Sprint: All Smartphones to be Subject to $10 Data Premium


Just when we thought Sprint might give everyone a break on the $10 data premium for their 4G phones due to the lack of 4G rollouts as of late, they’ve announced that ALL smartphone owners – regardless of network capabilities – will be subject to a $10 data premium effective January 30th for all new activations. Yes, even the Transform, the Moment, and other lower-end models will get slapped with the charge.

The charge will assist Sprint in offering simple and affordable unlimited plans for its customers while maintaining a wireless network able to meet the growing appetite for a richer mobile experience.

We’ll buy it, Sprint. After all, you do still provide true unlimited data. Hit the source link for Sprint’s full break down and evaluation attempting to persuade you that the device-agnostic “$10 fee” is justified. [via Sprint]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Inb4theanger&cursing

  2. this might be a sign that they’re going to release a non-4g powerhouse phone. Either way this simifies things or me. I was hesitant to purchase a 4g phone for my girlfriend b/c of the extra fee. Now it doesn’t matter. Sprint is still the cheapest

  3. No, T-Mobile is the cheapest. Also, I got a great speed boost with T-Mobile’s 4G network even though I don’t have a 4G phone. Thanks, T-Mobile!!!

    I think the charge is BS still. I guess they figured they would just screw everybody over rather than screw over those with 4G phones that didn’t have a 4G connection.

    I hope Sprint uses this extra money to improve the training they give to their customer service reps. When I had Sprint, I had an issue that took 11 calls to find one who knew what they were doing. The other reps were very polite just clueless.

  4. Why not just raise the price of data plans? Not many people seriously use data plans without a smartphone, so why not have a little truth in advertising?
    Either way, you’re right; Sprint is still the best value. If anything, it seems to me this change might push people to the 4G offerings: “Well, if I have to pay an extra $10 a month anyway, might as well get the HTC EVO.”

  5. Once a “premium” becomes mandatory all across the board, it is no longer a premium but part of the regular price. I think Sprint thinks that they still have a monopoly on “4G” and can get away with taxing for it. I think I’ll be on T-mobile for the entirety of my next contract and enjoy the cheapest and fastest Data.

  6. So, does this mean the EVO and other Sprint 4G devices will get another $10 added to the current $10 surcharge (after Jan 30)?

  7. Eh, I could care less. I currently pay the extra charge because of my Evo, but Sprint is the only carrier that does offer truly unlimited data so, whatevs.

  8. Wow- just when we had a good thing, I think this charge is bogus. We have been charging $10 extra for 4G handets in our market for 7 months and we dont even have 4G service in our county 500,000 strong. That is taxation without representation. Shame on you Sprint….

  9. Please post your cost for T-Mobile Unlimited data and phone. I could have swore Sprint was cheapest at $69.99 a month.

  10. My unlimited Android internet is $25/mo grandfathered or $30/mo if i upgrade today. Vibrant. You know how much it would be if I had bought a G2 months ago instead? $25/mo or $30/mo if I upgraded.

  11. sprint you suck.

  12. Will Sprint new ads say, $79.99 a month unlimited data and phone?

  13. Haha, dont sweat the t-mobile spam. T-mobile users seem to suffer from little man’s disease because they’re never mentioned with the grown up service providers. I’ll say this (as a former t-mobile user) I always find it funny to read them beating their chests when I know point blank that they suck. And please dont start in about their customer service being the greatest on the planet because when your phone service sucks you better well have a damn good customer service department. As it stands, since switching to Sprint almost a year ago…I have not had to call customer service once. Which is better, not dropping calls and data or having a great customer service experience?

  14. @Tauran
    I just got a T-Mobile plan last week, 500 minutes + Unlimited Data for $55/month ($30 + $25). No contract (and no texting, I use Google Voice). Not a special deal, that’s their regular “Even More Plus” price.

  15. @Pimpstrong That is only for internet, how much is your plan as a whole? Because when comparing Sprint & T-Mobile side by side, Sprint is cheaper with T-Mobile following closely in 2nd. $69.99- unlimited text, data, mobile calls, 450min for landline calls(but who still uses landlines?), roaming, etc and $99 for unlimited everything (including landlines). T-mobile is the same price for unlimited everything, but have nothing to compete w/ the $69.99

  16. I have no problem with the pricing seeing as I’m already using the evo. I believe its still a better choice. You can upgrade after 12 months, with other companies its 20 to 24 months, they don’t cap you for using to much data(i use over 10gigs a month). They customer service has gotten waaaaay better, and as everyone else says they are truly unlimited. Every company has been changing pricing, T-Mobile won’t b too far behind. I get a 23% discount so it doesn’t bother me 1 bit, i’ll stick with Sprint

  17. Ah, things like this make me actually enjoy my T-Mobile UK £10 ($16) / month contract. (Not much else does!)

    100 mins
    Unlmited texts
    3GB data

    Even managed to get a reasonable chunk of subsidy towards my last phone.

