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.