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Sprint Sticking With Unlimited 'As Long as We Can'
'Hopefully Forever,' Insists CEO Hesse
by Karl Bode 09:10AM Thursday Mar 22 2012
Sprint finally got the iPhone last fall, but they had to pay a fortune for it: Sprint’s 10-K report filed last month confirmed Sprint will pay at least $15.5 billion just to start, and will take a massive hit on profitability for some time. Still, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse insists it was the right thing to do in order to remain competitive with AT&T and Verizon. In an interview this week Hesse reiterates that the iPhone not only brings in new customers, it brings in customers that are more profitable while using less data than their Android counterparts.

Sprint's seeing increased pressure from Wall Street to ditch unlimited data, but Hesse continues to insist they're sticking with it -- for now. Calling the pairing of unlimited data with the iPhone a "marriage made in heaven," Hesse stated that they'll keep offering unlimited data "as long as we can":
quote:
"My plan is to continue for as long as we can, hopefully forever. The customers have spoken very clearly on this: they like simplicity and unlimited. It’s a differentiator in the market."
Differentiator or not, the combined financial pressure from subsidizing the iPhone and building a new LTE network could very well force Sprint's hand before the year is out. It's one of the competitive drawbacks to exclusive handset arrangements -- especially when you can afford massive subsidies and your competitors can't. C Spire Wireless also ponied up a huge price for the iPhone at the cost of a delayed LTE deployment.

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pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

1 recommendation

They Have To

Unlimited data is the only thing that differentiates Sprint from every other carrier. If they went to any limited model, there'd be no incentive for any of their data customers to stay with them.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.
CMoore2004
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Jonesville, MI

1 recommendation

Re: They Have To

Unless they charge less for data than the other carriers. Of course, they claim to be less now, but they never mention the $10 "premium data" fee in their commercials, except in the fine print. I'm sure if they went to metered billing they'd have a lower base price and a fee that makes up for that price being lower than other carriers. I'll bet it would be called "Experience Enhancement Fee."
If Verizon actually does go to family data plans, I have a feeling that'll be the end of Sprint.

dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO

Re: They Have To

said by CMoore2004:

Unless they charge less for data than the other carriers. Of course, they claim to be less now, but they never mention the $10 "premium data" fee in their commercials, except in the fine print.

They already charge a lot more than att and verizon in overages on their data card plans.
While att and verizon charge around $10 a gig overage (absurdly over priced), sprint charges a whopping $51.20 a gig overage.

If they ever switch handsets to a usage model, and keep their current overage rates, att and verizon will look like a deal
NYC Girl
Premium
join:2007-02-04
Bronx, NY

Re: They Have To

said by dib22:

said by CMoore2004:

Unless they charge less for data than the other carriers. Of course, they claim to be less now, but they never mention the $10 "premium data" fee in their commercials, except in the fine print.

They already charge a lot more than att and verizon in overages on their data card plans.
While att and verizon charge around $10 a gig overage (absurdly over priced), sprint charges a whopping $51.20 a gig overage.

If they ever switch handsets to a usage model, and keep their current overage rates, att and verizon will look like a deal

WOW!!! Must be some super fine print that it's stated in!!! I didnt know that.
corinthos

join:2007-10-09
Many att data card customers are still on the 5 cents per MB plan.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI
said by pnh102:

Unlimited data is the only thing that differentiates Sprint from every other carrier.

I don't know as that's strictly true.

Several months ago, when I again got the itch for a "smart" phone, I found there was no way I could do it w/o more than doubling our monthly wireless bill (from just shy of $60/mo. to over $120/mo.). Annoyed, I checked with VZ. More expensive. I checked with "AT&T," just for comparison (I'd never use them), and they, too, were more expensive. T-Mob was cheaper, but their handset costs were much higher. (Since then I've completely lost interest again.)

Furthermore: Sprint still offers an economical text messaging add-on: $5/mo. for 250 or 300 texts. Don't the others all have a much more expensive minimum?

michieru
Premium
join:2009-07-25
Miami, FL

Re: They Have To

You can always give MetroPCS a try.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: They Have To

said by michieru:

You can always give MetroPCS a try.

Coverage? My phone is most importantly first a phone. Between their native coverage and their roaming agreements, my Sprint phone essentially always has service.

Besides: For me it's not just the cost of a data plan. Besides the friends I have with "smart" phones: I admin the wireless phone plan @work. Damn things have an unbelievably high failure rate. I'm not talking about abused phones, either.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: They Have To

First you need to have your phone signed up in a MetroPCS service area; need an address to "bill to there". But Metro roams on MORE than just Sprint. They use Cellco, Sprint, Revol, Cricket and OTHER CDMA carriers. That's how their able to obtain the coverage they have now.