  18. an agent is telling me this only effects 4G phones…
    someone is wrong here

  19. yep, agent was wrong of course. this doesn’t effect existing customers, though.

  20. affect

  21. I’ve been on the bubble about upgrading my Moment. The Epic and Evo Shift sound pretty nice, but I haven’t been in a big hurry to spend the bucks to upgrade (and maybe something even better is on the horizon). If I get one before the 30th, will I avoid this charge?


    (Which is why they’ll “buy it”)


  23. @danboy the agent wasnt wrong, this is a new policy that doesnt take place until Jan. 30th, so right now, the agent is right.

  24. I don’t understand. What phone would anyone want unlimited data that is not a smartphone? Why not just add $10/mo to their everything unlimited plan? Who in their right mind is going to want unlimited internet for their dumb phones anyway?

  25. Sprint – $79.99 ($69.99 +10) for unlimited MOBILE calls and 450 other minutes, unlimited messages/data
    T-mobile – $79.99 unlimited everything (if you purchase phone full retail/no contract or $99 with contract). Big difference if you call businesses/landlines for the same price

  26. so you only get the 79.99 if you pay full retail for the phone….in other words there is a catch. Seeing as how most ppl in the US wont do this, I still would consider T-mobile cheaper, seeing as how you have to pay more for the “cheaper” plan, whereas there is no catch w/ Sprint(aside from the $10 extra)

  27. *I meant to say I still WOULDN’T consider T-mobile cheaper lol

  28. So does this mean the contract is to change yet again regardless of what phone your on…. Does this mean that we can effectivly get out of our contracts if we chose to?

  29. @Me: Sprint – $79.99 ($69.99 +10) for unlimited MOBILE calls and 450 other minutes, unlimited messages/data
    T-mobile – $79.99 unlimited everything (if you purchase phone full retail/no contract or $99 with contract). Big difference if you call businesses/landlines for the same price


    Now factor in dropping calls and inexplicably losing data from your 15th floor apartment in the heart of downtown Richmond, Va – But hey you get a GREAT t-mobile customer service experience. -grin-

  30. I’m on a family plan with 4 other people so I can only say that my data plan costs me $25.

  31. That $10 fee is what kept me from signing up w/Sprint for an EVO. I would rather Sprint just flat out raise the price of their data plans than tack it on as a BS fee (all of their explanation of the fee is worse garbage than what a politician spits out).

    As for comment regarding Sprint being the cheapest & Tmobile bashing, well I can’t speak to your experience & past service w/Tmobile but I can say this:

    3000 minutes $169.99(S)/$139.99(T)
    2 addtl lines/addtl Data $40(S)/$50(T)
    Premium Data (4 lines) $40(S)/$0(T)
    Protection Plan $28(S)/$28(T)
    Monthly Total $277.99(S)/$217.99(T)
    Monthly Avg/Phone $69(S)/$54(T)

    That’s how it worked out for me anyway.

    Back to the main point of the article, that $10 fee is a BS charge for their 4G phones & it’s even more BS for their regular 3G phones.

  32. @Tauran: Paying per GB is still cheaper. Even if I used 10GB I would still pay much less than 70 bucks and honestly, who uses more than 2 or 3GBs on his smartphone?

  33. Did any of you click through to Sprint’s comparison chart. They actually compare their 450 minute plan to the other carriers’ unlimited plans and then say it is $35-$40 cheaper. Further down the page, a more honest comparison shows that T-Mobile has the lowest price for a ~500 minute plan with unlimited data. Thank god they announced this now…I was just thinking about switching to Sprint to save a few bucks. This sounds more like the Sprint I remember from many years ago…they lure you in with low prices, then add a bunch of fees later.

  34. @Robbert who doesn’t use more than 2GB per month with their smartphone? (Unless you only read emails and read news, in text, with your smartphone…)

    I just tracked 2 weeks of my data use – 1.8GB. I’m not even using it intensively to begin with, just watch a few clips/trailers on youtube here and there, play some games online and tether a little for my notebook.

  35. If you are in an are that has good tmo service, they really can’t be beat at speeds and price. Also, GSM kicks the shit out of CDMA, since I can look up something on the web while I’m on a call, no wifi necessary.

  36. i love my 49.99 unlimited everything and 25.00 unlimited data with NO PREMIUMS. Ty T-Mo.

  37. Sprint will not apply corporate discounts to the extra $10 charge.

  38. LOL, this basically means there is totally uncapped data on 3G and 4G now, none of that 5 GB cap BS. Pretty sweet.

  39. Since this changes the contract, Sprint customers should be allowed out of their contract no matter when it was renewed. That is unless Sprint’s contract language is different than whenever I used a price increase to break my contract a while back.

