In a bid to encourage more customers to use their mobile phone as a wireless hotspot, Sprint has revamped its mobile hotspot tethering services on smartphones. Enthusiast site Phandroid caught the change in a Sprint community forum: The carrier will no longer offer its $30 monthly plan with 5 GB of data, although current customers with that plan will be allowed to keep it. Going forward, two new plans with higher per-GB monthly charges are available.
The first plan costs less than the one it replaces, which may get some consumers to choose the service. For a $20 monthly fee, there’s a lower entry point, but a lower amount of data as well: Customers will have 2 GB of mobile broadband use to share over Wi-Fi from their phone.
Power users may need the new $50 plan, which provides 6 GB of service. That means people on the old plan who decide not to keep it will gain one gigabyte of sharable broadband but end up paying $20 more than before.
According to Sprint, it will begin to help customers monitor their mobile hotspot usage:
“Sprint now will be able to notify customers with a MHS add-on when they reach 75, 90 and 100 percent of their on-network monthly data limit. Sprint provides data usage notifications to help customers to proactively manage their MHS usage and adjust usage to avoid high overage charges. Customers must enroll to receive usage notifications. At 100 percent of their on-network monthly data allowance, customers will receive a notification with the option to suspend on-network mobile hotspot usage or continue to use it and pay the overage charges. If the customer chooses to accept overage charges, they will continue to receive notifications at 20 percent increments above the monthly data allowance.”
Good for Sprint that it’s helping users keep tabs on their limited mobile broadband as overages will add up at $0.05 per megabyte.
Still, there’s some confusion in the new plan as Sprint says when the mobile hotspot feature (MHS) is turned on “both MHS and phone data usage pull from the MHS monthly data allowance.” That means use of the unlimited data offered on the phone during hotspot usage will hit the hotspot plan cap. Mobile broadband multitaskers: You’ve been warned!