Print 15 comment(s) - last by InfinityzeN.. on Sep 28 at 9:18 AM

Sprint Chief Technology Officer Stephen Bye expressed the company's commitment to unlimited data at the GigaOm's Mobilize conference in San Francisco yesterday

Sprint announced that it intends to keep its unlimited data plans around awhile in order to have a competitive edge against AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile -- which have eliminated their unlimited data.

At the GigaOm's Mobilize conference in San Francisco yesterday, Sprint Chief Technology Officer Stephen Bye expressed the company's commitment to unlimited data, calling it a "differentiator" from other U.S. carriers, according to Engadget.

But it's not enough to just be different. There is a high cost for supporting these subscribers and there's market pressure associated with maintaining unlimited services. Bye said he understood these costs, but defended unlimited plans by acknowledging that not every unlimited subscriber uses as much data as the next. He added that unlimited data plans are easier to maintain because there's no tiered data support or hidden costs for customer care.

However, launching a 4G network may be an issue with Sprint's current plan, considering the expense involved in maintaining such a network. According to CNET, Sprint will first have to eliminate its IDEN network and instead use that network's budget for data usage.

In addition, Sprint's upcoming acquirement of the iPhone 5 will put its unlimited data to the test, considering it will strain the carrier's capacity to hold on to these plans.

"Is there pressure? Yeah," said Bye. "There's a challenge for all engineers to work on how we get the cost structure down."

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I Supprt Sprint!
By Manch on 9/27/2011 10:10:09 AM , Rating: 3
I love sprints unlimited. I never have to worry about what my bill will be, as it's always the same. I had great coverage in my area, and the places I traveled. The free roaming was awesome so even if there coverage started to lapse another carriers coverage took up the slack.

Unfortunately they dont have service in Norway, otherwise i would still be with them. They actually let me suspend my account until I get back in a few years. Let's me keep my number and everything. I hope more people move to sprint and help them remain viable. Otherwise you'll have to deal with ATT or Verizon.

RE: I Supprt Sprint!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2011 12:58:52 PM , Rating: 1
Sprint's data network is WiMax, at least in my area. So I view the unlimited data as a tradeoff for having to deal with the worst data network on the market.

RE: I Supprt Sprint!
By AmbroseAthan on 9/27/2011 4:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
I have Sprint and don't understand people problems with WiMax. Yes it is slower than LTE, but I have no problems streaming Netflix, Hulu, or Google Music to my phone and I tend to be sitting around 6-10Mbps down, 1-2 up (I live/work in Manhattan). That is more than enough for anything I have needed my phone to do in the last year and a half.

Sidenote, Sprint's LTE (rumored it might be LTE-A) is said to be launching early next year.

RE: I Supprt Sprint!
By tenks on 9/28/2011 3:00:31 AM , Rating: 2
can you talk and use data at the same time on Sprint?

Ive done a search but it always refers to 4G. So does that mean the 4G sprint phones use 4g for data and 3g for voice?

Im not up to date, ex-sprint customer lookng to get back in..

RE: I Supprt Sprint!
By InfinityzeN on 9/28/2011 9:18:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yes you can talk and use data, but only with 3G voice and 4G data as you stated. 3G data and voice can not be used at the same time.

RE: I Supprt Sprint!
By Manch on 9/27/2011 5:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Worst would be the 3g, depending on the area. I didnt have 4g in my area but sprints 3g was decent, only second to verizons, and theres autility u can use to force it to roaming even if there is a sprint signal available. I was in richmond a lot and the 4g always worked well for me so I have no complaints. WIMAX may be slower, butwhen i can download movies or use it to tether and pass files back and forth quickly enough, I dont see the big deal. Plus sprints was out first and no data cap.I'll trade a littlebit of speed for unlimited data any day.

(forgivemy typing.Giant hands tiny netbook)

Looked at my bill
By Mitch101 on 9/27/2011 10:22:45 AM , Rating: 2
Bye said he understood these costs, but defended unlimited plans by acknowledging that not every unlimited subscriber uses as much data as the next.

