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Sprint Also Introduces New Unlimited Plan With Just as Many Drawbacks as T-Mobile’s

This morning, moments after T-Mobile unleashed their latest mostly-crappy unlimited plan, Sprint announced something very similar that is equally, if not more, crappy. The new Sprint plan is also pushing the unlimited angle and can even be had for cheaper than what T-Mobile is offering. Unfortunately, it carries many of the same downsides as T-Mobile’s.

Called Unlimited Freedom (‘Merica!), Sprint’s new plan will be available starting tomorrow, August 19. The plan includes “unlimited” talk, text, and 4G LTE data “for most everything.” It also features optimized (read: throttled) streaming video, gaming, and music. People, I am not making this up. Oh, Sprint is tossing in 5GB of 4G LTE hotspot data at no extra cost, though, so that’s a bonus. T-Mobile is charging you $15 for 5GB of tethering. 

The plans start at $60 for a single line, but you can add on a second line for $40 followed by lines 3-10 for $30 per.

So why is this plan equally as bad as T-Mobile’s? It’s pretty simply, actually. Sprint says that they are not only throttling video streaming (to 480p), like T-Mobile is doing, they are also going to throttle your gaming (2mbps cap) and the music you stream (up to 500kbps). With T-Mobile’s new plan, you can at least buy up to HD in the video streaming for a ridiculous $25 per month, but Sprint doesn’t seem to be allowing you to do that at all, plus they are also screwing with your gaming and music streams.

Like T-Mobile, Sprint isn’t really offering a true unlimited plan either. Sprint has set a 23GB per billing cycle cap that if reached, could allow them to throttle you depending on where you are. According to Sprint’s terms, “during times and places where the Sprint network is constrained,” could lead you to being de-prioritized. For reference, T-Mobile’s similar cap is 26GB.

These plans are just so wrong in so many ways. A couple of years back, as T-Mobile was starting their Uncarrier series, we actually liked what they were doing and saw some changes in the industry that benefited consumers. Now, each one is back to taking the slimiest approach they can to get you onto their network. Ugh.

Via:  Sprint
  • GirlFriday

    It works for me. Not all of us think being able to stream Netflix or Hulu on our phones is necessary. I never use either, and I seldom stream music on my phone anywhere I don’t have WiFi access, so that’s not a big deal either. Nor is the gaming thing. I am not a hardcore gamer. I have two lines on the Unlimited Freedom plan and it is perfect for us. The most data we’ve ever used in one month is 4GB. We’re both on WiFi much of the time. So whine about the plan all you want and bash it, but it really is ideal for many of us. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it a crappy plan.

  • JBK

    Tfw VZW and AT&T are the most honest guys in the room.

  • I like how much crap Sprint and T-Mobile are getting but the fact is that these plans are still a hell of a lot better than ATT or Verizon.

    • icase

      Verizon you can get unlimited talk/text and 3GB of data for $55/month post paid. How is this really any better than that for 90% of people out there?

  • SmokeNMirrors

    *cough* vpn

    • 秦淮一梦

      I don’t think it will help anymore. When they say they throttle “gaming” at 2Mbps, I’m pretty sure they will just throttle every unknown protocol to 2Mbps.

      • SmokeNMirrors

        VPN isn’t “unknown”, could always tunnel on port 80 or 443

    • It’s too bad Netflix cracked down on blocking access to it’s services via VPNs

  • Mollek216

    At&t is looking good to me with all this B’s. I will stick with my unlimited data plan with them. Pinky ain’t shining so bright now huh?!?

  • Ajmobileguru

    According to Sprint’s terms, “during times and places where the Sprint network is constrained,” (read: everywhere)

  • CoolSilver

    What I don’t get is if you use 23-26GB of data… Even at 30GB being 1GB per day. Which is about 42MB and hour… That’s REASONABLE for a lot of people. You can download 42MB of updates in about 15 minutes. How’s that being a burden on the network? Now if you throttle back to spread that 42MB that took 15 minutes into 2 hours.. who is being more of a problem? Sure you can cram more customers into same oversubscribed pipe but at what cost… it’s not saving you the data carrier any more for serving more for less. In fact it would cost more to rip and replace to properly serve the customers now and 5 years from now because they didn’t even plan for it as Mr. Pink T-Mobile Star would claim. They are ALL operating in the past old clunky networks.