Their only problem is their roaming partners- well the major one- is not in a hurry and little money to keep building their new network; and 9 out of 10 times it will NOT work with Metro.

And there is no way Dan will make another move to buy out Metro as his BoD will fire him.
biochemistry
Premium
join:2003-05-09
92361
I have Verizon and am on their $5 for 250 text messaging plan.
ConstantineM

join:2011-09-02
San Jose, CA
With T-Mobile USA, you can easily get a smartphone for free at www.t-mobile.com (myTouch 4G by HTC has pretty good specs and goes for free very often); also, don't forget that with a smart phone, you don't actually have to have a texting plan anymore, since you can always use Google Voice or even some other alternative. I think T-Mo definitely has the best prices around.

Ericthorn
It only hurts when I laugh
Premium
join:2001-08-10
Paragould, AR
Reviews:
·Paragould.net
·Paragould.net
said by pnh102:

Unlimited data is the only thing that differentiates Sprint from every other carrier. If they went to any limited model, there'd be no incentive for any of their data customers to stay with them.

That and price - I, my wife, and her mother are on a family plan, all paying the 10$ bounty for smartphone data, and we pay about 180$/mo. AT&T and Verizon are both 30$+ more a month on their websites, and that's without the hidden fees/taxes/surcharges they'll throw on after we sign a contract. As long as Sprint costs less money, that differentiates them a LOT more than unlimited data to us, as we are not data hogs. The three of us combined use less than 3gb a month.
--
Ever try stuffing a melted marshmallow up a wildcat's ass? It can be done, but you have to like your job. - This Is The Way The World Ends by James Morrow - Join a DC club, it can't hurt you!
BiggA
Premium
join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: They Have To

Sprint's price differentiation is so small, it's basically irrelevant. The only way they differentiate well is through their MVNOs.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: They Have To

said by BiggA:

Sprint's price differentiation is so small, it's basically irrelevant.

Maybe you regard $20-$40/mo. (depending upon plan options & IIRC) "irrelevant," but to my wife and I, $240-$480/yr. is real money.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
that's why Sprint should move to be a bargin carrier and cater to their MNVOs and their own discount brands. Move everyone of their post paid customers over; and become a wholesale company. would bring in them more $$$$ as support is outsourced and the actual company never has to deal with anything but the network.
BiggA
Premium
join:2005-11-23
EARTH

1 recommendation

Re: They Have To

Yeah. I think there is some brand value in the Sprint brand left, but they should definitely focus on MVNO and prepaid, build out their network in the markets they serve, and compete heavily on price. I think they could do well that way.

The other route is for someone like Apple or Google to buy them out, and build their network out to rival Verizon's. They have the SMR spectrum now, but it would take billions to build the network out like that.

@jseymour: $20/mo less on multiple lines for crap data speeds and crap coverage is not a good value. If you're looking to bottom scrape, there are a LOT of other cheap options out there that are much more price competitive than Sprint, some even running on AT&T's network.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: They Have To

said by BiggA:

@jseymour: $20/mo less on multiple lines for crap data speeds and crap coverage is not a good value.

Can't justify the cost of data, so that's inconsequential to me. As for coverage: Sprint's coverage has always worked well for me.

said by BiggA:

... some even running on AT&T's network.

That's never gonna happen. Given my experiences with "AT&T" over the last 2-3 years: If they were the last wireless carrier on the planet I'd learn to do without.
BiggA
Premium
join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: They Have To

Then why on earth do you have a contract phone? Also, these days, there are prepaid deals out there that include data, and smartphones are becoming so essential, that the days of the dumbphone are dwindling fast.

You are in a serious AT&T market. If you were in NYC, I'd believe you, but you're about 15 miles north of my record speed test. That whole area is blanketed in blazing fast HSPA+.

Sprint has like 1/3 of the state covered, AT&T has probably 80-90%, and they are the leader in MI.

@ConstantineM: Have fun with crappy coverage. At least they have great coverage in the areas that they have coverage, if that makes any sense.

Straight Talk SIM on AT&T for $45 is the best deal out there, and it going to be hard for Sprint to compete with that. Ting is a good start, especially for families with many users, but it is going to take more than that to stay afloat. The Ting model is good, as it allows you to use a little less data and end up paying roughly half of what an equivalent contract plan would cost when you have 3-5 users. They don't strap you with buying a crapton of minutes that no one ever uses like Verizon and AT&T do.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: They Have To

said by BiggA:

Then why on earth do you have a contract phone?

