msg 2 Sprint: “Everything” means “EVERYTHING”

Sprint has an “Everything Data” plan that is widely touted on TV, on and in paper media. “Our Everything Data plans give you unlimited data, …”

“Everything” doesn’t really mean “Everything”. That page used to say “Because we’ve boosted your data experience with this phone’s amazing services and features, you’ll need our $10/mo. Premium Data add-on” [emphasis by Sprint]. Initially, this seemed tied to Sprint’s 4G WIMAX network. However, the $10/month premium was applied even when 4G didn’t work reliably, as in my experience in Austin, and even when 4G was not available at all. I readily accepted the $10/month when the Evo was new and I had been convinced that 4G would work well in Austin. 3 months ago, I was considering buying a second 4G capable phone, a Samsung Epic for my wife, and appealed to Sprint that they should not charge another $10/month for the Epic.

I spent several days trying, as a “Sprint Premier Gold” customer, to get Sprint to make an exception, even escalating to CEO Dan Hesse’s office, but to no avail. Everyone I spoke with repeated the assertion that the 4G capable phones put extra traffic on the 3G network when 4G was not available. But they would never provide a plausible technical explanation for the assertion. When my wife said she wanted an LG Optimus anyway, I accepted defeat. [When I first signed up with Sprint, it seemed like they would do almost anything to make customers happy. Even 5 years ago, when I would escalate some problem, Sprint was surprisingly, perhaps excessively, accommodating. Perhaps the less accommodating position is viable, since Sprint seems to actually be regaining customers again.]

In January, in the third paragraph of the press release Smartphones Drive Wireless Data Explosion, Sprint overcame the seemingly indefensible $10/month premium for 4G capable phones by “applying a $10 per month Premium Data add-on charge to activations of smartphones beginning Jan. 30.” — the premium now applies to 3G only phones such as the LG Optimus.

But the plan naming didn’t change. Sprint still touts the “Everything Data” plan that really isn’t everything, since typical data capable phones have a $10/month premium.

Though now simply says “Plans for this phone require our $10/mo. Premium Data add-on charge in addition to one of the plans below.”, that page lists 6 “Everything” plans with “unlimited” data.

As Ed Vizard once wrote “Words are only words and they have no regard for what they say.

Update March 13: See, also, Sprint’s Dan Hesse differentiates between unlimited and ‘unlimited’ in latest TV spot and Sprint increasing 3G data plan pricing by $10/mo, calling it ‘premium data’.

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