Sprint’s $20 “Unlimited” Plan Is Anything But; Throttles Data After 1GB

Starter_Unlimited_DataFor several years, wireless companies have been selling data plans that were dubiously described as “unlimited” because users’ connections were slowed after passing some sort of arbitrary monthly threshold (usually around 3-5 gigabytes). But Sprint’s new plan — selling for only $20/month — lowers the limbo bar so close to the ground that the term “unlimited” might not be flexible enough to slip underneath.

Sprint announced the new plan yesterday, promising “no data overages” but also revealing that once the customer has used more than 1GB of data in a month, their connection goes from speedy 4G LTE to achingly slow 2G.

That doesn’t mean the Sprint plan is necessarily a bad bottom-dollar plan for consumers who need a smartphone but barely use it for anything more than checking e-mail. As Sprint’s chart above shows, at $40/month it is less expensive than comparable 1GB plans from T-Mobile and Verizon.

Our issue is with the use of the term “unlimited.” Those T-Mo and Verizon plans don’t market themselves as unlimited plans but as entry-level options for part-time smartphone users.

Adding potential confusion for consumers is Sprint’s offer of an actual unlimited data plan for $70, including talk and text. There’s a huge difference between a plan intended for people who only take their smartphones out a couple times a week and one that claims to offer relatively unfettered access to data (up to 23GB of it at least). They should not both be labeled “unlimited.”

[via DSLreports]

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