"Phones." Plural. Because, for about $55/mo., incl. all taxes and surcharges, we get all the service we need--incl. text messaging for my phone. (I use it primarily so my systems can notify me of issues.) Absolutely nobody can touch that.

said by BiggA:

...smartphones are becoming so essential, that the days of the dumbphone are dwindling fast.

Nonsense. The only people that truly need smartphones are certain classes of businesspeople (sales, [field] support/repair, IT, etc.) The average Joe or Jane Doe needs a smartphone like a camel needs waders.

Even those who "need" it may not really need it. I'm in IT, and a one-man-band, to boot, and somehow or another I've managed to survive w/o a smartphone. (Maybe that's because I don't design my systems for failure with toy hardware and operating systems?)

said by BiggA:

You are in a serious AT&T market.

More's the pity. As U.S. carriers go, IMO "AT&T" (which is really SBC) is about the worst. I just moved over $2k/mo. in services off SBC a few months ago. I'm looking to dump them @home. Horrible company. I would go so far as to say that, of all the companies from which I've purchased goods or services over the years, both personally and professionally, SBC is far and away one of the absolute worst.

said by BiggA:

Sprint has like 1/3 of the state covered,

I've never been anywhere in Michigan I couldn't get service with my Sprint phone--and that includes out in the middle of nowhere, where there's nothing but two-tracks.

said by BiggA:

AT&T has probably 80-90%, and they are the leader in MI.

Of all the people I know, only three use "AT&T" wireless. Some "leader."
BiggA
Premium
join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: They Have To

AT&T is the best in your market. I'm not sure what else you are referring to, but you are making a lot of unjustified statements.

I am pretty dependent on it, especially when getting information while traveling.

Then you're roaming on Verizon, since they, like AT&T, actually have good coverage.

That's 80-90% coverage in Michigan, highest of any carrier. Michigan is an AT&T market, as is Chicago. Of course not everyone uses AT&T, just like not everyone in NYC uses Verizon.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: They Have To

said by BiggA:

AT&T is the best in your market. I'm not sure what else you are referring to, but you are making a lot of unjustified statements.

Are you trying to tell me what my experiences with SBC have been like?
BiggA
Premium
join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: They Have To

No. But you offer no evidence of anything. AT&T is the best carrier in your market.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: They Have To

said by BiggA:

No. But you offer no evidence of anything. AT&T is the best carrier in your market.

You keep repeating that mantra as if saying it enough times will magically make it so. Like SBC's adverts and Jim Cicconi's propaganda: It won't. I have years of bad experiences with SBC that have proved to me otherwise. One of the incidents is still on-going, since Nov. 17, 2011, as of yesterday afternoon.

If I ever switch from Sprint for wireless, it'll be to Verizon. Possibly T-Mobile, now that they're not subject to being absorbed by the death star. Hell, MetroPCS, if I have to. SBC? Not. A. Chance. In. Hell.
BiggA
Premium
join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: They Have To

Like what? You make a bunch of vague references, and ignore the fact that AT&T has the best network in your market.

Jovi
Premium
join:2000-02-24
Mount Joy, PA
Sprints price is at least $80 cheaper than Verizon and At&t when I priced out plans in November 2011. I went Sprint mainly due to that fact and the unlimited data is icing on the cake. 4 Android phones with text/net/1500 min.
--
"Some people have no respect for logic."
NYC Girl
Premium
join:2007-02-04
Bronx, NY
said by pnh102:

Unlimited data is the only thing that differentiates Sprint from every other carrier. If they went to any limited model, there'd be no incentive for any of their data customers to stay with them.

Yup!!! I left them back in 2006 for Verizon because they had no Razr phones lol!!! So there will be a mass exodus for sure they discontinue their unlimited data plans!!

SteelerRaw

@timet.com

One analyst...

Constitutes increased pressure from Wall Street? And it's an analyst characterized by the author as "not exactly known for singing on key when it comes to predicting wireless fortunes."
krazyfiend

join:2011-02-15

1 edit

Sprint story

I was the driver on a long car ride the other weekend to STL. We had rented a car for comfort and since the car had no MP3/CD capability... I decided to plug my BT dongle into the Aux input and link up my Evo Shift.

I was amused when a girl I know, that's not really all that into phones and tech, about half way into the drive inquired, 'Is this playing from your phone or Pandora?' I replied, 'Pandora'. She promptly asked, 'Aren't you worried you will go over your data limit and get excess charges for the month for streaming? I had it happen to me all the time w/ my AT&T iphone so I gave up on streaming stuff. The higher data plans are too rich for me to afford monthly.'