    • Aaron

      All the carriers are probably hesitant at this point to upgrade their networks until the 5G standard is set. No point deploying more 4G towers when their customers will soon be wanting for the next big thing.

      • CoolSilver

        That’s fine but they still need to plan for proper data pipe to drive 5G. I doubt they plan for more than 128Kbps per customer. Which might be as much as 2G and a single “HD” voice call anyway.

      • Sporttster

        The way pricing is going, will 5g even be affordable for most???

  • JLV90

    at least sprint isnt throwing their old cheaper plans our the window to new customers

  • Nunyur_Biznezz

    Not saying the plan is good but the highest music streaming service I know of is 320 kbps so 500 kbps should be ok. And what games need 2 Mbps? When games on the XBOX One, PS4 or PC don’t need that play.

    • teardropcity

      I believe Tidal, the hifi version uses more.

      • Aaron

        People use Tidal?

        • teardropcity

          Not on Sprint now

  • Omar Amer

    Umm.. isnt throttling games specifically against Net Neutrality? I feel like Sprint and Tmo should both be getting calls from FCC on their new “unlimited” plans walking all over Net Neutrality.

    Both have plans that hard limit video(with no option to turn it off), with sprint out right throttling speeds for gaming. If this doesnt throw out disregard for Net Neutrality, then the FCC really needs to find a new definition for it then.

    • Cogito

      It’s absolutely against the principle of Net Neutrality, but it’s perfectly legal due to the way the FCC has made a distinction between net neutrality over hardline internet services vs wireless networks. Currently wireless carriers are exempt from the rules governing the likes of Comcast in the name of “responsible network management.” They can get up to all kinds of throttling shenanigans that hardline providers can only dream about, until such time as the FCC starts to view them the same and brings them under the net neutrality rules.

  • ScubaSteve

    The fact it includes at least 5gb of free tethering already makes it better than Tmobiles. I don’t really have anything against the new plans except the lack of a reasonable sized small pool of free high speed tethering. I don’t really tether all that often, but when I do I need the speed not the data allotment.

  • FCC needs to clamp down on bait marketing with these unlimited plans. Unlimited should be defined as as much as you want with no cap or slow down in service. Otherwise, tmo’s isn’t unlimited, it’s a 26GB plan.

    • T4rd

      Indeed, because using that logic; all of their (T-Mo’s) plans are unlimited data plans, because they all throttle after your specified cap.

    • Sporttster

      Consider: I rent a minivan from company A touting ‘unlimited’ miles. But in fine print it says ‘after 100 miles, your speeds will be reduced to 15mph.’ Could anyone in their right mind consider that truly unlimited miles when after 100 it becomes unusable?

    • John

      Unlimited data doesnt mean unlimited speeds or the highest speeds. In some ways, I’m lucky that VZ didnt decide to just leave all of us grandfathered UDP at 3g speeds since some of us had our plans back in the 3G days.

    • ck125

      “Unlimited data” there is nothing false about it. They aren’t claiming “unlimited high speed data”

  • Nw_adventure

    Just change the plan name to – Unlimited Throttle 5GB

  • John

    Just being on Sprint is already a drawback

    • Ajmobileguru

      lolz!

    • GirlFriday

      Not really. I’ve been with Sprint for 14 years now. Yes they had problems, their insistence on going with WiMax was stupid and their CS was horrible for awhile but they have improved considerably. I get LTE everywhere now. I’ve had very good experiences with CS the few times I’ve had to call. The whining and bashing is getting old and some of you really need to just grow up.

  • schoat333

    Gimmic plan vs Gimmic plan is getting dumb. T-mobile does have the better network though.

  • BobButtons

    ‘Your data is unlimited… except for the 52 limits we’ve applied to it.’ They shouldn’t be able to use the word unlimited in their ads. I thought it was bad enough they’re able to use it when they incorporated throttling after a certain amount. This is worse. Something isn’t unlimited if there are limits to it.

    • wickets

      AG’s around the country should sue for fraud…..any other business making such improper advertising statements would be taken to the cleaners

    • TJ Ninneman

      Agree 100% with your points. I live in southern Wisconsin and I can attest that Sprint’s service is nearly as horrific as their customer service. I stuck it out for 1 year under the DirecTv plan. I ported out on the very last day of that year. There was no way I was giving Sprint a dime.

