Nov 11 AT 5:30 PM Taylor Wimberly 26 Comments

Sprint to remove $10 monthly premium for its 4G handsets?

When Sprint launched the HTC EVO 4G many customers were confused about the mandatory $10 “4G fee”, which was described as a “first-class seat on a plane.”

We had no issue with Sprint charging extra for the advanced speeds offered by their 4G WiMAX network, but the problem is that many customers live outside the 4G coverage area and yet they were still stuck with the fee.

That could be changing soon according to a SEC filing made by Clearwire. The document reveals that some 810,000 customers are out there with an EVO 4G or Epic 4G, but they are located outside a 4G area and Sprint has begun to bicker over what they are paying Clearwire per customer.

Clearwire is currently struggling to finance their network build out and recently announced they were cutting 15% of their workforce. Sprint has poured billions into Clearwire and would be in major trouble if they defaulted on their loans, but I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. Several Sprint execs recently resigned from Clearwire’s board, but Sprint controls 54% of Clearwire.

Whatever happens Sprint still owns the majority of Clearwire, which is badly in need of money. We have reported that T-Mobile was in talks with Clearwire to possibly help fund their network buildout, but I doubt that Sprint wants that to occur (unless they decide to take their losses and run).

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if WiMAX fails or not. Clearwire still owns more wireless spectrum than anyone else and they could switch to LTE in a couple of years. The only problem with that idea is that the first-gen of LTE gear is major expensive and Clearwire can only afford to stick with WiMAX for the near future.

If a bidding war erupts over Clearwire’s spectrum, I’ll put my money with T-Mobile and their parent company Deutsche Telekom.

Via: FierceWireless

Source: SEC

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website sct

    I really hope they drop the fee. It would drop my monthly bill dramatically!

    • http://Website John B.

      $10 is a dramatic drop?

      • http://Website bobby

        For 5 lines it is

  • http://Website Tito!

    Welcome: To The Sunny Side of T-Mobile. :)

    • http://Website Richard

      T-mobile needs sprint to improve there fake HSPA plus network….the time has come for sprint to buy t-mobile outright so the customers can have real 4G service like our current evo and epic customers….HTC EVO RULES ANDROID

      • http://Website Hans

        Ahh,you’re such a delusional troll. :]
        No network currently has true 4G. True 4G is download speeds of at least 100mbps(if I’m not wrong). From what I’ve read, T-Mobile’s HSPA+(after upgrades) and LTE will be true 4G later down the road.

        And the Evo rules android? I think not. Is it a great phone? Yeah, it is. But certainly not the best.

        • http://Website Richard

          Oh HANS your just a dweeb…The HTC evo has been since June 4th 2010 the best device on android on the best carrier PERIOD….PROVE OTHERWISE I’M SURE YOU CAN’T

  • http://Website watbetch

    Sprint should stop bullshitting people. The reason for the extra $10 was bogus. If it’s not for 4G what else could it be for besides them charging extra just because they can and need the extra money desperately themselves. They already have a 3G network (cheap upgrade from 1xRTT; most of was already 3G before these two phones launched) and the $69.99 plan already had unlimited data..

    T-Mobile clearly has no interest in WiMAX. They dogged it pretty badly, the most they want from Clearwire is spectrum for their LTE network, which is set to launch in 18-24 months. LTE doesn’t require a lot of spectrum, so they can reallocate some AWS spectrum for LTE, spectrum isn’t the reason why they don’t have an LTE network in the works right now.

  • http://Website Kali Kid

    Well, I can tell you this….. I used to work for Clearwire and I was directly funded by the WiMAX project dealing with AMDOCS & Sprint. 120Mil later and still nothing it is quite Havoc over there!!!! Believe me when I tell you NO ONE wants to BUY Clear-Clearwire Spectrum.

    Look at it this way they are about 5.5 Billion i Debt and have revenue near 95 Million to date!

    Can you say insolvent…….

    When they but the Spectrum out there for sale no one looked at it. It was as if it never happened.

  • Mustin

    God please let it be true. I’m a happy Sprint customer but the charge is B.S.

  • http://Website Mark

    Good riddance!!

  • http://Website steve

    Its not like they lied about the price of the product up front. If you don’t like the price, then buy something else. There is lots of Android competition, unlike some other smartphone platforms.

  • http://Website MW

    The bad thing about the charge, is that they are not even the fastest network out there. Both T-Mobile and AT&T’s 3G network are faster.

    However the worst thing is how do you charge customers for something they are not delivering.

    As long as the customers put up with this crap, Sprint will keep on doing it. When Sprint tried to charge me for things I wasn’t receiving I took them all the way through the process of canceling my service then finally the last person I talked to decided to get rid of the excess fee. Unfortunately it put a bad taste in my mouth and wasn’t enough. As soon as my contract was up I was gone. Accept it and they will keep on doing it. Take a stance and they will be forced to treat their customers with respect.

