Sprint is loved by heavy data users, especially those who have access to both its 3G and 4G or WiMax networks. Where some carriers place caps on their “unlimited” plans, or offered tiered data packages like AT&T, Sprint as been, in my experience, truly unlimited. However, with the competition moving towards caps and metered pricing, there is a possibility that Sprint may follow suit.
So far, the carrier really hasn’t had too many issues with handling its data users. It doesn’t suffer the same issues with saturation and demand like AT&T does with the iPhone. Sprint also has gobs of spectrum for its WiMax technology, which is still nowhere near as ubiquitous as its EV-DO coverage, so no real worries with that getting bogged down.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Sprint has made unlimited plans the centerpiece of its campaign to win back customers. The simpler offerings coupled with a better line-up of phones has helped reverse heavy subscriber losses from the past few years. But with data usage increasing exponentially–largely driven by heavy video usage–Sprint has to invest more to keep up with the capacity needs. It’s an issue the industry is wrestling with: juggling the exploding data demands with the established model of unlimited plans.
“We’re not ruling out metered pricing,” [Dan Hesse] said. “Tiered pricing is something we look at.”
Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, has also admitted that the carrier has lost money on its heaviest or high-usage users.
While the carrier has had a reputation for bleeding customers in the past, its Simply Everything plans, which bundle unlimited data and SMS packages with minutes plans, has been helping reduce customer turnover. Having high-end phones like the HTC EVO 4G and Samsung Epic 4G has also helped.
In the short term, metered or tiered pricing for data plans won’t be an issue for Sprint users, but the company is making it clear that there is a possibility in the future.
[Via: WSJ (subscription required)]