Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

Summary: Previously restricted to its 4G-capable phones, Sprint is extending the Premium data charge to all smartphones effective January 30.


When Sprint introduced the HTC EVO 4G smartphone last year many prospective customers were unhappy the network instituted a $10 monthly "Premium Data" charge. Sprint responded with an explanation that the EVO 4G, the carrier's first phone with 4G capability, could use more data bandwidth than other phones and the monthly charge was necessary to continue offering an unlimited 4G data plan. We can expect to see more unhappy customers, as Sprint is extending the Premium Data charge to all smartphones effective January 30.

The explanation given by Sprint remains the same, the $10 charge is necessary to continue to offer unlimited plans at the competitive rates it charges. The new charge does not affect plans on data cards, as they are not truly unlimited; 4G-capable cards with unlimited 4G are subject to a monthly data cap when the device drops down to the 3G network. That happens regularly as the Sprint 4G network is restricted to major metropolitan areas, and once you travel outside those your data card is likely to drop down to the Sprint 3G network, which is capped. Smartphone plans are unlimited on both 4G and 3G. You now pay the $10 Premium Data fee on all smartphones, not data cards, to provide that unlimited service according to Sprint.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, HTC, Mobility, Telcos, Wi-Fi

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  • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

    . . . and this is why "internet everywhere" is still a pipe dream and not a reality.
    • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

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  • Does it apply to current contracts?


    Do you know if this is applies to current contracts, our only to renewals and new contacts?

    I recently helped a friend at the end of her T-Mobile contract price alternatives & found that the Spring plan with the $10 premium data charge was still cheaper than the equivalent Verizon plan. Still not happy with the changer for my father, sister, and brother - all on my family plan and very light data users.

    • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

      @rob05667, This change will apply if a customer activates or upgrades to a smartphone. In those cases, the Premium Data add-on charge will be added to their monthly bill, but an existing line with a smartphone activated prior to Jan. 30 would remain unchanged.
      Jason Gertzen, Sprint
      • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

        @jginkc , will this $10 charge also apply to SERO plans too?
      • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

        @mrnp SERO already requires a premium plan for smartphones so there should be no change.
  • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

    It says new activations, I believe.
  • Paying a premium for unavailable features

    Don't you love paying extra just for the pleasure of having bragging rights on a product that will give you sporadic access to a tech that is not widely available?
    • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

      @wackoae I believe the upcharge is for smartphones and all data. Not just 4G. so your argument about paying for something you don't receive has become as vaporous as your comment.

      I thought this was inevitable as Android seems to be much more chatty on Data than my Blackberry. when I switched from Blackberry to Android my average data usage went from 40 to 50 MB a month to over 300 MB a month. And I do typically the same stuff that I did on my BB. Curious why Adnroid uses so much more data though.
      Freddy McGriff
      • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

        @Freddy McGriff
        RIM focuses on 'data efficiency' designed to minimize usage of data, probably largely because a lot of the data goes through the BES and BIS and they want to minimize cost.. Google couldn't care less about that...

        A good rule of thumb is that 200MB on a Blackberry correspond to about 2GB on an iPhone or Android phone.
        Doctor Demento
  • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

    Which is about time for me to wonder, is it worth it to pay $30/month for the privilege of basically checking my email when away from my computer. Since most of the time I am near a computer anyway and there is such a small portion of my mobile surfing that is not email related, I have to think this smartphone business model they are offering is just not worth it anymore. Alas, I had to give up my unlimited $10 data plan from sprint which is the exact same thing as the $30 data plan because I upgraded to a better phone. Stupid me.
  • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

    I suppose it might depend on how you define "data cards", and "Sprint", but I believe the $10 extra charge was already in place for those of us who use Sprint based "data cards" on our laptops.

    About a year ago, I purchased a 3G plan for my laptop through a 3rd party that uses Sprint's USB device and Sprint service. The monthly plans offered then and now (no contract required) had several steps available for various limited plans, but if you wanted an unlimited plan, you paid $10 more. Sounds familiar?

