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Sprint Raises Price Of Smartphone 3G Data Plans

1/18/2011 11:45:37 AM Eastern

Overland Park, Kan. - Sprint is
raising the price of its postpaid plans with unlimited-data use for new 3G
smartphones.

Beginning Jan. 30, the 3G/4G
carrier will charge an additional $10/month for unlimited-data use through
newly activated 3G smartphones. The charge had previously been levied only on
the carrier's 4G smartphone plans.

Sprint, which does not offer
tiered data plans with usage caps, cited the high cost of maintaining its
network in the face of exploding data usage. "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," the company said.

Sprint plans with voice minutes
and unlimited data start at $69.99/month for 450 voice minutes. The next step
up is $89.99 with 900 voice minutes. The data plans include unlimited web
browsing, unlimited use of cloud-based navigation, music streaming and video
streaming. The plans also include unlimited text, picture and video messaging.

Despite the increase, Sprint
contended, "Subscribers with smartphones will still receive the best value in
wireless."

The additional $10 fee will not
be added to the plans of existing Sprint smartphone users until they upgrade to
or activate another smartphone, the carrier said. The extra charge also will
not be applied to the monthly plans of feature phones, including touchscreen
feature phones, activated on the carrier's unlimited-data plans.

The fee applies only to smartphone
users because on average they use 10 times more data than users of traditional
feature phones, Sprint said.

 The new $10 fee will apply to Blackberry,
Android, Windows Mobile and Palm smartphones but also to the
touchscreen-equipped Instinct multimedia phone. The data add-on charge previously
applied to HTC EVO 4G, HTC EVO Shift 4G and Samsung Epic 4G smartphones.

A spokesperson told TWICE that
the company has no plans to offer tiered data plans. "We are always evaluating
pricing, but at this time we don't have any plans to offer tiered data options
and believe customers appreciate the simplicity and savings of our plans that
include unlimited data so they don't have to worry about data limits or costly
data overages."

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