Sprint to Officially Switch to Tiered Data for Mobile Hotspot and Mobile Broadband [Smartphones Next?]


It’s been rumored for quite some time that Sprint would be switching to capped data for their mobile hotspot users (those using their phones as WiFi hotspots for other devices) but it’s now and official. And more than that, it looks like the fun (or the lack thereof) will be spreading to 4G mobile broadband users, those who use data cards and dedicated hotspot devices.

Simply put, you’ll have either 3GB, 5GB, or 10GB of allowed data, though going over those amounts on your respective plan will cost you mucho dinero. Details can be found in the chart above where Sprint had the common decency to break it down for all their customers to see (or weep at).

So the question remains – when are smartphones getting the treatment? Although much has been said about Sprint’s willingness to stick with unlimited data in order to separate themselves from the competition, their recent actions suggest it won’t be much longer before all that has gone the way of the dodo.

As Sprint gears up to launch their LTE network in the middle of next year, they may be moved to distance themselves from the very philosophy that has many sticking with them through the rough patches.

Perhaps it’s due to the iPhone 4S’ launch. Recent reports have suggested that Sprint’s network has unsurprisingly worsened since the iPhone 4S launched. Data speeds were already pathetic so they probably have no choice but to attempt to decongest speeds this way until their network vision upgrades are complete.

In any case, I’d be worried about the future of unlimited data on Sprint regardless of what they say in ads, official statements and press releases. No one ever really wants to say they’re bringing the cat out of the bag until they actually do it. [via, source]

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. Yeah wasn’t it the iphone that ultimately brought the tiered data to ATT? I figured this would happen when Sprint got an iPhone. Ahh well, I’ll be lucky to get my Verizon unlimited when I get the galaxy nexus.

  2. Sprint not being tiered is the only thing attracting Any attention whatsoever.

    Once that’s over, say goodbye to any new customers

  3. Say goodbye to not only new customers, but existing customers. I’m GONE!!

    ATT or Verizon? Thats the question for me. I’m leaning to Verizon. Thoughts?

    1. I’d say T-mobile, but if its between those two, then Verizon

      1. I would say T-Mobile too. I was with them, so if the merger doesn’t go through, you should go with them. They have the next least expensive national company rates, and at least they throttle their speeds instead of charging for overages of data.

  4. Given the massive advertising push by Sprint recently to promote their unlimited data plans, I’d say this amounts to a bait-and-switch. If they change the terms of service for existing smart-phone customers as well as new customers, like they recently did with their upgrade policies, I think customers might have solid ground for a class-action lawsuit. There is already talk of one over how they handled the recent debacle with the 2.3 update for Optimus S users.

    Sprint seems to be going out of their way to piss off their customers as of late. I am one of those pissed off customers myself.

  5. Doesnt Sprint know the only reason theyre relevant is because of their unlimited outlook? They better not get rid of unlimited phone data!

  6. Just a heads up to everyone who commented before, you’re free to do so about the story at hand. Please keep the comments section clean and forward any concerns using one of the forms here.

  7. Seems like all cell companies are going backwards. All these new streaming services and apps that will take up more data, but we get less and less data to use. They should equip there networks to handle more people as it is the future when more people have a smart phone. I don’t believe the iPhone as an excuse for carriers when many people had all these different android phones

    1. I agree. I just hope some one holds these carriers to some kind of ” truth in advertising” standard. If your network can’t honestly provide its customers with the “unlimited” service they pay for, you should have to stop lying about it in your ads, or pay a hefty fine until you can!

  8. Sprint’s network has gotten worse and worse over the last year or so. IMO they’re not holding up their end of the contract. The service they’re providing is terrible. I’m referring to the 3G since I don’t live in a 4G city. I’m ditching Sprint after years of being with them. The question is, where to go? They all suck in some way.

    1. Sadly.. if I ever leave Sprint, I would go back to “charge up the wazoo” Verizon. I still get a corporate discount of 25% with them so it’s no big deal, but it just sucks to get tiered data, especially having super quick LTE.

    2. Tea Mobile (if the merger fails)

  9. Funny, I just got a letter that used the importance to customers of keeping unlimited data as justification for eliminating the Premier program…

    As long as I can keep my unlimited plan at a significantly lower cost than VZ I am staying, but if either of those changes I am heading to big red.

