Light Reading
The fine print on Sprint's new $60 plan suggests it can prioritize other plans' traffic first – a letdown, and maybe even a net neutrality violation.

Sprint Drops Prices, But Also Speeds?

Sarah Thomas
8/21/2014
50%
50%

Sprint is now offering individuals unlimited data for only $60, lower than T-Mobile's $80 plan, and unlimited unlike AT&T and Verizon's offers. But before you get excited, take a real close look at the fine print.

You'll see that customers who are currently under a one- or two-year service agreement with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) that move to the new $60 unlimited plan will have a higher monthly rate of up to $25 per month until they reach upgrade eligibility. That's frustrating, but not uncommon -- but read some more, and you'll find out:

"Usage Limitations: Other plans may receive prioritized bandwidth availability. To improve data experience for the majority of users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network." (See Sprint Unveils $60 Unlimited Plan.)

Similar wriggle room was given on its family plan as well -- noting that, "To improve the data experience for the majority of users, throughput speeds may be limited, varied or reduced on the network." But to actually deprioritize those customers who opt for a cheaper plan seems wrong to me -- even potentially a violation of net neutrality principles, if the Internet companies get their way and mobile traffic is treated the same as fixed. (See Sprint's New Family Plans Double Down on Data and Internet Giants Speak Up for Net Neutrality.)


Get all the latest Sprint news on Light Reading's dedicated mobile channel.


Sprint is promising bold changes to get back in the game, but it seems like it's not going far enough at the moment. I'm not sure who who would want to switch, knowing that Sprint's network is an acknowledged work in progress and they could get slower speeds than their peers on the same network? It doesn't seem like a winning combination. (See Sprint CEO: Price Cuts First, Best Network Next .)

Sprint will have to do more if it wants to take on the big two and fend off T-Mobile US Inc. The self-proclaimed "uncarrier" put out a new promotion today promising to give customers that recruit a customer from Sprint or another carrier a free year of unlimited LTE data, or a $10 per month credit if they already have an unlimited plan. For $60, T-Mobile offers 3GB of "unlimited" 4G data and then throttles the speed; $70 sets the threshold at 5GB, and $80 is fully unlimited. (See T-Mobile Tweaks Sprint Again With New Offer .)

It's clear a price war is imminent, but I hope to see a real one, rather than seemingly good deals that you have to dig deep into to find the real costs associated, monetary or otherwise. (See Sprint, T-Mobile: The Price War's On.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(14)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/25/2014 | 10:51:14 AM
Re: Nothing new
Absolutely correct. They benefit immensely by making these plans so confusing that direct price comparisons are often impossible. I write about this stuff for a living and I often have to spend a very long time understanding what the consumer is actually getting for the price. Can you imagine how the world's less technical folk see these plans?
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/25/2014 | 8:55:12 AM
Re: Nothing new
When will they have a simple offer? Never. They are trying to best P.T. Barnum and are attemting to fool all of teh people all of the time. Too many lawyers in developing contracts for simple to ever be a reality.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/23/2014 | 12:03:05 PM
Re: Nothing new
You have that right. When will providers just provide simple, easy to underatand agreement and advertising. The fine print is where the companies take advantage of customers. But, then there's always "you get what you pay for" attitude that there's nothing really free, and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/22/2014 | 10:42:07 AM
Re: Nothing new
True, my as-seen-on-TV hair curler was a disaster.

 

mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 10:31:39 AM
Re: Nothing new
Well... right. The service pitches are incomplete at best, and misleading or deceptive at worst. Again, less-than-forthright advertising isn't an issue limited to mobile operators.
SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/22/2014 | 10:26:58 AM
Re: Nothing new
I agree that it is blurry across the board, but I don't think they do or should expect anything different from a $60 unlimited LTE plan or an $160 one if both are advertised as unlimited LTE. Paying less for 3G, yes, but not when it's the same thing, otherwise it stops being a deal.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 10:22:53 AM
Re: Nothing new
At this point, most reasonable people understand the relationship between price and service levels. But the service provider needs to make the parameters clear, which isn't happening with mobile service plans.
SReedy
100%
0%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/22/2014 | 9:26:22 AM
Re: Nothing new
But what is unique about this is it isn't a blanket statement about the right to slow down speeds, it's noting that this particular plan could be deprioritized. That, to me, indicates they are offering this so-called great, cheap plan with unlimited LTE data, but because you chose the cheap one, you aren't going to get the speeds as others. It's penalizing new customers for taking advantage of a deal.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 8:56:33 AM
Re: Nothing new
The problem continues to be somewhat deceptive wording from the marketeers. Customers understandably see the boldface parts of the sales pitch (HIGH-SPEED NETWORK and UNLIMITED and LOWEST PRICE, etc.) and presume they are all part of the deal. But if truth in advertising were a legal requirement, there would be very little advertising. And without advertising, where would the global economy be?
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 8:28:22 AM
Re: Nothing new
I will say that I do miss 4g from the US what they call 3G in Thailand is just not up to par.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
More Blogs from Que Sera Sarah
Project Ara – smartphones built around modules – will be launching soon, creating questions about how operators will price such devices as leasing programs have become the norm.
The past year validated our 2014 small cell movers and shakers list in a lot of ways, but it also saw several executives leave the small cell market, by choice or otherwise.
BlackBerry and T-Mobile are considering kissing and making up, but only if their CEOs can get along.
Sprint's promotion to halve the service pricing plans of those switching from AT&T or Verizon isn't as good as it seems when you factor in the new device requirements.
OTT chat app Kik has raised $38.3M in funding and acquired a GIF maker, showing operators there are other ways to monetize chat than ads and fees.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (4) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
LightSpeed Looks to Plug the Gigabit Gap
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/23/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.