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HTC Evo 4G   (Source: Sprint)
Sprint is watching 4G data use

Over the last year here has been a lot of publicity over the changing of the mobile carriers around the country from unlimited data plans to tiered pricing. The carriers say that the increased data usage costs them more and the change to tiered is inevitable if the usage is extreme. The catch for consumers is that what wireless carriers feel is a reasonable amount is often not enough to stream a movie or two per month without going over the limit.

Sprint is one of the major carriers left offering an unlimited plan. Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse has stated that if the data usage of users on its 4G network gets too high, it might consider upping the monthly fee for the service. Currently Sprint charges 4G users $10 more per month than users of its 3G network. Hesse says that the extra $10 is because they expect users that embrace devices like the Evo 4G and the Samsung Epic 4G to consume more data thanks to the devices' larger screens.

Hesse said, "We know that users will use a lot more data [on Epic and Evo], so we charge $10 more. If we have to, if the average usage gets too high, we might have to increase the price." Hesse made these statements after his keynote Wednesday at the EmTech@MIT 2010 conference reports 
Computer World.

Hesse also took time to flaunt the Galaxy Tab on the stage during his keynote, stating the device would be coming to Sprint in a few weeks. Hesse did state that he doesn’t expect Sprint to move to metered pricing on its 4G services, but that the data usage will be watched closely. The clear indication is that if the data use goes over what Sprint thinks is reasonably, metered pricing will come.

Hesse said, "If heavy users flock to us [from tiered plans on AT&T or Verizon], we'll watch that." He continued stating, "We can offer unlimited [usage] as long as the usage is reasonable. If you run an all-you-can-eat buffet, but you have the New England Patriots come in and the whole team spends a whole day there, I can't afford to do that anymore."



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Who is to say....
By computergeek485 on 9/23/2010 10:52:03 AM , Rating: 2
what is excessive use? If you're providing the users with a much faster means to information, 4g, the use is going to increase because there will be less waiting time overall. It's understandable if they were to say have 30$ a month be unlimited, and have lower monthly capped plans below that but raising the overall price for everyone is just stupid.




RE: Who is to say....
By TSS on 9/23/2010 11:54:35 AM , Rating: 5
Excessive use should be read as "anybody who uses more then our predicted model of the average user".

And the above should be read as "anything that cuts into our profit margin".

They simply need to provide more capacity for the more heavy users (for instance, people watching youtube on their mobile instead of just using it for email and browsing) which costs them more money. Probably, though this is just speculation, in the past this was compensated for the constant increase of users, and thus, revenue.

Since we hit a crisis i'll bet the growth has leveled off, while usage has kept rising, as the internet is a pretty cheap form of entertainment any way you slice it. So in order to keep their profit margins up, they have to get more money from *somewhere*. Which'll be from whoever they deem "uses too much".

Makes sense when you think about it. Ya just have to keep greed in mind.


RE: Who is to say....
By quiksilvr on 9/23/2010 12:13:36 PM , Rating: 3
It's all just the music and movie industry nonsense getting in the way of progress.

They are afraid that 4G and LTE will be replacing cable companies and therefore more illegal downloads.

Look at Comcast. They claim 99% of their users use well under 250GB and yet they still have the data cap. Why? Because the RIAA and movie companies are jerking Comcast off under the table.

This is the same case with the cellphone companies. It's not like they can't handle the usage, it's that they are getting influenced by others to cap the data usage to avoid people flocking away from cable and turning on the torrent burners.


RE: Who is to say....
By Lerianis on 9/24/2010 2:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
Comcast doesn't really enforce that thing all that well. Hell, I go 500GB's a month sometimes, and I hear nothing from them.

You are right that some people are trying to influence them to cap the data usage, and that needs to stop. The FCC should IMMEDIATELY step in and put an end to those agreements, even when they are 'backtable', by saying that NO internet plan can have a cap on it AND it has to be at or UNDER a certain price.

Yeah, it's price controls.... but we need some of them in the world today, with the backtable dealing that is driving up prices illegitimately.


RE: Who is to say....
By mcnabney on 9/23/2010 1:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
Sprint does not have a profit margin.

They have lost money every quarter for the last 3-4 years. I think in 2Q they bled about $760M.

Sprint - the only wireless carrier that can't figure out how to make money. Perhaps giving everything away is not the best plan. In fact, they remind me of an old joke. "But sir, we are losing money on every widget we sell! Don't worry about it, at these prices we will make it up in quantity." I think Hesse heard that and didn't get the joke.


RE: Who is to say....
By Drag0nFire on 9/23/2010 2:42:40 PM , Rating: 2
Let's be reasonable for a second...

Under Hesse's leadership, Sprint has undergone some significant changes recently. They have poured a bunch of money into their network, and they seem genuine about transparency in customer service.

