Sprint adding $10/month fee to all smartphone users upgrading or adding new lines

By Bla1ze on 18 Jan 2011 12:30 pm EST
Sprint adding $10/month fee to all smartphones

If you're a Sprint user who is looking to upgrade or start a new line of service with a smartphone then Sprint has some bad news for ya. Previously something that was initially only charged on Sprints HTC EVO 4G Android device and then later all 4G devices on Sprint, a $10/mnth data charge is now being placed onto all smartphone activations. When it first started being charged many felt it was a "4G tax" as the only devices that it was being charged to ran on Sprints 4G network. Sprint advised this was not the case and stated it was a charge implemented for network upgrades and such. In their press release today, they backed those statements up by making it applicable to all smartphone devices as defined by Sprint:

"devices with robust operating systems bringing the full function of mobile applications and programs to life including Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile, Palm, and the Instinct family of devices"

Keep that in mind if you're currently a Sprint customer and are close to upgrading or adding a new line. Also makes me wonder what, when released the 4G BlackBerry PlayBook will fall under?

Source: Android Central

Reader comments

Sprint adding $10/month fee to all smartphone users upgrading or adding new lines


I will now be leaving when my contract is up instead of upgrading. $50 added to my plan with 5 BlackBerrys? No thanks

Where will you go? I'm a VZW customer and I'm thinking that Sprint's price points are still pretty competitive even with this new "fee" compared to Big Red or AT&T.

You know, I went to the web-sites and do a simple add of features for unlimited plans and in that regard, you are indeed correct. However, if you are on the 3000 min/everything family plan, even with the $10 premium, you're still $30 less per month than the comparable 2000 VZW plan. So, for sure, it shaves the distance between the two.

It used to be that TMobile and Sprint were cheaper, but they all have gotten so expensive lately that I don't know who to go with then my AT&T Contract is up.

With data usage up as much as 350% for some smartphone owners, year over year, the increasing cost of supporting the network = small increments in customer cost. Instead of implementing complex and deceptive tiered data packages, like the other carriers, that are chock full of surprise charges and complicated overage fees, Sprint maintains the unlimited data plans our customers have come to appreciate. The value is still best when considering other carriers and their complex tiered data fee structures. We don't want to see you leave but we won't be around for long if we don't adjust usage fees on rare occasion. Sprint thanks you for being a customer. Please reconsider after weighing your options.

"Complex tiered data packages"? It's not complex. $25 for 2GB. $15 for 200MB. How's that hard to grasp or complicated at all? Not to mention you get texts when you hit 50%, 80%, and 100% of your usage so going over and incurring another $15 or $25 is easy to see coming.

Yes, it's not unlimited. It's in no way complicated or unfair, though.

But what people don't know unless you work or have worked inside the company, mostly in the network division, Sprint is ALLWAYS doing up grades and switch loads and patches. Thats the cost of doing busniess and they are blowing smoke by trying to make it seem like that's the reason. They are hurting for money to bank roll the next space trip, LTE. WiMax (with the help of Nextel), was to Wireless what ION was to Wireline. 2 Billion waisted on ION. All but killed the company. So, they figure 10 a month isn't much if your hooked. I still have a nice Sanyo 4920 in my drawer that I can switch too but they won't give me a discout for using 2G. Nice try Sprint but Dan, you need to stop letting your techs get laid off because your running out of tallent to keep your patched network a running.

In March of 09, lots of tallent was shown the door. Switch sites and techs working in network services (in the puzzle palace and reston VA) took it pretty hard. Sales didn't escape it either. Then level 5 managers were giving walking papers almost a year to the day of the 8000 in March 2009. Then, level 4 mangers were put in place but given extra duties of taking over more then one site giving them a large group of direct reports. A good example of this is Detroit. The switch site has both wireline aka LDD/and wireless switches in one building. Only 2 of the dozens of other switch sites share this setup. Normal operations had 6 wireline, 7 wireless techs. As some retired, took early outs before the layoff, there were 5 wireline, 6 wireless. Now, there are 5 for both sides. The guys are beat to death as nothing (workload) didn't change. One installation tech covers all the metro detroit and POP sites and one of the switch techs double as a transop tech. No raises in 4 years, no 401k input from the company. Now they all belong to Ericsson who let a guy go a couple months ago. No warning, just bye-bye. My primary point is those left behind don't care anymore about the network. We use to pride ourselves in up time and outage restoration. Now, all they do is bit@ch about the NOC's not being able to talk english and keep calling for issues they have no control over. They might have dumped lots of cash into fixing customer support but they let the network people go to crap. No moral. No motivation. Not a group I want to trust my buisness with. I have 6 lines of service with them now. All on SERO plans and none on contract. If they jack up the price more, I'll have no reason to stay.

CDMA is still EDGE in my opinion, 2G. Once they have voice and data at the same time, speed tests would have to be performed. Doubt it would be "4G" speeds, more like 3G speeds. My 1 cent.

Sprint's current pricing offered some incentive to overlook their fairly poor customer service. This evens the playing field with other providers and certainly wouldn't seem to boost their smartphone sales in general.

