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."