Excessive usage means that their existing infrastructure is insufficient, and that they need to additional capital expenditures to keep offering the same level of services. If the demand comes from more people, this means more money to cover expenses. If the demand comes from the same number of people (each demanding more data), than Sprint needs a new solution to keep up with expenses.

Put it this way: 4G is really fast for a mobile connection. If people are taking advantage of this connection for excessive usage (download dvd or blueray rips, etc), Sprint will incur extra costs and will necessarily pass the cost on to the users. Being upfront about it is better than the competition. Think... ATT dropped the tiered pricing out of the blue with no warning, and hasn't dealt with the fact that the demand on their network exceeds capacity.


RE: Who is to say....
By WW102 on 9/23/2010 3:13:54 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
ATT dropped the tiered pricing out of the blue with no warning,


Only for new customers or people who change their plan. Everyone else is grandfathered into the unlimited data plan.


The $10 a month is garbage
By JMichaels on 9/23/2010 12:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
I used 345MB of data, and I don't even get 4G at all in my area, and still have to pay the $10 extra over the amount I am already paying for data in the first place. I would actually prefer the tiered pricing to this $10 extra for 4G when you don't even get 4G in your area.




RE: The $10 a month is garbage
By smackababy on 9/23/2010 12:54:36 PM , Rating: 2
I use around 5-6GBs a month and I don't live in a 4G area. If I did, I image it would be about the same, I'd just spend less time downloading stuff.


RE: The $10 a month is garbage
By AmbroseAthan on 9/23/2010 1:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
I sit around 4GB per month, not including wifi in my apartment. I can only see it going up now that I seem to be able to get 4G now in NYC. And this is basically just from browsing, maps, email and social network syncs.

Sitting in 4g now, and it is definitely a lot quicker then 3g.


Data Usage Is No Different from 3g to 4g
By syphon on 9/23/2010 12:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
Right now I have a HTC Hero (3g) on Sprint and about to upgrade to an EVO 4G phone. Right now, everything I use works perfect with 3g speeds. I honestly do not think having 4g will cause me to use more data. I will still use Pandora the same amount each day, watch the same amount of Sprint TV, etc.

Sprint is pulling an AT&T. Snatch up the market and get them into contracts then slowly start increasing prices. I will hold off on getting my 4g phone next week to see how this plays out. I do not want to lock my contract up if they are about to raise the rates.




By fic2 on 9/23/2010 1:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't you want to lock your contract before they raise rates? If they raise the rate on your contract I think it is an out of the contract so you are still good.


MAY moved to tiered pricing?
By Indianapolis on 9/23/2010 10:59:49 AM , Rating: 3
I think it would be safe to change that "may" to "will". How often does a company hint at raising prices, and then fail to pull the trigger?




I can say...
By ksherman on 9/23/2010 11:17:39 AM , Rating: 2
That 4G data usage on my EVO4G is virtually non-existent. That radio kills battery life and takes a while to connect, ergo I pretty much never turn it on. It's a gimmick, I feel. HSPA+ makes so much more sense to me.




I'm switching!
By The Raven on 9/23/2010 12:22:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sprint May Move to Tiered 4G Pricing if Usage is Extreme


I may move to US Cellular if Sprint switches to Tiered 4G Pricing. What did they expect when they upped the bandwidth? Didn't they do market research on this? In the words of Homer Simpson, "Oh, so your little plan. Get us addicted, then jack up the price!"

Just kidding. Though I am a Sprint customer, I do not have a data plan. It is their texting scam that has me wanting for another carrier.




Here's an Idea
By thrust2night on 9/23/2010 1:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
Don't force customers to buy a data plan with their smartphones so you actually give people a choice if they want to use the data plan or not and not put any load on the network. Plus throttle the speeds for people who go over 5GB per month or charge THEM extra.

Don't complain about data usage when you are forcing customers to buy them.




excessive?
By Strk on 9/23/2010 4:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
I know it has been said, but what exactly is extreme? I usually hit maybe 9gb a month at home and that's when new episodes of Top Gear are coming out.

I can see some people using torrents/news groups hitting 50-100gb being excessive, but what about me?




By masimons on 9/23/2010 10:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
I got a Sprint Mofi, but with the belief that 4G is coming to CA within 4months, as they said. With all these websites forcing video ads on me, I avg 110MB/day on 3G.
Give me a way to turn those things off and I will.
But if they change terms, sure they will be a class action lawsuit.
So far, I've only been to 2 places where 4G worked.




By Agent 86 on 9/24/2010 12:41:54 AM , Rating: 2
... is unfair because you pay it so long as you have a 4G phone, even if you can't get the 4G service. Normal 4G usage really should have no extra charges. If Sprint were to determine that heavy data usage is taxing their network and costing them money, then charge only those users the $10.




$10 here $10 there
By GatorGreg on 9/24/2010 7:33:24 AM , Rating: 2
This is nothing more then what the Airlines are doing to us!!!




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