      • BobButtons

        I was on Republic (since I don’t need much data) for a while with a device that ran on Sprint towers and only just barely made it work since their service works on WiFi as well. When they went a long stretch without offering any non-budget device, I switched to Fi and am so glad I did. Especially now that they brought in US Cellular in addition to T-Mobile/Sprint, coverage for me is great.

    • GirlFriday

      Sorry you chose to live in the boonies. I live in NYC and Sprint is great here. It’s also been great everywhere I’ve traveled recently (Boston, New Orleans, several cities in Florida, Los Angeles and Portland Oregon) The Sprint bashing is getting old. Grow up! Yes they had problems for awhile but they have improved considerably. I’ve been with them for 14 years now.

      • BobButtons

        Not Sprint bashing. They may be great for what they do have, they just don’t have it here. Also, great, you live in NYC. I could get an individual plan on every network imaginable to get coverage almost everywhere and still likely have a drastically lower cost of living so not really an equal comparison.

  • TypoCorrecto

    So is Cricket now the only one that provides a plan with truly unlimited data?

    • mcdonsco

      As far as I can tell, yes. But the rom monkeys around here will bitch about the 8mb cap which is only an issue if your, well, a rom monkey.

      • SEJ326

        Does Metro PCS’s unlimited plan have a soft cap after which data is throttled? I thought that was also truly unlimited.

        • mcdonsco

          No idea, haven’t looked into them

        • Cael

          “Based on network statistics for the most recent quarter, customers who use more than 25GB of data during a cycle will be de-prioritized for the remainder of the cycle in times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources.”

    • Cael

      I have a truly unlimited data plan with unlimited 4G LTE hotspot data.

    • Sporttster

      Anyone on the Cricket plan explain how it is going from 20+mbps speeds down to 8? Is it very noticeable? Just wondering for future options…..

      • icase

        8Mbps is faster than I get on Verizon around Philly anyway.

  • mcdonsco

    Sprint, the tin cans and string carrier.

  • Mike

    Of all things to throttle, someone please explain gaming to me?

    Even console/PC gaming uses very little bandwidth when playing, and throttling this is just as damning as throttling video. So you either get low quality video or games that lag in multiplayer, great choices /s.

    • dead_dandelions

      A lot of mobile games are online only; which is pretty self explanatory. But just in case, that means you cannot play the game unless you have an internet connection. Some give you the ability to switch from SD to HD graphics/sound/etc. to save on bandwidth/lag. Not all are data hogs but a lot are. If you’re somebody who does a lot of mobile online only or mmultiplayer games data does add up.

  • stacky
    • SEJ326

      To be fair, Sprint has been trialing a plan like this in a few markets for the past few weeks. T-Mobile may have beat Sprint to the announcement, but it was likely in anticipation of Sprint announcing this after the trials they have been running.

  • Omar Amer

    I really hope leger undoes this uncarrier. no idea why he thought it was a good idea. it only makes Tmo look less desirable than before, not more.

    • Cael

      Nothing will happen until the normal media picks this up otherwise a normal person won’t care until they actually experience it.

      • We aren’t the only ones trashing this. Almost every major tech outlet is now asking “WTF?”

        • Cael

          What I meant was, there are people who don’t read major tech outlets like The Verge, BGR, etc. who aren’t going to know all the details to care.

          Just from looking at WSJ and Time: WSJ has no mention of it & Time says T-Mobile is slashing prices on unlimited data plans and its not really going WTF. No mention of anything on Yahoo’s homepage either for s&g’s.

        • Sporttster

          Good. There needs to come a point when folks say WTH is going on and decide to stand up against this nonsense. Maybe a quick call to the FCC folks to let them in on this. I’m not a regulations guy, but hell this crap is getting ridiculous! It happens when markets are unfettered and no one is watching the hen house, per se. The fox comes gladly in and helps himself. Time we set some fox traps out! We’re tired of being the roasted ducks here!

      • Aaron

        To be fair, most normals probably won’t notice after they experience it. The only major drawback to the T-Mo plan that your average business traveler might notice is the tethering. We might see a resurgence in the root community for tethering apps. 🙂

    • Nunyur_Biznezz

      Sure and when they undo this they’ll go back to low caps but not bring back Binge On. or Binge On will be less than 1 Mbps rather than the 1.5 Mbps it is now. Limit data stash. Limit tethering if they offer it at all. Oh and jack up pricing.

    • JLV90

      I don’t know about undoing it at least add these plans in addition to current plans so new and old users have choice to switch between the plans