I went on to explain about Sprint and how I never cared about data (even if I do happen to go over that grey 5gb line w/ them in a month)-- She was really surprised that the music stream was never interrupted, even in the rural areas of IL w/ Sprint.

I've been w/ Sprint for over 10 years now, through the up's and down's. The discount I receive via my employer (even though they re-wrote it's application recently) and their unlimited data services trump the having the hottest phone lineup and a current LTE network up and running, at least for me it does. I was happy to see their turnaround w/ CS in the last 4-5 years... It has kept me as a customer a few times w/ chats w/ the retention dept and friendly/easily accessible CS personnel. I sincerely hope they pull through and keep things competitive for the big telco boys who have the cash to buy off/solicit/bribe DC. (oops, I meant, make campaign contributions)

aaronwt
Premium
join:2004-11-07
Woodbridge, VA

Re: Sprint story

said by krazyfiend:

I was the driver on a long car ride the other weekend to STL. We had rented a car for comfort and since the car had no MP3/CD capability... I decided to plug my BT dongle into the Aux input and link up my Evo Shift.

I was amused when a girl I know, that's not really all that into phones and tech, about half way into the drive inquired, 'Is this playing from your phone or Pandora?' I replied, 'Pandora'. She promptly asked, 'Aren't you worried you will go over your data limit and get excess charges for the month for streaming? I had it happen to me all the time w/ my AT&T iphone so I gave up on streaming stuff. The higher data plans are too rich for me to afford monthly.'

I went on to explain about Sprint and how I never cared about data (even if I do happen to go over that grey 5gb line w/ them in a month)-- She was really surprised that the music stream was never interrupted, even in the rural areas of IL w/ Sprint.

I've been w/ Sprint for over 10 years now, through the up's and down's. The discount I receive via my employer (even though they re-wrote it's application recently) and their unlimited data services trump the having the hottest phone lineup and a current LTE network up and running, at least for me it does. I was happy to see their turnaround w/ CS in the last 4-5 years... It has kept me as a customer a few times w/ chats w/ the retention dept and friendly/easily accessible CS personnel. I sincerely hope they pull through and keep things competitive for the big telco boys who have the cash to buy off/solicit/bribe DC. (oops, I meant, make campaign contributions)

How much Pandora does it take to affect you data usage? I've been listening for a few hours every day from my ReZound nd Pandora barely uses any data. Not enough to push me anywhere near my 4GB data limit on Verizon.

swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS

Re: Sprint story

said by aaronwt:

said by krazyfiend:

I was the driver on a long car ride the other weekend to STL. We had rented a car for comfort and since the car had no MP3/CD capability... I decided to plug my BT dongle into the Aux input and link up my Evo Shift.

I was amused when a girl I know, that's not really all that into phones and tech, about half way into the drive inquired, 'Is this playing from your phone or Pandora?' I replied, 'Pandora'. She promptly asked, 'Aren't you worried you will go over your data limit and get excess charges for the month for streaming? I had it happen to me all the time w/ my AT&T iphone so I gave up on streaming stuff. The higher data plans are too rich for me to afford monthly.'

I went on to explain about Sprint and how I never cared about data (even if I do happen to go over that grey 5gb line w/ them in a month)-- She was really surprised that the music stream was never interrupted, even in the rural areas of IL w/ Sprint.

I've been w/ Sprint for over 10 years now, through the up's and down's. The discount I receive via my employer (even though they re-wrote it's application recently) and their unlimited data services trump the having the hottest phone lineup and a current LTE network up and running, at least for me it does. I was happy to see their turnaround w/ CS in the last 4-5 years... It has kept me as a customer a few times w/ chats w/ the retention dept and friendly/easily accessible CS personnel. I sincerely hope they pull through and keep things competitive for the big telco boys who have the cash to buy off/solicit/bribe DC. (oops, I meant, make campaign contributions)

How much Pandora does it take to affect you data usage? I've been listening for a few hours every day from my ReZound nd Pandora barely uses any data. Not enough to push me anywhere near my 4GB data limit on Verizon.

You raise a good point. The other carriers have their customers so skiddish about using data because they do not want to go over there data limits. You and me more or less know what an app or streaming service consumes, but other people away from this site see the data icon flashing and think it is blowing through there cap.

