply to cell phones.

    • Orion78

      It’s not applying to smartphones. Sprint is keeping that….at least for now.

  • WarDrake

    i don’t understand how the carriers in the US all compete to see which one of them can screw their customers the most…

    • Deter

      At least when Verizon started their limited plans it was only for new customers and as long as people who had it were smart enough not to change, they are still unlimited. Sprint is forcing all existing customers to these plans. I think they win.

  • triangle

    “Sprint has confirmed that they are moving away from offering unlimited plans for all devices but phones starting today.”

    Anthony stated that phones are not being impacted, but I think it should be highlighted that smartphones are not impacted. The vast majority of people on Sprint will not see any change, but if you use their hotspots, tablets or aircards, then you’re probably not too happy with the end of the unlimited plans.

    • Galen20K

      not yet Triangle, but its inevitable. Smart phones will soon follow on restricted data plans, just wait just a bit longer and it’ll be true.

      • triangle

        Agreed. But the important thing right now is that their smartphone plans are still unlimited. You can’t sign up for a new unlimited smartphone plan at Verizon and AT&T.

  • Andre

    This is for Mobile Broadband plans. Doesn’t effect the unlimited data plans.

    • Galen20K

      not yet, but they will. *nods**

  • @BiGMER F

    wow they must have found out Richard left..lmao.. Anyway does that leave Tmo as the only unlimited , i know its throttled.. but no overage charge

    • Richard Yarrell

      I’m pretty sure some other chances will take place as months move into 2012. Personally I am happy with my 10gb for 50 dollars on verizon. It’s a win win for me because I know I will never use 10gb in one month and LTE on verizon is simply amazing. I always have a great signal now everyday.

      • snowbdr89

        Ill give dick some props he pulled his head out of sprints ass an realized big red is worth the extra cost for lte

        • Richard Yarrell

          You are 100% on point I definitely made a big mistakes underestimating Verizon. This is really fun

  • watbetch

    Sprint = SNAKES.

    Watch how fast they snatch away unlimited data when they realize the money it will cost to get their network capacity up to Verizon levels.

    • watbetch

      unlimited data on *phones

  • Zheldon

    Well at least the stage is set for someone to have the genius plan of offering unlimited data to get unlimited customers.

  • Starship

    I welcome Sprint users to the land of shattered dreams – Now if you’re lucky to have been grandfathered in to an unlimited plan (i know they haven’t done cell phones…. yet) you’re now locked into that carrier for life.

  • Greg

    This article does nothing but cause confusion. Make the facts clear before thinking too much about witty headlines.

  • devine

    This is just the beginning. Trust and believe by next yr. Unlimited on sprint will be no more. Only a matter of time.

  • AndriodFan

    Once Sprint ax their smartphone unlimited data plan Verizon and AT&T will give the middle finger to those grandfathered customers on unlimited plans. Also If when Sprint take away their unlimited smartphone plans that will be the day they die. If the 3 major wireless carriers only offer tiered data plans I will jump to Verizon.

  • ben dover

    I won’t cry if they include smartphones soon as well…

    It’ll give me a reason not to pay my ETF on two phones when I leave their network anyway!

  • Nate B.

    I don’t think this applies to phones.

  • Gekko

    the commercial posted CLEARLY referred to Smartphones.

    bad article.

  • Mark

    I remember the days of the G1 when you just paid for data and that was it. Now carriers have realized the money bags in data and have turned data into something like minutes. Shame really.

  • snowbdr89

    What’s a bit confusing to me is when I went to a vzw store to pay my bill an saw a prepaid section sayin unlimited everything for alot cheaper then a post paid account.. same service

  • Beyene
  • GreyBeard

    Horribly confusing article, make the facts straight or don’t bother writing about it. #fail

  • pekosROB

    I thought Sprint hasn’t offered unlimited data for non-phone devices for awhile now? Hasn’t it been over a year or two that they haven’t offered unlimited on these devices? Or was it something like unlimited 4G but not 3G on their overdrive devices?

    Either way it doesn’t really effect me.

    • Anthony Domanico

      Yeah, for a while they limited one but not the other. Now they’re capping all non-smartphone data. But seriously, does anyone not think they’ll cap smartphone data at some point?

      • pekosROB

        It’ll probably eventually happen (the cap that is on smartphones), but it really is their main selling point.

        Unlimited or not, I switched to Verizon before the unlimited data cut off this past summer and paid about $125 ETF to Sprint. Why? Because I was pulling down less than 300 kbps CONSISTENTLY. Uplink rate was around 100-300 kbps. Completely abysmal. And since I don’t live in a 4G area (and even if I did it’d kill my battery), that was just too slow.

        When I first had gotten my EVO the data speeds were easily over 1.5 mbps for downlink and definitely over 1 mbps uplink. Hell I think I even got 2-2.5 mbps downlink consistently at times, I just remembered it was almost always above 1.5 mbps. Then after about 6 months the data speeds just got SLOW. Things took forever to load, files wouldn’t download, apps would hang.

  • http://none shawn

    I teather i use upwards of 150 to 180 gb a month, why is it america is now making us pay more for less service… wtf is going on in this country

  • BOB

    bound to happen, just didn’t expect it for another year or so

    • BOB

      god i love prepaid android :)

  • jlschulz

    I dumped Sprint after 10 years yesterday, tired of empty promises on 4 g that I was being charged 10$ for and not getting, and Verizon had the rezound and double data special. Goodbye Sprint, you used to be such a good company.

  • sean b.

    Kill the IPhone and keep my unlimited data.

  • Dboy352

    I don’t think Sprint will change the unlimited data plans at all. If they do then what will they have over any other carrier besides maybe a plan that is $20-$30 cheaper a month? I hear everyday all these people now that are paying (with and without tiered data) about $15 more with other carriers, but they actually get service in areas that Sprints coverage is lacking. In all fairness Sprints service is ok, but coverage is pretty bad. For the price it is now if they were to tier data they would lose a lot of customers to other carriers, no doubt about it. Their coverage of 4g will improve in 2013 when they roll out 4G LTE but that will require a 4G LTE device which none of the current 4G phones support.

  • pritams

    bad for ‘em….