Sprint is killing some of their unlimited data plans.
Starting in November 2011, Sprint is going to start denting their data users. Ironically enough, though, it's not for smartphones. The caps plan to set limits on people who use Sprint's data network for computers, tablets, mobile hotspots, mobile broadband users, and other things of that nature that use absolutely massive amounts of data. Smartphones, which generally load mobile, size-light versions of websites, won't affect Sprint's network that much. The target by Sprint appears to be the size-heavy website loaders that clog up Sprint's network by streaming full length videos, uploading/downloading media, and loading full webpages using hotspots or connect cards on their tablets and PC's. The biggest cap will allow for 5GB of data. Sprint's new data chart, effective starting this November, can be viewed below:
The plan does not affect smartphone users like the iPhone. The iPhone will continue to support unlimited data, as will other smartphones including Android, and Windows Phone 7; excluding using the personal hotspot feature, which is capped at 5GB. There will be overage fees just like any other service provider, for anyone that goes over the 5GB cap (assuming they selected the 5GB cap plan). The cap will apply to both 3G and 4G networks. Overage costs will be 5¢ per Megabyte that you use over your cap. That's $1 per 20MB that you use over your cap.
When using data roaming, prices differ a little bit. Data roaming is very expensive, which is why it's no surprise that people generally choose to turn that option off in their iPhone network settings. Sprint will only give you 100MB of roaming data on the 3GB cap plan, and 300MB of raming data on the other two data plans. For each Megabyte that you go over those caps, you will be charged 25¢. That's $1 per 4MB that you use over your cap.
It's important to understand that if you have unlimited data already that you will not be grandfathered into it. Sprint will automatically change your data plan to the capped version. So this will not be like Verizon, or AT&T where you could have signed up for the unlimited data plan before they change how much cellular data users use. But as the iPhone 4S just came out on the Sprint network, they still want to attract as many customers as possible, so they will probably keep the unlimited data plan on the smartphone market for a little while longer. After that, absolute power will corrupt absolutely, and smartphone users will all be forced under caps.
Could this be Sprint answering the cries of iPhone 4S users complaining about Sprint's slow 3G data speeds? Share what you think below.