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criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY
Reviews:
·Millenicom

1 edit

Sprint Offering Unlimited Wireless Internet???!!!

Okay, I just had the oddest conversation ever with a Sprint representative.

As some of you may recall, I have an unlimited data voice plan with Sprint on an HTC Evo Shift phone, which is 4G Wimax.

I've been thinking for a while that, as they get more and more powerful, the time is getting near when I should switch to tablets (even though I've been a confirmed laptop person for more than a decade).

With Microsoft offering the first tablet that is a true computer, the Surface Pro, and with laptop sales having hit the biggest slump in years, the handwriting is clearly on the wall.

So I called Sprint to see what they could offer me in a tablet plan.

And the representative told me something that I found a complete shock.

She told me that Sprint now offers unlimited wireless Internet for tablets and laptops.

She claims that it works like this, and she also said it's been like this for a year, which I find a bit hard to believe.

Here goes.

There are three tiers for both the Surface Pro (which Sprint calls a laptop, not a tablet; reasons are unimportant) and laptops in general. The first tier is a 3 gig cap. That's 34.99 a month.

The next tier is 6 gigs, and that's 49.99.

The highest is 12 gigs, and that's 79.99.

And that's it.

Hey, wait, you say: What's unlimited about that?

Here's the shock. Yes, they charge overages for going over those caps but, and here's the real headline, THEY NOW CAP OVERAGE FEES AT $75!!

Effectively this means that one can get an unlimited wireless Internet account for 109.99 (34.99 + 75)!! Given that the only similar options of which I'm aware are $70 a month on a 50 gig plan from Millenicom or an unlimited account with Wirelessnwifi that costs over $200 to set up, this strikes me as a very interesting deal. (The only way that the 6 and 12 gig plans make any sense is if you genuinely and really only need those amounts per month.)

"But," I spluttered, "what about firing customers for downloading what could be construed as an abusive amount, say a hundred gigs or whatever? What about throttling customers who exceed their caps?"

"Sir, that does not happen. As long as you pay your bills on time, Sprint is perfectly happy. And Sprint has made a long-term commitment as a company to never ever throttle customers under any circumstances ever."

This really sounds too good to be true. Is it? Is there some gigantic string attached to this deal which she conveniently "forgot" to tell me?


compuguybna

join:2009-06-17
Nashville, TN
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·HughesNet Satell..
·ooma
Good luck getting that plan.

Might be good on with a 4G LTE plan, but not Wimax or 3G.

That sounds bogus. why have a higher tier if you're just going to cap overages at $75?

then everyone would buy the lower plan $ 34.99....

Bet you can't order that plan online....


PamelaTS

join:2004-04-20
Dallas, TX
reply to criggs
And if you keep it up they may even start throttling you!

Agreed that for WiMax , WHY? LTE would be worthwhile

criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to compuguybna
said by compuguybna:

Good luck getting that plan. Might be good on with a 4G LTE plan, but not Wimax or 3G.

Okay, I made a follow-up call to Sprint today, and it was indeed too good to be true. In fact, Sprint DID offer an overage fee cap of $75, but it was a temporary promotion that expired last month, darn it. But it did apply to all three networks, not just to LTE.

said by compuguybna:

That sounds bogus. why have a higher tier if you're just going to cap overages at $75? then everyone would buy the lower plan $ 34.99....

As the person explained it to me yesterday, if you stay under the 6 or 12 gigs, then you only wind up paying 49.99 or 79.99, which is cheaper than the 109.99 one would pay for the unlimited. So there is a certain argument, however weak, for retaining the 6 and 12 gig plans, even if they do cap the overage fees.

criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to PamelaTS
said by PamelaTS:

And if you keep it up they may even start throttling you!

They may throttle me, but I think I should point out that I specifically asked that question and they specifically said no throttling ever, no matter what. She reminded me that, while they do not offer 3G with their 4G, nevertheless Clear offers 4G unlimited, so it is technically almost impossible to throttle on the 4G Wimax network, even if Sprint wanted to. Don't know whether that's a technically sound claim, but that's what she said yesterday.

said by PamelaTS:

Agreed that for WiMax , WHY? LTE would be worthwhile

I don't know if you have personal experience with WiMax, but I can tell you that when it's working properly, as it has for me for years until two months ago, it's a perfectly good broadband solution. If not, I wouldn't even have been ABLE to download 50 gigs; but I have, and it works well when it works. So an unlimited deal on the WiMax, with 3G available as fallback when one is in a WiMax hole, is a perfectly reasonable proposition.

