Sprint has always been a leader, if not the leader, in providing wireless data service. One reason for this is their policy on unlimited data- When you pay your $60/mo (which is a lot of money) for an unlimited data plan, it's actually unlimited, as in there's not a limit, which means you can use it as much as you want without worrying about hitting a limit, because it's unlimited.
This relatively simple concept was for quite some time lost on Verizon, which imposed all kinds of hidden limits on their 'unlimited' service. This ended up being a costly mistake.
Many customers, including myself, choose Sprint's unlimited data service over Verizon or AT&T because it is free of such restrictions, either on how much it is used or what it is used for. As a freedom-loving American, I will always prefer a service that offers more freedom than the competition. I personally don't use anywhere near 5GB, but I still chose Sprint due to the unlimited data policy.
However, according to an Official Statement relayed by wengla02:
(note- don't shoot the messenger. Will was just relaying the message, as far as I know he doesn't like this policy either. If anything I appreciate the fast response from Will and Sprint Corporate, even though I disagree with what they have to say)
...We are placing a limit of 300 MB per month on the amount of data use allowed while roaming off network as well as a 5 GB per month limitation on total wireless data usage for Sprints connection and phone as modem plans. This limit is well within the range of what a typical customer would normally use each month.
We are taking extensive efforts to make customers aware of the new limits and give them ample opportunity to change their usage habits before exploring any available options under the terms and conditions.
Maybe I'm missing something but it would seem to me Sprint would want to do anything it could to reverse that trend. Tilting the table in (anyone else's) favor doesn't seem the way to do that.
@T-Mobile Chief Executive Hamid Akhavan wrote:
Bummer guys, you can do better than this can't ya? It's like saying "all other carriers SUCK, so let's suck too"
I couldn't agree more, Dan. But trying to be same as the competition, adopting their unpopular policies, isn't going to help you win.
Hesse says he's made no final decision about unlimited calling, but he also makes it clear that he's going to do what it takes to differentiate Sprint from AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
"If we can't be different, we can't win," he says flatly.
Ironhelix, I agree with you and would like to add my name to that petition of yours, if only because of principle.
And if I can add a point...
John Garcia did admit that Sprint wanted to be first, better, and different (in essence, adopt the old Nextel and Tim Donahue mantra). Noble concept to adopt. However, given this latest Sprint concept of capping data at a 5GB limit, it violates all of the tenants of the Nextel mantra:
1. Be first - Sprint was first in offering UNLIMITED data, but now it's 3rd in capping their data services.
2. Be better - Verizon offers the same EVDO rev A data speeds as Sprint, with the same data cap, at the same price. So much for Sprint trying to be better.
3. Be different - Hmmmm. Sprint was different by being the only national carrier to give unlimited 3G data services. Now, they'll be the same as AT&T and Verizon, but with a smaller footprint.
Seems to me, instead of being first, better, and different, Sprint is trying to be 3rd, to be ordinary, and to be the same as the rest. Last I checked, being identical as AT&T and Verizon without having their decent to stellar reputation is a recipe for diaster. Sprint, if this policy doesn't change back to truly be again unlimited, then I hope this company goes bankrupt very soon.
I was a prospective customer for mobile broadband. No way will I even think about doing it now.
Outstanding post. Great job, IronHelix. Thank you.
I'm pushing this up and down the ladder inside Sprint.
(+1 for no cap, or if there's a cost problem, a *real* unlimited data plan.)
<p>Glad you liked it . Personally I think it's a bit on the long side, but I wanted to get a lot of points in...</p><p></p><p>Personally I doubt there's a real problem at the moment, but if there is here's a suggestion- rework the tiered pricing structure for datacards to open up the low end market while simultaneously monetizing the high end users.</p><br><br><p>$40/mo- 500MB, $1/mb extra up to $100 tops. Currently $40 is 40mb and extra tops out at 100mb.<br>$60/mo- 5GB cap, 500mb roaming. Currently $60 is unlimited.<br>$80/mo- truly unlimited, period<br><br>The result would ideally be an influx of new customers at the lower price point. 40mb isn't a useful allocation, not for todays users who will be youtubing and surfing and streaming. However a lower end user could safely stay within 250mb without constantly watching the meter. This would open the service to a much wider audience.<br>Most users would be unaffected at the 5gb cap.<br>However $80/mo would be for the very heavy users, like the guy who runs bittorrent or the family of 6 who has no other Internet connection.<br><br>As an alternative, perhaps do something like fair & flexible, where you can subscribe to the lower plan and get bumped up if your usage increases. So you can sign up at any level, but for each month you get bumped up to whatever level your usage requires. An additional fee could be added to encourage people to sign up for higher plans- for example<br>$40 bumps up to $70 for 5-10gb or $95 for more<br>$60 bumps up to $80 for 10-15gb or $95 for more<br>This both prevents people from being charged absurd rates (keeping total cost under $100 for everybody), allows Sprint to monetize higher usage patterns, and also provides a very attractive option for the average user who just does web/email. <em>This could, in a sense, be a mini-nuke</em>. Most people won't use 500mb so that opens up a whole new market at the $40 level, while also allowing Sprint to better monetize the high bandwidth users. As for the revenue lost by everybody converting from $60 to $40, I think much of that could be made back with additional subscriptions if Sprint advertises that they're the only ones with a useful $40 aircard plan.<br><br>And for the record, I'd be (relatively) happy with this arrangement. I'd obviously prefer $60 for unlimited, but I will worry a lot less about going over a limit and getting a $20 extra bill than I will about going over a limit and being charged 3c/kb or kicked off.<br><br>thoughts?</p><div class="message-edit-history"><span class="edit-author">Message Edited by IronHelix on </span><span class="local-date">05-22-2008</span><span class="local-time"> 01:19 PM</span></div>
I add my name to this petition and hope every data user does. Iron, your post is a slam dunk. With my whole home network, three computers and XBOX Live all run on the broadband card I come very close to 5GB and I chose Sprint because it is the only one with decent coverage where I live and my only option other than satallite.