Sprint's customer service has seen improvement, as measured by independent third parties like J.D. Powers & Assoc, for 11 straight quarters. We've recently been awarded top honors in CS by several critics and consumer advocate care groups.

I've had good customer service. Sad thing is, when I was working for Sprint, employee care was really good and set the standard for customer support. However, while all eyes were on customer support, the company has shot itself in the foot by allowing it's techs to be outsourced to Erricson (sic). The guys left to keep the network up and running has really thined. They don't get the tools they need to fix the network and the MTTR is very high as compaired to when it was Sprint employee's doing the job. Looking at it's track record, ION, WiMAx and now LTE dreams, (I won't even go into the Nextel hole), it's gonna take more then 10.00 to fix the company, much less it's network that is having more and more problems trying to be everything to everyone. At some point, it's gotta stop.

Fairly poor customer service, if you are going to comment at least know what you are talking about. Sprint's customer service is vastly improved. So please, quit with the stuff from years ago and get up to date. If you want a poor customer service experience try Verizon or T-Mobile. These two use to tie all the time, not so anymore.

Monday, FEB. 21, 2011 - I just got off the phone with Sprint ... customer service man was RUDE, RUDE, RUDE ... did not let me finish explaining why I called, and when I asked him not to interrupt me, just kept talking, blah blah blah.

I have a call in for a supervisor. 50% of the Reps I get at sprint are competent and professional and courteous. But do you think 50% is a good number.


My hubby switched from an old phone to a newer phone and had to eventually return the phone to the company from which we bought it.
The $10 extra charge is still on our bill ....

I am paying $99 a month for my line and $89 SUPPOSEDLY FOR HIS, but yet EVERY SINGLE MONTH WE GET A BILL FOR $250 !

YES, $250 a month which is NOT what we agreed to. They advertise one price and charge another with a lot of trumped up charges.

We have been with Sprint for decades with a short time off with Verizon .... and what do they do .... advertise their best offers to NEW customers.

And what do they do with the new customer after they "HOOK" them. I wonder how many people are told that a bunch of charges will be PADDED in after they sign a contract .... my hubby is not on a contract and mine is up in June.

The entire cell phone industry re AIR TIME is a complete rip off. had anyone added up what $250 a month for 18 years comes to ... and they can't talk respectfully on the phone ... that is because they hire people who barely know what 18 years is as their customer relationship management.

That sucks. I already pay 160 for 3 lines so that would eventually be a 30 dollar hike. Still cheaper than other companies but I'm definately not looking to keep increasing my bill.

Even with the extra charge still cheaper than Verizon or AT&T, and much better service in my experience.

The headline failed to mention that this is only for 3G service. 4G users don't have this "fee". Yes, I know there's only 3G BlackBerry's on Sprint, but still.

Uhh.. 4G users were the FIRST ones subject to this fee. It started with the EVO 4G. Now it's applicable now matter how many G's ya got, lol.

Yes, it is.. for 3G customers. And smartphone device owners it is. No, it's not new for users who already had a 4G device they've been paying for it since the launch of the EVO 4G.. but no OTHER devices have had to pay it before until now, making it new for 3G device owners.

That was the point of saying "All" and indicating in the article that 4G users had been paying for it for a while now. No matter how you wanna look at it.. new news or old news, it's still gonna hit ya when it comes time to upgrade or buy ANY smartphone on Sprint.. be it 3G or 4G.

While adding fee's, they are also taking away functions on the network/phones. Find me an unrooted droid phone of Sprints that lets you set up "forced" roaming. That was removed from the OS/phone. Bad enough the battery life sucked but unable to roam is a step back, not forward. I shelved my samsung moment and switch back to my BB 8830. Hey, it might be old but at least I'm getting my moneys worth.

What I don't really understand is why Blackberry devices are also subject to this fee. Yes, they are legit smartphones, but the data usage of a BB user is typically much lower than that of an iOS or Android user due to compression and the nature of use. I think Sprint should consider waiving this fee for BB users. It would encourage buyers to purchase BB devices, which use less data, which would put less strain on the network.

considering that BlackBerries use a fraction of the data that other platforms do we are getting the short end of the stick. looks like I'll be looking at a data hungry phone for my next upgrade to fully take advantage of the money Sprint wants from me.

Let's not forget to that Sprint is also changing their premier upgrade policy http://goo.gl/pB5N8

If I remember right, VZW would not disclose any info at CES about what there 4G service would cost the consumer. So hold your tongue when you are complaining about what your 4G is costing on Sprint, when the VZW customers don't even know what they are going to be charged in the future.

I have 2 BBs on Sprint my Tour and my daughters Style, and compared to what my wife is paying for her BB on T-Mobile, I will still be getting the better deal at $139.99 then my wife. When I was with AT&T and it was just me and my Pearl, I was paying close to $100 for 250mins and the BB data plan.

Sprint also have better features with their data plan compared to others so yes while my bill will go up, I will still stick with Sprint. Just a few years ago gas was under $3 nationally. Its the changing of the times.

