Sprint: Unlimited Data Here to Stay
September 27, 2011 9:43 AM
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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
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
, 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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RE: Revenue vs Expentiure
9/27/2011 11:31:26 PM
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.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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