My gf is the perfect example to. She has 5 GBs with US cellular. In a pinch I will ask her to fire up her navigation since I am driving and getting my GPS units can be a pain. Her typical excuse is that nav uses to much data and she doesnt want to waste it. Most people just do not get it.
--
Usenet Block Accounts | Unlimited Accounts

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Keeping Data Off

My employer gave me an iPhone 4S on the company's plan last October. It costs them $30/month for the service on my phone. However, the data has been so slow I have left it turned off and have managed to get by quite well with just WiFi (also saving the battery). I figure if Sprint does go to metered plans, it will not impact me as I will continue to avoid using the 3G data and spare my firm getting overage charges (I would even tell them to drop me to the absolute cheapest lowest data tier possible). In fact, if I could get the data portion turned off now I would. All I have been using it for is PRL updates and voicemail. I assume without a data plan they would still have to support PRL's and voicemail. They could simply block my device from accessing the Internet through their gateway.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.

spewak
R.I.P Dadkins
Premium
join:2001-08-07
Elk Grove, CA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·SureWest Internet

Contract?

So if during a period in which I am under contract with Sprint, they change from Unlimited to Metered, would that be a materially adverse change thereby allowing me to get out from under?
--
The weekend is here, grab a can of beer!
FlyBoyMark

join:2012-01-11
Lake City, FL

Unlimited

It will remain if they quit selling off wholesale spectrum to others. If they kept the spectrum for themselves instead of crowding their bandwidth with other carriers, they would have an outstanding 3g experience that people would stick with till they get their 4g act together.

gballer

@reyrey.net

They could

give data for free and I still woudlnt take them..I had the EVO since it came out in June 2010 and it got to the point loading facebook would time out sometimes..

All of my speed tests would be well under 500kps or whatever its called..pathetic!

I had to move over to AT&T and its so nice actually being able to stream Netflix..something that was an absolute joke and wouldnt work with Sprint.
puck0114

join:2005-12-24
Portland, OR

Re: They could

Sprint's 3G has become painfully slow over the past couple of years. That's one of the reasons I ditched them. Unlimited data doesn't really do a lot for me when I can't get a download over .5M.

King P
Don't blame me. I voted for Ron Paul
Premium
join:2004-11-17
Murfreesboro, TN

1 recommendation

I'm glad that they are sticking with Unlimited*

...but it's kind of a trade off to have Unlimited* data at dial-up speeds. Sprint's 3G network is a turd. WiMAX isn't bad though...if you can get it.

Still, at least with T-Mobile I know that my first 2GB are full speed, then scaled back to 2G. With Sprint, it's like being on 1xRTT all the damn time.
--
My Music blog:
»www.zunetracks.net
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: I'm glad that they are sticking with Unlimited*

but they limit their WiMax network on the Sprint brand. Customers on the Sprint board here has even posted a letter from Sprint. Their plan said UNLIMITED 4g Service but yet went over a "cap" and got kicked off. NOT truly unlimited.

Sprint02347

@108.202.140.x

Re: I'm glad that they are sticking with Unlimited*

Not true.
4G (Wimax) data is also unlimited on smartphones.
You're confusing their limits on connection cards or tethering, both of which used to be unlimited for 4G data and now have 5GB caps (although I've used tethering-officially-on my Samsung Epic 4G and never seen a separate breakdown for the tethered data, and I used over 6GB that month, with no overages nor contact from Sprint about the fact I went over).

io chico
Premium
join:2003-12-30
Chico, CA

Love Sprint, but...

Only reason I'm with Sprint is their unlimited data plan. AT&T gets better speeds here, but I'm interested in not having to watch the meter.

If Sprint cancels the unlimited data plan, I'll probably leave them.
dustman81

join:2002-05-28
Tallmadge, OH

Left Sprint for Straight Talk

I just left Sprint for Straight Talk. Mainly because Sprint's data speeds are crap and I was getting tired of waiting for them to get 4G to my town (and paying the $10 4G fee). I was a Sprint customer for 10 years (harking back to the original Vision days).

I'm using the iPhone 4S with Straight Talk's BYOD plan and getting unlimited everything and more coverage (all of AT&T's coverage) for $45 which was half the price of Sprint.

I think Sprint's board is going to give Hesse the boot. WiMax was a bust, Nextel customers are leaving in droves and their Network Vision plan may be the final nail in the coffin.
decifal

join:2007-03-10
Bon Aqua, TN
kudos:1

please

Sprint please hell or high water convert all of your nextel iden towers to your most up to date standards and keep your unlimited plans. Once the tower that is near my house which is currently a nextel turns sprint fully, i'm dropping verizon like its hot.. Their love for caps and image compression just pisses me off and I would rather do buisness with a company trying to provide actually enjoyable useable services.. Just keep pushing through the crap, you will eventually prevail if you don't mimic the competition in pricing..