  40. @Brian:

    All due respect, it really depends on where you are. I have Tmo and my girl has Sprint after changing from Tmobile. She HATES it and complains all the time about her calls dropping and not being able to get a stable 3G (not even talking about 4G) connection now. Meanwhile, I enjoy 4G and havent dropped a call in over two years (since before the G1).

  41. I always assumed that $10 for the Evo and Epic were not actually 4G fees, but a way for Sprint to raise rates in a way that would prevent people from being able to cancel early (since it wasn’t technically forced on anybody). I’m assuming, they didn’t get too much pushback, except some threads in the forums, or perhaps there was some legal worries for people who were paying the $10 but didn’t get 4G coverage, and the only way to “prove” the $10 wasn’t for 4G was to charge everybody for it.

    Just not sure if this is a great idea though. Sprint just started getting back into the game, and now they are giving a lot of people an opportunity to drop the contracts early (I didn’t see anything about this being only on new contracts and renewals).

  42. @bmg314 Oh well, hell! Some chic is complaining about something…I better pay attention to that. -grin-

  43. After upping the price $10 they are still cheaper than Verizon and ATT. And they have the HTC Evo 4g. Now if they would only force the Froyo upgrade of the Epic.

  44. I had planned on switching From Verizon to Sprint when my contract is up in a few months. But this means my saving would go from nearly $15 per month to under $5 per month, for a network I’m not convinced will offer me the same coverage.

    Not worth it.

  45. Got this from Sprint … “The $10 Premium Data Fee is not a charge for 4G service. It is for a data rich experience with uncapped data usage. Hence, if the 4G coverage is presently not available in your area, the $10.00 charge is still applicable for using the features of the HTC EVO phone.” The rest of the email is an advertisement for the Evo.

  46. @Penguin
    If they are smart, as has been said many times, it will be a flat fee increase. I would call it $79.99 with a $10 discount on non-smart phones (for “all” the people that would even go for this plan without a smartphone).

  47. @Bob: we used to be on a family plan with verizon (3 lines) and two are smartphones and one is a “regular” phone — even with a corporate discount of 22%, we are still paying anywhere from $290 – $320, depending if we are calling other countries. with sprint, for almost the same plan (Everything Data Family Plan, with the addition of the $20 for two Evo’s), we are paying about $145 with the corporate discount. My coverage in my house isn’t great either, let me tell you. it’s like a blackhole of cellular signals. Sprint, not wanting to lose me as a customer, gave me a “mini cell tower” of sorts which hooks up to my FiOS, so now I have unlimited calling service inside my house, to any phone line, free for two years!

  48. sorry bob…i meant my comment to be for michael…;-P

  49. @shift_fast, i have unlimited everything with tmobile for 79.99.

  50. @moises…just wondering…how much did you buy your phone for, as opposed to getting the reduced price, for $99/mo?

  51. For the questions of T-mobile 79.99 vs 99.99. It’s cheaper (usually) to just buy the phone outright, than pay the extra monthly for the contract term.

    To the comment of Sprint is cheaper than Verizon. Yes, but marginally. I had service from Verizon, Sprint, and Tmo (same time to test, also had AT&T but not during the same period of time) and Sprint was less than $4 (around $3.87 if I recall exactly) cheaper than my Verizon line each month (Verizon $89 Sprint $69+10). Sprint has literally the highest taxes/fees/administrative charges of all the carriers here and assume they aren’t very different elsewhere on that aspect. I text/email way more than I talk on the phone so their “mobile to any mobile” didn’t benefit me. As to the Sprint has the EVO: Verizon has the Thunderbolt coming next month, so that levels the playing field a bit more.

  52. @Brian: AT&T is the only carrier I’ve actually dropped calls with in the last four years.

  53. See what happens when you bitch about premium data being a 4g charge. No good can come from bitching besides more rules

  54. @me: you may have a point there…but my numbers speak for themselves — over $100 savings over Verizon per month.

  55. I have been a happy Sprint customer (EVO) for years and this won’t change a thing. I wish they would just call it a $79.99 plan, but, that just isn’t the way with phone companies. I have to ask: why is everyone bothering to compare “minutes” in their plan comparisons? With Sprint’s everything plan all mobile to mobile (any carrier, not just Sprint) and night and weekend calls are included, so your “minutes” are only for calls to landlines during weekdays. I haven’t used more than 10 minutes a month for the past year. That leaves truly unlimited data, plus the $10. Also, since they brought their call centers back to the U.S. a year or so ago, their customer service is much better.