If you don't reverse this policy you might as well ready the coffin. It is getting closer and closer to the end. And you are speeding it up with stupid policies that are anti customer. Data customers come to you because you were better and now you offer nothing better than the competition. Except for DirectConnect which with the amount of time it is taking to get qchat out wont even matter, it is coming to an end and I am sad to say I never thought it would get to this. Dan Hesse, in the begining I thought you were the savior of this company, now you seem no better that Forsee.
A ticked off sprint customer.
I'm in total agreement that this is the worst thing Sprint could do right now... I use pam once in a while, but I don't want to have to be careful when i do.
there is now no difference to make anyonestay with Sprint, in fact, without the MMS service book on my blackberry and the same cap as VZW coming to my PAM, there is a reason to leave sprint and get the MMS I or others want. especially instead of some picturmail application thats not as easy as true MMS.
It's hard to think that I have suggested so many to sprint when they wanted a BB at work, and I said, go to Sprint, unlimited means unlimited... now I can't tell them Sprint is better and feel good about my decision.
Don't do it Sprint, find a better way to get the bandwidth hogs off your network, if its that big of an issue. Keep the difference between you and the competition...
I have to agree with this petition yet again. While the 5GB cap is not going to affect the average user, there is a group that it will. The differentiation of the truly unlimited plan has actually helped me make sales in my store compared to Verizon and AT&Ts offerings. I will no longer be able to claim it is truly unlimited,and at that point it goes back to who has the better CS/Coverage/Etc. I can see possibly making the data cap higher, but 5GB truly is not where it should be. The post slightly above mine with the $40/60/80 options truly is the way it should be implemented if there must be a cap. It is well thought out and covers many more people that the current plan offerings do not, and with the cap definitely will not.
I have both a Sprint and a VZW data card. The reason I've been keeping the Sprint card had to do solely with the fact that I don't need to watch my usage - I use the VZW card in places where Sprint doesn't have EV-DO. It was really nice not to have to worry about having the meter running.
This 5GB cap would put Sprint in the unenviable position of not being able to surface near real-time usage on the "My Sprint" website, but terminating or charging users extra who go over the cap. At least with VZW, I can check my usage, and if I'm approaching the cap, curtail my usage.
When I try to look at my data usage on the "My Sprint" website, I get:
You bet I'm in.
Sprint is hemorrhaging customers the likes I've never seen in a company before. And this was happening before they put this, FICTION in place!!!
Someone has balls of brass or brains of custard because they didn't check the latest company census of concurrent customers and prospectives before going forward.
Verizon lost DC users to Sprint and now those folks will be searching for a new provider due to this. Congratulations on alienating your base clients.
I got a rant coming up here shortly and it'll be a real scorcher of their attitudes and corporate "decisions" they have directed against their customers.
Ironhelix - Thanks for the eloquent post.
I'm in full agreement. As competitor's coverage catches up to Sprint's, the "unlimited" term is the only thing distinguishing Sprint from its competitors. Don't make 99% of your users pay for 1% of the troublemakers. Adjust your Terms of Service so you can discipline the bandwidth hogs specifically.
Just by saying there's a 5gb cap you'll lose a lot of new and existing customers, even if those customers would never reach the 5gb cap. It's your ONE SELLING PROPOSITION left.
Not to mention that this move wreaks of collusion between carriers. You'll have partners, vendors, customers AND the guvment all after you on this change. You've got a good thing going with mobile broadband. Don't pooch it.
Nighthawke - Must be brains o' custard, cause in my 2 years experience with Sprint, testicular fortitude has been non-existent.
Last year's customers are calling me with plans for canceling if this goes through as planned. If you want to see the digital data seas part, and flocks of mobile broadband customers leaving for the promised GSM land of high-speed wireless and international compatibility, go right ahead.
I unleashed a EECB on the execs last night, sparing the CEO and a select few. I got a message back around 3AM from one of them promising me a call by his team soon.
This WILL be VERY interesting to see how they react to my response to their freebies.