Not to mention the fact that, in my case, LTE is not available in my area anyway, so that's not a live option.

All academic now, of course, since the promotion has expired.


PamelaTS

join:2004-04-20
Dallas, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Clearwire Wireless
·Clear Wireless
said by criggs:

said by PamelaTS:

And if you keep it up they may even start throttling you!

They may throttle me, but I think I should point out that I specifically asked that question and they specifically said no throttling ever, no matter what. She reminded me that, while they do not offer 3G with their 4G, nevertheless Clear offers 4G unlimited, so it is technically almost impossible to throttle on the 4G Wimax network, even if Sprint wanted to. Don't know whether that's a technically sound claim, but that's what she said yesterday.

said by PamelaTS:

Agreed that for WiMax , WHY? LTE would be worthwhile

I don't know if you have personal experience with WiMax, but I can tell you that when it's working properly, as it has for me for years until two months ago, it's a perfectly good broadband solution. If not, I wouldn't even have been ABLE to download 50 gigs; but I have, and it works well when it works. So an unlimited deal on the WiMax, with 3G available as fallback when one is in a WiMax hole, is a perfectly reasonable proposition.

Not to mention the fact that, in my case, LTE is not available in my area anyway, so that's not a live option.

All academic now, of course, since the promotion has expired.

I only just upgraded my phone from an S2 (WiMax) to the S4 (LTE). I also DUMPED CLEAR. The CLEAR Unlimited does not come without Throttling! My S2 on Sprints network oft out performed Clear, by A LOT! Despite CLEAR signing the Net Flix deal they do not actually abide by it. CLEAR over saturates towers and their only recourse is THROTTLING! In the wee hours of the mourning on Sunday yes I have seen 7+meg down, this was the EXCEPTION. All to frequently with 4-5 bars on the modem and dial-up speed, NetFlix, Hulu and YouTube un-watchable. Page loads go load the dishwasher!
--
---- Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
---- Albert Einstein

-- DLink DIR-825 (B1) fw2.09NA / DAP-1522 (a1) fw 1.40 {1 @ 5ghz bridge mode; 2nd semi-retired} / Motorola SB6141

criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY
Reviews:
·Millenicom
As you may know, if you google discussion threads on this topic, both on DSL Reports and elsewhere, there are very clear indications that Clear customers are throttled, and are throttled repeatedly, just you personally report. However the indications are equally clear and unambiguous after googling the relevant threads that Sprint customers who use the Clear WiMax network, like me, are NOT throttled. I can certainly tell you that in four years of using the WiMax network heavily, both as a Sprint customer at first and then, for the past two years on Millenicom, I have NEVER been throttled ever; not at all, not even once.

Which is why an unlimited deal from Sprint on WiMax was a good deal when it lasted.


PamelaTS

join:2004-04-20
Dallas, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Clearwire Wireless
·Clear Wireless
said by criggs:

However the indications are equally clear and unambiguous after googling the relevant threads that Sprint customers who use the Clear WiMax network, like me, are NOT throttled.

BULL!

I too am a print Customer and there is NO LEGITIMATE indication anywhere that being a Sprint customer keeps you from being Throttled on Clear! I do not know what it is that you are smoking, I can say this it very defiantly induces delusional thinking. Clear and Sprint WiMax are not on the same frequencies Clear DOES NOT ride on Sprint in that manor as operators like Ting do. I am not certain on which NetZero rides on, I think it is Sprint and not Clear.

Clear has in some states been found GUILTY of deceptive marketing, bait and switch. I know from personal experience their customer service and tech support LIE like the wind. They are condescending and full of their pre-prepped answers.
--
---- Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
---- Albert Einstein

-- DLink DIR-825 (B1) fw2.09NA / DAP-1522 (a1) fw 1.40 {1 @ 5ghz bridge mode; 2nd semi-retired} / Motorola SB6141

criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY
Reviews:
·Millenicom

1 recommendation

said by PamelaTS:

BULL!

No.

said by PamelaTS:

I too am a print Customer and there is NO LEGITIMATE indication anywhere that being a Sprint customer keeps you from being Throttled on Clear!

