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3G cap in 4G markets?

Highlighted
Journeyman

3G cap in 4G markets?

I've recently received some confusing information.  While shopping for phones, I noticed that one of the promising choices is 4G capable.  I emailed Sprint asking for some clarifications.  I couldn't find anything on plans specifically for 4G service, and there's nothing in the description of the plan I'm considering (Everything Data family plan) as to whether 4G is included or not.

Personally, I'm not in a market that's served by 4G right now, and I don't really think I need that kind of service anyway, so I was trying to find out whether 4G requires a different kind of plan, and whether you're required to buy such a plan if you buy a 4G-capable phone.

The answer I got from Sprint was rather vague as to the questions I was asking, and also threw in a little previously undisclosed, but very important, tidbit, which was also vaguely described.  They said that there is a 5GB cap on 3G data with a 4G phone.  There is nothing about this that I can find in the page on the Everything Data plan.

Does anyone know anything about this?  Best of all would be a link to the place within Sprint's web site that fully explains it.  The questions I have are these:

  1. Does 4G require a different kind of plan than 3G?
  2. If yes, do I need to buy a 4G plan if I want a 4G phone?

With respect to the 5GB cap on 3G data - the response I got from Sprint was unclear on when it applied, but it was clear that it doesn't apply in all circumstances.  The implication was that the only way to be affected by the cap is if you have 4G available and choose not to use it.

  1. Is it safe to assume that a 3G-only phone will not be affected by the 3G cap?
  2. If I have a 4G phone but no 4G service, is it safe to assume that I will not be affected by the 3G cap?
  3. If I have a 4G-capable phone, but only buy a 3G plan, is it safe to assume that I will not be affected by the cap?

Thanks for whatever answers anyone can provide.  I really don't understand why it's so hard to find anything out on Sprint's web site.

8 REPLIES 8
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Wizard

Thanks for posting.  In regards to phone plans, we provide unlimited data usage for our customer's.  Our Everything Data plans include UNLIMITED data, whether on our 3G or 4G network.  All Smartphone's require a $10.00/month Premium Data charge but we do not throttle, tier, or cap data. For more on our Plans and Everything Data Plans feel free to visit www.sprint.com/plans

~ Nicholas

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Journeyman

Thanks for the quick response.  So to clarify, does this mean that when 4G rolls out in my area (provided I buy a 4G phone) I will automatically gain the benefits of 4G service without any plan changes or additional charges?  The page you sent me to is the one I was already looking at, and it does not mention 4G (or 3G for that matter) at all that I can find.

Also, do you know what the cap is that the person who answered my email was talking about?  I'm trying to figure out where she got confused so I can better understand what my risk is.  There presumably has to be a 5GB cap associated with 3G data somewhere.  Unfortunately I don't have the email available for reference because I'm at work, and we block access to personal email on our network (which is partly why I'm even considering a smart phone with a data plan to begin with).

Thanks.

Tony

Highlighted
Wizard

Hey, Tony:

So to clarify, does this mean that when 4G rolls out in my area (provided I buy a 4G phone) I will automatically gain the benefits of 4G service without any plan changes or additional charges? 


Yes.  That is correct.

I cannot really speculate with extreme accuracy as to what the representative may have been referring to since I do not have the proper information in front of me.  However, at this moment in time any data cap that we have is in reference to one of our Broadband devices or Tablets.  On these devices, 4G is currently unlimited whereas 3G data will be capped. 

Please understand that all data included in our Everything Data plans (and most certainly our Simply Everything) for PHONES, is unlimited.  😃

~ Nicholas

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Journeyman

SprintCares wrote:

Please understand that all data included in our Everything Data plans (and most certainly our Simply Everything) for PHONES, is unlimited.  😃

~ Nicholas

OK, thanks.  I wonder if she was confused because I was also asking about the mobile hotspot service.  Is there perhaps something "creative" about your definition of PHONE plans?  IE suppose I get a phone with the "mobile hotspot" capability (which I interpret as the phone acting as a WiFi router making it's existing 3G or 4G connection available to other devices), and purchase the $30 add-on to the Everything Data plan, does this alter the treatment of the data usage so that it coud fall under the 3G cap?

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Wizard

No strings attached, Tony.  The only thing bound to be creative is what you will choose to do with your unlimited data 😃 .  As always, should excessive roaming continuosly occur we will notify you. The HOTSPOT feature on capable devices for $29.99/month is also unlimited data.

~ Nicholas

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Journeyman

SprintCares wrote:

No strings attached, Tony.  The only thing bound to be creative is what you will choose to do with your unlimited data 😃 .  As always, should excessive roaming continuosly occur we will notify you. The HOTSPOT feature on capable devices for $29.99/month is also unlimited data.

~ Nicholas

Excellent, thank you!

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Journeyman

The confusion likely lies in USB and Mi-Fi devices.  Sprint limits these users to 5GB of 3G data monthly, but they are unlimited on 4G.  However, Sprint has unlimited 3G data on it's smartphones.

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Journeyman

I thought that too, but I re-read the email from Sprint that prompted me to post the question, and it was crystal clear that she thought it was for any device, including a phone.  The only mention in our conversation of anything other than phone usage was the mobile hotspot functionality that is available on most of the phones I'm considering.  Nicholas was helpful enough to point out that even that is unlimited for both 3G and 4G.

Sprint probably needs to look at the training some of their folks are getting.  And of course their web site needs work, because I still have yet to see a web page describing the limit as you or anyone else has explained it to me - and for that reason I can only heap so much blame the person who emailed me.

The bottom line for me is that I've got what I wanted to hear, in writing, from a Sprint employee, so I'm good.

Tony

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