  10. I can almost guarantee that they will get rid of unlimited data for phones. Every carrier before them followed this path:
    Raise early termination fees — Check
    Change upgrade rules — Check
    Remove Unlimited data for Hotspots — Check
    Remove Unlimited data for Smartphones —

    Unfortunately, Sprint has a tendency to make all of their changes affect existing customers, so there probably wont be a grandfather option like AT&T or Verizon did.

    1. Then that should be a breach of contract on their part so no need to pay an ETF to switch if that happens.

      1. and sprint knows there are ALOT of people waiting to jump ship

  11. Just yesterday I priced out comparable services on both Sprint and Verizon. I currently get a LOT more services with Sprint for much less money.

    Moving away from unlimited plans and/or raising prices would make me shop around more often.

  12. If the IPhone is the cause, why don’t the networks impose a special rate for iPhone users which would charge more due to the fact that its causing havok on 3g networks?

    1. Because Apple wouldn’t allow them to get their preciouses without “leveling” the playing field.

  13. If no unlimited data what reason do I have to stay with sprint, AT&T and Verizon BOTH have 4G in my town and T-MO has 42+ Hspa and Sprint is only pulling down a 0.54 mbps on, Sprint is pathetic.

    1. Here in NYC, I’m averaging anywhere between 0.95mb/s – 1.24mb/s. It should be better than that, but I’m not complaining.

    2. LMAO! I dont even get that slow with 3g (with t-mobile)

  14. Unless current accounts get grandfathered in with the unlimited plan, when my contract is up, I’d probably jump ship; unless Sprint still stays cheaper than the competition. But they should learn from Netflix and Bank of America that corporate greed isn’t too popular right now. They’d be stupid to push their luck with the only feature keeping them relevant.

  15. Uh oh. Sounds like in a year they’ll be capping phone users too.

    What the heck is going on? In the beginning, we had data caps. Then people started using data more so everybody went to unlimited as a selling point. Now with faster speeds and all this cloud crap we’re being encouraged to use more data, and they bring data caps back.

  16. Unlimited data is the only selling point for sprint. That’s the only reason I’m with them. , they will lose millions of customers if they do away with unlimited data. the only way I think it could work though is if the 10gb plan matches the price of their current plan or even charge a little less. Let the most expensive plan be the unlimited but offer tiered data at lower prices.

  17. I just switched to Sprint not so long ago because of the everything plan, not because of outstanding call service, that goes to Verizon or US Cellular. I had Verizon with the grandfathered unlimited plan. Unfortunately I was consistently overcharged and even though I had made many attempts to reason with customer service about this issue, it was never properly addressed. Sprint could come out way ahead if they just stay with the unlimited option plan.

    1. This only applies to data cards/hotspot, not the phones.. Phones (at this point) are still unlimited.

  18. the iphone givith and the iphone taketh away. All ‘unlimited’ data plans have gone bye bye in the wake of the iphone being introduced to a carrier.

  19. Well look at it like this fandroids….if we didn’t have soooooo many pretend iPhones crowding the market AFTER the iPhone was introduced, then we wouldn’t have this problem now, would we??? As purchasers of pretend iPhones you only have yourselves to blame….lol

    1. You’re an iSheep who frequents an Android fan site…… LOOOOOL. Get a life!

  20. I believe in Old Yellow, and I really and honestly think that they are doing this until they get their new network under way. Once the new LTE is out, I think that Smartphone users can rest easy. Sprint really needed to take some unneeded strain off their network until Network Vision is finished. Consider this a hopeful step in the right direction. I trust Sprint, they have a method to their madness.

  21. Its a shame because I switched from T-Mobile to Sprint in April mainly because of their limited data, and I would be bummed if Sprint does the same. Hopefully not, but it wouldn’t be suprising. They better back up their talk if they’re going to keep showing unlimited data commercials, or they’ll look like hypocrites. And no one likes a hypocrite. :P

  22. goodbye Sprint, your unlimited plan was the only reason i was staying with you. i have to move now since Verizon will certainly raise their rates when you go belly up and I want to be grandfathered in.

  23. iPhones and it’s users — destroying one network at a time…haha.

    However, this shows how weak USA carriers are….add more towers damn it, everyone know you greedy basters sucking as much $$ from your customer as possible!!

  24. Please as long as they keep smartphone data unlimited, I’m not complaining about that premium data $10 add-on fee.

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