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Summary:

Sprint is retooling its plans to make them all-inclusive and all-you-can-eat, and it’s guaranteeing they’ll remain that way for life. It may be just marketing, but it’s still surprising Sprint is spelling this commitment out.

Sprint’s first act under new SoftBank management was to reinforce its commitment to unlimited smartphone data — at least for customers who switch to its new service plans. The company is launching a new set of individual and family plans called Unlimited, My Way, and anyone who signs up for them will get Sprint’s guarantee that it will never turn off the talk, text and data spigots for as a long as they remain customers.

At first glance, I was a bit suspicious of this announcement. To me it looked like Sprint is saying “if you upgrade to one of our new all-inclusive plans we’ll guarantee you unlimited for life, but if you stay with your cheaper plan we can snatch unlimited away from you at any minute — just watch us!”

Sprint Spokeswoman Laura Lisec corrected me of that misperception very quickly. Sprint will continue to maintain its old plans for people who want to keep them, she said, but going forward its trying to simplify its pricing tiers. So for the same $80 price you pay for Sprint’s 450-minute, unlimited-text-and-data smartphone plans, you now get all three services on an all-you-can-eat basis.

Sure, the guarantee doesn’t apply to older Simply Everything and Everything Data plans, but I can see little reason to stay on them once the new plans go into affect Friday or after your contract is up. If you actually stuck with Sprint’s $110 Simple Everything plan you’d wind up paying $30 more a month.

This guarantee is primarily for marketing purposes. Technically AT&T and Verizon’s unlimited plans were guaranteed as well, which is why they still have so many customers grandfathered into them. But frankly I’m still a bit surprised Sprint is spelling this commitment out. I’ve always believed that the unlimited plan would go the way of the dodo — that it simply isn’t sustainable in a market where average smartphone data use is constantly increasing. Sprint has already nixed unlimited tablet and modem data, but keeping smartphones unmetered still seems crazy to me.

That said, I just today wrote a big post lecturing Sprint on how it needs to embrace its roots and start challenging fundamental assumptions in the mobile industry. Well, one of those fundamental assumptions is that data must be metered. I’m still skeptical, but I’m happy to shut up and let Sprint prove me wrong.

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  1. Yeah it sounds good, EXCEPT in the fine print it says customers with other plans have priority with data and speed, streaming video may be limited to 1mbps, 2 yr agreement required, AND price can change at any time….SKETCHY

  2. This only makes sense if you need unlimited voice minutes. Otherwise with several smartphone lines your bill will be going up, not down with the new plans.

  3. Keep the unlimited data… What is unlimited data worth if it doesn’t work. Where I reside in Brooklyn & Central Jersey Verizon data has always been speedier and more reliable than Sprint. For business customers 2gb is enough, since they either way have wi-fi at work and at home. All those business customers want is reliability and speed when they need it, and Sprint does not offer that! (at least in Brooklyn & NJ)

  4. danwilliams Friday, July 12, 2013

    I have Sprint solely because of unlimited data. Nuff said.

  5. Sprint is the most Lascivious of all wireless networks. They often have extra fees for other services that other companies include for free.

    You can only use a Sprint device with their service. It has to be programmed by them. One time, my phone stopped working, and I thought I could use an old phone. Turned out, Sprint couldn’t re-program it, so I had to buy a new phone, or pay a cancel fee. Because I had two months left, I forwarded calls to my home, and setup service with T-Mobile.

    Today, I have unlimited 4G data, and 100 minutes for $30, and I just upgraded my T-Mobile plan to include the new “Jump” Feature.

    JUMP allows me to upgrade my phone twice a year.

  6. Sprint chat support just told me 3 times they don’t have unlimited. Of course I am talking unlimited unlimited, not 2gig unlimited. Amazing how a few weeks changes things. Of course this was only after getting transferred from CLEAR WIRE to Sprint, because Sprint owns CLEAR.

    Arghh.

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