Quite correct. And irrelevant. I said in my message not one word, not one comma, about the TOS. My statement pertained exclusively to customer experience. And the Sprint customer experience with their WiMax network, WHICH IS THE SAME AS THE CLEAR NETWORK, indicates that Sprint does not throttle their WiMax customers.

Here are a few citations to that effect:

»4gforums.com/thread7146.html = Look at the message from Knappy for February 8th, 2011.
»www.howardforums.com/showthread.···4G-WiMAX = 503ducati's message from 5/9/12 at 1035PM and billm261's message from 5/12/12 at 745PM ("This unlimited, not throttled Wi-Max service is a great deal")
»Sprint WiMax = ENTIRE THREAD!!!
»www.engadget.com/2010/12/01/lapt···d-value/ = Look at the table; it states unambiguously in the Speed Throttling? row that Sprint does not throttle and Clear does.

Just so you know, this is not the first time this issue has been raised. It's been discussed on the DSL Reports web site several times before, starting at least two years ago. By now the record is fairly clear: If you're in an area with good Wimax reception, and you are a Sprint customer rather than a Clear customer, you get a pretty good deal if your data caps are reasonable (Millenicom) or you're on an unlimited plan (Wireless 'n' WiFi). There is no throttling, there is no firing of customers, etc. etc.

said by PamelaTS:

Clear and Sprint WiMax are not on the same frequencies

Incorrect; they are the same frequencies, according to everything that I've read. Sprint built not one pebble of their current WiMax network; it was all built by Clear.

said by PamelaTS:

Clear has in some states been found GUILTY of deceptive marketing, bait and switch. I know from personal experience their customer service and tech support LIE like the wind. They are condescending and full of their pre-prepped answers.

All quite true; and all completely irrelevant.


dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO
reply to criggs
said by criggs:

Okay, I made a follow-up call to Sprint today, and it was indeed too good to be true.

Darn it she almost had a contract sale

You won't see reasonable plans like this from sprint until the new mgmt shows up.

One thing I find interesting, while I was looking over their website to see what they said about capping overage costs, one location says overage is 5cents a MB (aka $51.20 a GB), and another place says overage is 1.5cents a MB (a more reasonable, but still insane $10.24 a GB)... wonder which is correct?

criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY
The figure quoted to me today was the former, 5 cents an MB.


espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
reply to criggs
said by criggs:

And the Sprint customer experience with their WiMax network, WHICH IS THE SAME AS THE CLEAR NETWORK, indicates that Sprint does not throttle their WiMax customers.

That's more a function of throttling being spotty / infrequent than actual policy.

If you talk to the engineers running that network, the throttling is based on end-point MAC and is not service partner dependent. (ie, your device profile determines if you'll land on a tunnel to Clear, Sprint, NetZero, etc, but that's a layer up from where the throttling actually takes place)

The engineer I talked with mentioned that in the scope of their entire tower service footprint, throttling is the exception, not the rule.

If you're on a busy tower, however, you're going to get throttled regularly. Since Clear focused on selling fixed-installation devices (home modems), you're going to have more Clear subscribers consistently attaching to a single tower, and if you get throttled you're pretty much guaranteed to have that consistently be the case.


PamelaTS

join:2004-04-20
Dallas, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Clearwire Wireless
·Clear Wireless
said by espaeth:

If you're on a busy tower, however, you're going to get throttled regularly. Since Clear focused on selling fixed-installation devices (home modems), you're going to have more Clear subscribers consistently attaching to a single tower, and if you get throttled you're pretty much guaranteed to have that consistently be the case.

Which is exactly what I stated my experience to be. It got so bad and they acknowledged my signal strength was awesome that they cut my monthly bill in half. Wouldn't let me out early, though even half the bill was still excessively high for what I got. Switched to TWC now get consistent 20/2 and watch more Netflix and hulu; hulu was unusable with Clear consistent buffering 5 min, buffering, 3 min, buffering.... Give up!
--
---- Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
---- Albert Einstein

-- DLink DIR-825 (B1) fw2.09NA / DAP-1522 (a1) fw 1.40 {1 @ 5ghz bridge mode; 2nd semi-retired} / Motorola SB6141

criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to espaeth
I am a Sprint and Millenicom customer (Evo Shift phone and Overdrive hotspot respectively, to be exact) and I'm in the heart of midtown Manhattan, one of the busiest network areas of the country, presumably. And I've never been throttled. I use it as my only home connection, so 70% to 80% of the time I'm on the same tower and have been for over two years.