  56. dont panic, this is likely only a temporary thing. they are doing this in order to raise a little money before they do something big… such as brining LTE to their network while also having WIMAX

  57. I have Sprint and I am in San Jose CA. I am not picking up 4G in all the parts of San Jose CA. It needs to be better than this. I probably get it abt 30-40% 4G coverage. Agree with Dean that Sprint still sucks at customer service. I had cancel my auto pay bill and it took about 20 calls. Most of their C/S staff are worth crap. I know more about their products than them. Way to go Dan

  58. To each his own. I have sprint and with 5 lines I’m paying less than 200 bucks per month unlimited everything (this includes a employee discount though) I have no issues with sprint coverage and I have friends who have T-Mo service with no coverage issues. I’d love to go with T-Mo since they have better android phones when compared to sprint sans the Evo and Epic, but sadly they’ve yet to offer me a monthly payment close to what I’m paying now with sprint.

  59. Thinking iPhone4 “3G data” only announcement 2/7/11 after Sprint announcing this….

  60. @Chris M: That’s exactly the same situation I have. I’ve thought about TMo for a while now, but Sprint still offers better rates on equivalent plans.

  61. i have a $20 unlimited (5 gb per month [which i can easily bypass thanks to xda]) data plan on my vibrant with t-mobile.

  62. This counts for Blackberries to right?

  63. Seeing that they have the cheapest plans (other then Virgin prepaid) I don’t see this as a deal breaker but it would have been nice if Sprint could have held the line on monthly data charges.

  64. I do not buy this whole “This is not for 4G” garbage. Sprint has to pay Clear for every phone out there that is able to receive 4G if the phone can get it or not. So, how do you pay this fee? make all 4G phones pay more so they can pass some money on to Clear and keep the rest.

    I for one live in an area that will probably not see 4G for ever, so they way I look at it I am paying for someone else to get 4G and supposedly the massive downloads that I do with my smartphone.

    *****Also, you will not be able to get out of your contract with this as they are not forcing this change on your current contract only when you try to activate a new phone or upgrade.*****

  65. I’m with Tmobile. I really want to leave them but Sprint does turn out more expensive when you add the $10 fee. For all you defending them, why? It’s not 69.99+10. It’s 79.99. Sprint nickles and dimes too much. I mean, if you go buy a TV at a store and see a tv for $799, you can’t expect to walk in the store with just $799.

  66. Though I must say Sprint comes out cheaper if you have a job. They give you discounts for eveything. My job gives me a %25 discount…

  67. For the record guys, T-Mobile has very mediocre 4g, Sprint has the 2nd best 4G network, just behind Verizon which has the Droids and the worlds fastest 4G (No, I don’t have Verizon, I have Sprint)

  68. Guess I gotta upgrade my 3 phones before the 30th… Sprint, sorry, but your infrastructure is ALREADY in place and well positioned to carry the data load of the smartphones. These FEE’S are really just a $$$ grab because you CAN, being that all the other carriers are charging it as well. Now, I would imagine the TRAP is this… SPRINT shortly after this DATA EXPERIENCE FEE will announce a few new handsets that will draw some sales and activations causing a slight blip increase in contract revenue. But ultimately, it better be good, cause this action is not going to help stem the flow of customers leaving. I’ve been faithful and with Sprint from the beginning, but this $$$ play is not sitting well… Tisk Tisk.

  69. This would be OK with me, given that it’s still a relatively inexpensive plan, if I were actually getting 3g speeds with sprint. 150kbps down is not a 3g speed, when people around here are getting 1k+ on AT&T and Verizon.

  70. @Dean, T-mobile doesn’t have 4G.

  71. How bout big red? 3 lines, unlimited data, unlimited text, unlimited nights and weekends, unlimited verizon to verizon, 10 friends and family, 2000 anytime minutes…around $76 per line, $230 total. On a network that doesn’t drop calls, muuuuch better custy service, and on a hands-down proven-better network. I had sprint, and always dropped calls, missed texts. Switched to verizon little over 4 years ago and NEVER dropped a call, NEVER saw my phone without signal. Value in wireless bill means nothing when it doesn’t work. And for my math for nay sayers, 120+30+10+30+10+30=$230/3=$76.66. Not to mention their smartphones talk free promo which gives a $10/mo credit for new smartphones…went on all during holidays, think tomorrow is last day. Not to mention better phones, MUCH better 4g network that’s almost as big as sprint’s, and they didn’t even roll out 4g phones yet! (btw, i wrote this post assuming we’re still calling sprints network 4g)

  72. This is an overall bad decision by Sprint. At a time when Verizon is hyping up the iPhone 4, many people are reconsidering their carrier options. Verizon is known for their superior network, which customers pay for, and the iPhone is the most popular phone. Sprint’s charging $10 for 3G (not even 4G) data plans that include budget phones like the Sprint Optimus S. It is overwhelming/sickening to see the carrier advertisement battles. Sprint had previously taken baby steps forward with its customer service and overall network, but this additional $10 charge is a huge step back.

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