    From what I read on the 3rd party's site and in forums, the service was apparently first offered without an unlimited option, and folks complained. The 3rd party then made available an unlimited plan for $10 more, stating that the carrier required them to charge the $10 extra for unlimited service. So, at least it sounds like Sprint is being consistent. For me, $70 a month for unlimited mobile broadband seems reasonable and I love not having a contract. Just for context, I should state that I do not have cable or satellite TV in my home, nor do I pay for contracted cell phone/smart phone service.
    Trep Ford
  • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

    T-Mobile, here we come!
  • They're pushing it..

    Just a few months ago, they took away my employer discount on all phones but the primary one. I have 5 smart phones so that cost me dearly. I checked around and Sprint was still the cheapest. I have the evo so I already pay the $10 (plus $29.95 for tethering). If I upgrade any of the other phones and incur this charge, I'm gone. Not because I can get something cheaper but because I put up with Sprint's spotty network because they were way cheaper. They are pushing the point where they aren't enough cheaper to keep me from switching to a better network. Corporations never seem to have any common sense when approaching these limits. They tend to blow right past them and seemed stunned when people reject their new business model.
    • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones

      @20kwfence ... you mention spotty network coverage. I live in the PNW, generally in the Seattle area, and find good coverage. Just curious where you're experiencing your issues.
      Trep Ford
  • Why not make it a conditional charge?

    I don't understand why Sprint doesn't charge the extra $10 only in months that you actually use the 4G network. That might give people incentive to stay off the network if they didn't really need it. If a person is already paying for something regardless, they'll probably invent reasons to use it...I sure would.
    • RE: Sprint Brings Premium Data Charge to All Smartphones


      My theory is that the money goes to Clearwire, currently in severe financial trouble
      Doctor Demento
  • this add on sucks when you add taxes and fees

    recently I upgraded my sons phone to a smartphone (non-4G and I have to pay the 10.00 premium per month, but after taxes and fees it added a total of $26.00, I'm not going to do this when it's time to upgrade mine and my wifes, thats just crazy. I can get a better family plan at this point now with T-mobile. I'll be damned if I'll get a 4G phone and have to pay 10.00 bucks for premium data AND 10.00 bucks for 4G which is how it was explained to me by SPRINT, especially since I can't use 4G anyway.
  • The fee plus taxes and fees sucks

    This $10.00 fee is for ALL PDA/Smartphones regardless of 4G or not after April 1st. Once you add taxes and fees it added $26.00 to my bill. I'll be damned if I'm gonna do that for my other 3 smartphones on my account that are still under my old contract. That now makes it worthwhile for me to switch to T-Mobile.<br> Here is the SPRINT things as of last week. After April 1 2011 if you get a new PDA/Smartphone(which is about all the decent phones they offer) or upgrade you will pay a $10.00 premium data fee plus taxes and more fees. When I upgraded my sons phone to a smartphone it add $26.00 to my bill. I'll be damned if I'm gonna do that on the other 3 phones on my account. That means all my other current smartphones (under my old contract) it would cost me an additional $78.00 or more to upgrade. Are you kidding me ? A total of more than 100.00 dollars a month for having smartphones ? Look at the other junk sprint offers ? and then you want me to pay an additional 10.00 and more for a 4G phone that I can't even use the 4G on ? I'm gonna be switching to T-mobile at this point, I can get a cheaper family plan their now. This might not kill a person on a single plan, but on a family plan these fees are killers. Why not just charge me something like 25.00 for premium data per Family plan ? Instead of 10.00 for EACH phone plus taxes and fees ?<br>The Kicker is, NONE of this is explained in their PLANS section.<br>I'm gone from Sprint as soon as I can. This is just plain gouging. They come out with these things, get everyone hooked on them and practically offer little else that isn't junk, then they suddenly say oh we need more money if you own one of these like anybody really uses that much bandwidth on their network.