    • http://Website Richard

      You have to be kidding me right…at&t is the worst network around t-mobile is also a joke they claim 4G but have problems with there current 3g services people can’t even get a signal in buildings downtown here in newyork t-mobile is a joke….sprint is the only 4G service in the united states customer service with sprint is great if you have a problem they fix it right there on the spot…you sound like some kind of iPhone boy or frustrated Verizon customer…..HTC evo rules android.

      • http://Website Mufasa

        Uhh.. I don’t think T-Mo is that bad.. I’m getting 3G speeds of 4.5mbps on my Vibrant without paying premium fees and my EVO 4G friend is paying $10 for speeds up to 0.7 – 1.0mbps. In fact I make fun of him everyday for his lagging speed… LOL

        • http://Website teamcha0s

          i had tmobile for almost a year. it was the worst service i could have possibly aid for. i live in Orlando fl and could barely get a signal anywhere. there was HUGE pockets in the network where i would go from so called 3g to absolutely no service. it was so bad in fact tmobile waived my termination fee after i was in a car accident and my phone had absolutely no service at all to call for help. i switched over to “regional provider” metropcs bc tmobile told me that i had 24hrs to get my number ported if i wanted to keep my number otherwise they were just going to disconnect my service. surprisingly i had better reception and faster speeds on a regional carrier than the national carrier tmobile. tmobile is not worth half of what they charge for their service

        • http://Website Richard

          Mufasa you need to stop I have an EVO and was in a t mobile store in the Bronx new York and challenged a t-mobile employee with his MYTOUCH 4G against my HTC EVO 4G to a speed test were I got consistent download speeds of 8219 and upload speeds of 2685 speed inside the t-mobile store his phone reading ”H” and my phone reading 4g…His speeds were download 3673 and upload 1004 and we did 4 instore test in front of many people…..Even the manager was surprised how BADLY MY EVO WIPED THE FLOOR WITH THAT MYTOUCH 4G WHICH REALLY IS A 3G PHONE ON A 3G NETWORK….NOTICE HOW THE EVO HAS SWITCHES THAT CAN BE TURNED ON AND OFF….IE 3G,4G,WIFI,ALL TOGGLES CAN BE TURNED ON AND OFF ANYTIME ON THE EVO….WHERE ARE THE TOGGLES ON THE MYTOUCH 4G WHERE ARE THE 4G TOGGLES HTC MADE THIS PHONE JUST LIKE THEY MADE THE EVO SO WHY IS THERE NO 4G OR HSPA TOGGLE???….ALL FAKE THAT’S WHY

  • http://Website In The Know

    The title of this article is slightly misleading, how do you come to the conclusion that Sprint might remove the $10 premium?

    • LjNj_RC51

      Good point…

    • http://Website Nik

      I was just about to say the same thing.

      Hey Taylor, could you at least put a “Rumor” or “Speculation” tag up in that title somewhere? My (and I’m sure many others) hopes shot up just at that title alone….but there’s next to no evidence of it in the article present (unless I need to go back to first grade and learn to read again, lol)

      Good article and all though, just saying.

  • Techblogger

    This would make me smile.

  • http://Website bjhoppy

    All depends on where you are. I had AT&T here in Mpls and they sucked. Multiple dropped calls a day and at times I couldn’t get on the internet. With Sprint I haven’t had any dropped calls and on 4G I have hit 10mbps.

  • Uncemister

    I don’t have sprint, but I think that’s still a good idea. Sprint customers shouldn’t have to be paying extra for something they’re not getting.

  • http://Website Feech

    The thing about the charge is that all along Sprint has lied to customer that purchased the EVO and Epic. All along they have said that they the 10 dollar charge was not for 4G. On the web site even now it says “Because we’ve boosted your data experience with this phone’s amazing services and features, you’ll need our $10/mo. Premium Data add-on plus one of the plans below”

    and this quote from Sprint spokesperson John Taylor ” If you buy the Sprint 4G EVO, you have to pay this $10 charge each month. This is specific to the device. It’s not related to whether you are using 3G or 4G. It is required if you have the phone. Because the phone has a faster processor, a huge 4.3 inch screen and an 8 megapixel camcorder/camera, we expect you will be using a lot more data than you would with our other devices. These features will give you capabilities that have previously never been available on a wireless device and we think they provide a premium experience. (Remember, this is the world’s first 3G/4G Android phone.)”

    As customers that were not in an area covered by 4G and now hearing that Sprint was indeed “kicking back” to Clearwire but not for customers outside of 4G territory clearly confirms what we all believed to begin with, they were charging us for a service they were not providing.

  • http://Website Mike

    Sprint is charging the 10$ because they know you dumb asses will pay for it, just like you gave up your lunch money. Pussies! Give up your oversize, designed for the visual impaired and elderly phone you call EVO, grow a sack and switch to a different carrier.

    • http://Website Mike is the dumbass

      I think your post clearly shows who the dumbass is.