Sprint Changes 'Unlimited' Broadband To 5 Gigs... While Still Advertising Unlimited Broadband

from the that's-not-unlimited dept

I've actually been one of the few satisfied Sprint customers for many years. Over the past few years, they were the only mobile broadband provider who didn't limit mobile broadband to ridiculously low plans like 5 gigs per month, like other carriers. In fact, this was a key selling point, and one of the reasons why I happily stuck it out with Sprint. I know Wall St. analysts have been insisting that Sprint would need to cap such broadband usage at some point, but it seemed like a really short-sighted idea, since the unlimited broadband is really about the only facet of a Sprint account that makes it more appealing than its competitors. And so... of course... it appears to be going away. Here's the email I recently received concerning my "phone as modem" option, which I use often enough:

Basically, with no warning, effective immediately, Sprint has unilaterally changed our deal from one where I was paying for unlimited data via the phone as a modem -- to one where it's capped at a stupidly low 5GB. And, the company even has the gall to then happily tell me (below the screenshot cut off) that this change won't impact how much I pay -- as if I should have expected them to increase the fees while taking away a feature I like.

Considering that unlimited mobile broadband was not only part of the marketing pitch, but also a big part of the reason for why I signed up for the plan I did, this certainly seems like a bait-and-switch deal... and I'd thought that bait-and-switch deals like this were violations of FTC rules, but what do I know?

Of course, on a whim, I wondered if Sprint's marketing had changed... and I did a quick search on "Sprint unlimited broadband" and turned up the following advertisement:


If you can't see it clearly -- it appears Sprint is still advertising unlimited mobile broadband -- highlighting that you can "avoid the data dilemma" and "get truly Unlimited data." Except, um, that's clearly not the case. Changing your plans unilaterally for those who specifically signed up for unlimited broadband is one thing. But continuing to advertise such plans while limiting them and -- even worse, effectively mocking such limited plans -- is simply adding rather obnoxious insult to injury. Sorry Sprint, but you may have finally convinced me it's time to explore other options.

Filed Under: advertising, bait and switch, broadband, data caps, ftc, wireless
Companies: sprint


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  1. icon
    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), 5 Jun 2012 @ 11:31am

    I need some assistance in understanding the "data is data" position, because what I was told, it's not the same when it hits a point and has to be carried differently, hence the separate charges.

    It is my understanding the data transfer from the PC to the phone (data) doesn't use the same signal as transferring the data from the phone to the tower.

    PCs don't come with cell technology, but WiFi, and it's this WiFi signal that's translated to the 3G/4G signal used by cell communication.

    Is this not correct? I was just told this recently by a sales rep at T-Mobile when I questioned why our phones should even come with 4G if WiFi is the "preferred" method to use the phone.

    I also got the same type of answer from the cable company, to stated the charges for three separate options were due to the transmissions of those signals to be carried on lines which are dedicated to the broadcast signals (aka: phone calls don't travel to a cable network carrier line, but to a digital switch box, and the separate fees is how they maintain balancing payments to each other).

    I've also wondered why we're being charged for so many little things when everything goes through the same signal eventually, but this seems more a back-end accounting issue than a customer service relation issue.

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