As for the BB Playbook, it will be interesting to see what the price points will be for that plan. Sprint Tablet 3G plans is currently $29.99 for 2GB and $59.99 for 5GB of month. With a cap on data I wonder if we will see an increase in this area as well not to mention the data plans for their NetBooks which also has a cap on data.

VZW is discontinuing the New Every 2 discount.
Sprint's tacking on this fee.
A lot of consumers' budgets are moaning & groaning.
Are carriers that strapped for cash?

Was thinking about leaving sprint, glad they've decided to make this decision easier for me!

While Sprint is still cheaper than others, this is still ridiculous! They already charge up to 15% in additional "fees" each month (some of which are disguised to look like a tax). I actually just renewed and added a line for my wife so normally I wouldn't care as who knows what the plans will cost 2yrs from now, but what gets to me is the whole swapping ESN's. I have several different phones and I like to switch fairly often. If I had T-Mobile or AT&T all I have to do is swap the sim card. I don't see how they can charge you just for switching phones, not changing plans (when you already have a smartphone). I have phones with webOS, Android, BlackBerry, etc. The "premium data charge" is especially troubling on my BlackBerry which uses BLACKBERRY SERVERS! Blackberry owners don't affect Sprints' data network at all as far as I know. I call B.S. Why does a Virgin Mobile Blackberry only cost $35/mo? They will probably raise that too, but Its getting to the point where it would be cheaper to use a dumbphone and get a Virgin Mifi and carry around a tablet... at least then it would be a "premium" internet experience haha

This does not make for happy Sprint customers. I know I am one. But, it is supposed to be for network maintenance and expansion so Sprint you better keep the network working. And the big announcement on 2/7/11 had better be big now. I just got a Style which I really like (gave up Android which I didn't like and EVO which I liked) but since I paid full price I should still be eligible for my annual upgrade but now have no incentive. Looks like I'll be keeping my Style for a while.

This is so true. Last time I checked, I'm still getting roughly the same # of emails on my phone each day, so why is my data usage going up? 350% increase my arse...

That's OK, Sprint will bridge the gap between them and Verizon and I will switch my phones somewhere else. I'd rather have Verizon, but Sprint was too much of a good deal to pass up. Now they are still cheaper, but only a little. And for a "little" I would rather have "better" and go with the leader.

"What I don't really understand is why Blackberry devices are also subject to this fee. Yes, they are legit smartphones, but the data usage of a BB user is typically much lower than that..."

Before everyone gets their boxers are wrinkled.... Sprint ALREADY charges this on the bb.. maybe some of you dont know that but they do for the rights for RIM.... they only charge the extra $10 on 4G devices... Its to help with the network for all those sucking the life with heavy rich content... .So instead of complaining about $10 bc you could be paying more on AT&T and Verizon... Keep in mind AT&T doesnt give you unlimited data and Verizon.. well thats a different topic....

People need to stop complaining about the fees carriers charge.. You want so much out of the network that you fail to forget it cost money to build, supply, support, maintain... So all of you who just purchase a device and dont know how to use it, there is a maker......

So if you dont want to pay.. Fine... If you want to complain and think you can do better... Then build your own network or just pay the tiny $10..

Its not that serious...geez...Good Job sprint. You cant make everyone happy but you do have to pay someone to maintain your network and to make sure its not bogged down like AT&T

It's Good to be with T-Mobile.The longer I am with T-Mo the better it gets. Been with T-Mo for over 5 years. I pay 100 a month for 700 Shared minutes on 2 lines (family). Unlimited messaging for my entire family. Unlimited BB-Internet on my line. Who can match that? No carrier now.

After seeing this, and despite that I signed up to be notified about the 4G PlayBook, it is much more likely I will just get the WiFi PlayBook. I already have a 9650 on the lower priced plan, and I can tether the PlayBook as needed, so it seems Sprint has determined for me that a 4G PlayBook adds no value for existing Sprint customers. I'm also a Pioneer member and still have one phone upgrade I can do at some point in the future without changing my plan.

Most Likely the Playbook will have its own plan, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab™ "Tablet 3G Mobile Broadband Connection Plan" with data caps at 2GB and 5GB at their perspective price points of $29.99 & $59.99 a month.

I just did a mock order on Verizon's website for the same services that I now have included in my Sprint 450 + all data plan. (And, don't forget that at Sprint ALL mobile to mobile calls whether they be to AT&T, Verizon or other mobile phone covered friends/family are exempt from the 450 minutes. Also, don't forget your access to Sprint TV by way of mobitv, which Verizon doesn't even offer!) Anyway, doing my best to compare apples to apples (no pun intended), Verizon would cost $30 more per month than Sprint, WITH THE NEW $10 INCLUSION. So...Sprint is a pretty doggone good bargain, and they've been good to me from a customer service/repair standpoint through the years. Their coverage is good even in my rural small town, and I'm staying put!

I spoke to a Sprint Rep over the phone on Friday and they told me that the $10 fee that I was being charged was due to the FCC or something that came down on them and that was the "lowest" fee they could charge and "get away with it". By reading the above comments, I am leaning towards believing that these companies are trying to suck what they can out of us. I get a 25% discount on my service so I don't notice it that much...but still.