If I understand what you're saying, the Clear fixed-installation experience, unique to Clear, is more likely to lead to a customer experiencing throttling since there are a fixed number of towers that are CONSTANTLY being used by Clear for their fixed-installation customers. Translation: The fixed-installation customers are all getting herded to a small number of specific towers, and the result is over-burdened towers.

However, to tell you the truth, I'm not convinced that there isn't a policy element here. For example, take a look at one of the references in my previous message, specifically at »www.engadget.com/2010/12/01/lapt···d-value/ . You will note specifically that the table states that Sprint does not throttle and Clear does. Is this table just being sloppy or plain wrong?

In addition, as Espaeth himself has acknowledged, "Sprint just pushes subscription details for their devices to Clear to allow their authentication servers to dump customer traffic into the "Sprint VLAN" off the tower radio."

In other words, the authentication servers ARE made aware of when they're servicing a Sprint customer versus when they're servicing a Clear customer, so there IS a difference in how they're handled.

The weight of circumstantial evidence is quite impressive that there is some sort of consistent difference between the two customer experiences, Clear vs. Sprint.


espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
said by criggs:

I am a Sprint and Millenicom customer (Evo Shift phone and Overdrive hotspot respectively, to be exact) and I'm in the heart of midtown Manhattan, one of the busiest network areas of the country, presumably. And I've never been throttled. I use it as my only home connection, so 70% to 80% of the time I'm on the same tower and have been for over two years.

It's important to note that not all towers are created equal. One of the big limitations to tower capacity is backhaul; it's a lot easier to get a fiber connection with massive capacity to tower in a major downtown area than it is out in BFE. There are still a lot of remote towers that are serviced by DS3 or even N*T1 IMA. You're going to get throttled much more frequently on a tower that has 8*T1 IMA (12mbps aggregate) total capacity compared to a metro tower that's taking a GigE optical handoff.

At the tower, it can be anything from a 360 degree single channel deployment to a multi-sector service footprint with multiple channels per sector to further increase capacity. Again, if you're feeding the tower site with tons of capacity, it gives you more flexibility to carve up the service footprint and reduce the effective number of subscribers per channel.

said by criggs:

However, to tell you the truth, I'm not convinced that there isn't a policy element here. For example, take a look at one of the references in my previous message, specifically at »www.engadget.com/2010/12/01/lapt···d-value/ . You will note specifically that the table states that Sprint does not throttle and Clear does. Is this table just being sloppy or plain wrong?

That table is both right and wrong. How is that possible, you ask?

Once you attach and authenticate to the WiMAX network, your device profile determines which service tunnel your traffic will be mapped into. Each service tunnel is L2 encaps, and that is why you get different IP addresses if you are a Clear, NetZero, or Clear customer attaching to the same channel on the same tower. Sprint does NOT enforce any throttling on any of the traffic going through their tunnel. Where it gets murky is that Clear is throttling at the WiMAX layer before it ever gets to the tunnel, so the net result for an end user on a busy channel is that you will still get throttled regardless of which logical service provider your device gets mapped into. For services like NetZero, additional throttling is done on the tunnel between Clear and NetZero according to NetZero policies.

bfoster68

join:2009-06-19
Spring Hill, FL
well they just introduced a unlimited everything phone and data plan for 80.00. I just converted to it today and if I wanted a tethering option that is available too for another 30 dollars.


dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO

2 edits
said by bfoster68:

well they just introduced a unlimited everything phone and data plan for 80.00. I just converted to it today and if I wanted a tethering option that is available too for another 30 dollars.

This is a pre-softbank offering.

Just curious is the tether unlimited for that $110 a month or 5gigs then $50 each additional gig?

Edit never mind just checked their webpage... it says "includes 5GB tether" and interestingly it says this in the fine print:


Mobile Hotspot: Includes 5GB/mo. on-network data allowance. Add'l data: 1.5¢ /MB


So it's only $15.36 a GB overage billed in MB increments. I will admit $15.36 is more reasonable than the old $51.20 a GB (0.05/MB overage) but it is $5.36/GB more than at&t and verizons overage... which are both overpriced as all getout.