As my Great Aunt Gertie’s nephew by marriage via her third husband used to say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While on the face Sprint’s new unlimited plans guaranteed for life would appear to be catch-free, easy and breezy, a little digging goes a long way to show that’s far from the case.
Thanks to our stalwart and observant Consumerist readers like Rudolph and Steven, we’ve parsed out some of the finer points of the new guaranteed forever and ever unlimited plans Sprint is crowing about today.
Unlimited talk, text and data is guaranteed forever — but that doesn’t mean the prices will stay the same for those services.
It says it right there on the Sprint site in fine print: Sure you can pay $80 for now (or more, depending on the amount of lines), but Sprint could just decide to hike those rates whenever it wants and charge you for it.
And heck, Sprint might also inform customers that their phones aren’t eligible, either, potentially requiring customers to get a new phone if they want to stay on the unlimited track(emphasis ours):
Unlimited Guarantee: Available while line of service is activated on Unlimited, My Way Plan or My All-In Plan. Applies to unlimited features only [Ed: excludes other data options and mobile hotspot]. Price and phone selection subject to change. Account must remain in good standing and non-payment may void guarantee. Non-transferrable.
There’s no assurance you’ll get much use out of that highly-touted 4G LTE.
Our fears of slow data speeds is a valid one — and unlimited customers might just find themselves skipped over in favor of other plans. More fun with fine print:
Usage Limitations: Other plans may receive prioritized bandwidth availability. Streaming video speeds may be limited to 1 Mbps. Sprint may terminate service if off-network roaming usage in a month exceeds: (1) 800 min. or a majority of min.; or (2) 100 MB or a majority of KB.
It’s not necessarily going to save you any money.
Consumerist reader Steven points out that compared to the Sprint plan he has for two lines right now, the math works out to a whopping savings of $0.01.
He writes that his two lines are on a 1,500-minute “Everything Data” plan, breaking it all down thusly:
Unlimited My Way plan
$50 first line
$40 second line
$30 “premium data add-on” first phone
$30 “premium data add-on” second phone.
Total: $150/month plus surcharges and taxes
Current 1,500-minute “Everything Data” plan
$110 first line
$19.99 second line
$10 “premium data add-on” first phone
$10 “premium data add-on” second phone
Total: $149.99/month plus surcharges and taxes
He adds that if he were to add a third smartphone line, it costs $60 extra on the new plan, but only $30 on the old one. Or for four lines, $50 extra instead of $30.
Perhaps there will come a day when a service is actually as wonderful and life-changing as wireless carriers purport them to be, but because it is essential to our vital organs for oxygen to reach them in order to live, we won’t be holding our breath.
*Shout-out to Rudolph for the tips!