Sprint just killed unlimited 4G data from its mobile hotspot plans, which means the few reasons to go with Sprint in the first place are becoming smaller. It also means that if you’re looking to sign up for new service for a mobile hotspot, there really is no reason to choose Sprint over Verizon, whose 4G LTE mobile hotspots destroy WiMax any day. Oh, and guess what? If you think your antiquated plans are going to be grandfathered, think again. You’ll be capped, too.
Sprint’s plans now cost $45 for 3GB, $60 for 5GB, and $90 for 10GB of combined 3G/4G data. Each additional MB will cost 5 cents. (They used to run at 3GB, 5GB and 10GB of 3G data, with unlimited 4G for all of the plans.) That cuts your value exponentially, if you were using the 4G liberally. (Oh, and it’s pretty crummy Sprint’s changing the game on people who’ve already signed up for service with the expectation of unlimited data.)
If you’re on a contract, this material change might be an escape for you, so you can head to greener pastures. On Verizon, you can get 5GB/month for $50, or 10GB/month for $80. Not only are Verizon’s plans cheaper than Sprint’s options, but speeds are often double or triple what you’d find on Sprint’s aging and possibly-soon-to-be-abandoned WiMax network. Sprint says that WiMax will still be around, but for how long? Just take a look at iDen.
Does this mean smartphones are next? Kyle Wagner at Gizmodo makes a good point in questioning Sprint’s reason for doing this. Is its network becoming too congested? Are unlimited data plans, for whatever reason, unsustainable?
I’m thinking that perhaps its upcoming LTE network might have something to do with this, but in what way, I’m not sure yet. Either way, Sprint might’ve just lost a good chunk of mobile hotspot users.