Hes right I looked at my bill and while I could save a few dollars by going with a lesser plan I enjoy the comfort of not having to worry about exceeding a tiered plan. Next month I might have high data usage but I think it all works out.

iPhone consumes more bandwidth?
By ctodd on 9/27/2011 11:45:20 AM , Rating: 2
I can't see how the iPhone would be any more taxing on their network than any other smartphone. It isn't like they don't sell millions of smartphones already. AT&T customers who are grandfathered in on unlimited aren't leaving any time soon and I doubt verizon customers with 4g LTE are leaving anytime soon. I really think people with older smartphones like the palm pre are going to be the ones switching over.

Revenue vs Expentiure
By drycrust3 on 9/27/11, Rating: -1
RE: Revenue vs Expentiure
By StevoLincolnite on 9/27/2011 11:57:38 AM , Rating: 2
Is this guy stupid? The job of engineers is to make sure the $10 billion network (or whatever it costs) works, it isn't "getting the cost structure down".

Wrong. Part of an engineers job is to look and maintain all aspects of the network.

That Phone tower? It could be serviced by multiple different back-haul technologies all with a fairly large amount of differing costs.
Microwave is cheap for long distances although capacity is limited.
Fiber for higher speeds and more densely populated areas...

They might not even build their own back-haul, but instead rent capacity from a 3rd party.

Expanding the network and putting up new towers? You could go with various different radio suppliers to get the tech you need at a cheaper price.

An engineer can lower costs dramatically at any given location.

RE: Revenue vs Expentiure
By Dr of crap on 9/27/2011 12:09:03 PM , Rating: 1
But he is pushed by finance to get the price in check.
He is pushed by marketing, in a big way, as to how things might operate or "look" to the user.
Keeping the price in check really isn't number one on his list of things to do.
First you get the thing working, then you nibble at the cost of developing the thing.

RE: Revenue vs Expentiure
By Manch on 9/27/2011 5:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
Considering sprint doesnt make there own phones, I think he's mainly referring to there infrastructure. Sprint uses a mishmash of third party towers in addition to there own. A lot of bandwidth can be saved,or better utilized by ensuring standardization, proper load balancing along with where to plus up your resources for peak usage hours. Interoperability between third party towers can be an issue too.

RE: Revenue vs Expentiure
By chick0n on 9/27/2011 4:28:05 PM , Rating: 1
wow, speak of the devil.

You don't even know what you're talking about, next time if you want to say something, just shut up. Thanks.

RE: Revenue vs Expentiure
By drycrust3 on 9/27/2011 11:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
I have worked in a variety of roles within the telecommunications industry, including switching, engineering, data, voice mail, etc, but not specifically within mobile telecommunications. I think that entitles me to offer my opinion. Maybe I was a bit strong in calling the guy stupid, but he should never have committed Sprint to such a plan without including a sunset clause (e.g. "free use until after Christmas"). A person in his position should have been much responsible than he was.
As a general rule, any "eat as much as you can" plan, regardless of the actual platform (be it voice, data, texting, etc), costs the majority of end users more than ones where there are usage charges. The reason being is the perceived "free to use as much as you like" aspect costs more in terms of more equipment capacity, more network connections, more building space, more administration, more power consumption, etc. Look how much extra capacity ISP have to have to cope with spam. These things are all expensive and the extra costs are passed on to the paying end users.
If there is a cap to the free aspect, then there is less equipment, less power consumption, less network connections, less administration, etc meaning the cost to the end users is less. Thus, the average user is better off when there are data caps than when they are at the mercy of people who want to flog the system.

RE: Revenue vs Expentiure
By Manch on 9/27/2011 5:29:18 PM , Rating: 2

Part of making that network perform is efficiency. Efficiency lowers cost. Lower cost allows you bring more capability. More capability means you can handle a larger load of traffic,which enables more users. More users equal more money.

Inefficient networks create problems, have high overhead, make it more difficult to manage circuits(long haul, not the ones in your PC)and generally require more maintenance and can often disallow concurrent upgrades while maintaining service,hence it raises the cost and pisses customers off when they cant google blue waffle.

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