Print 12 comment(s) - last by shaidorsai.. on Nov 19 at 11:22 AM

Sprint's plan for tablets, laptop cards, and mobile hotspots is now better priced than Verizon

Sprint Nextel, Corp. (S) shocked some customers when it killed unlimited data privileges to its mobile hotspots, tablets, and laptop cards.  The changes -- set to go into effect this month marked a sharp departure from Sprint's "unlimit yourself" marketing rhetoric. In addition, Sprint’s coverage and data speeds aren't exactly keeping up with Verizon Wireless (Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD)) or with AT&T, Inc. (T).

Just two weeks into its era of capped connections, Sprint has cut its prices in a bid to stay competitive with its larger rivals.

Under the new deal, connections are still capped, but you'll get slightly more data than you would on Verizon, et al.  Before, Sprint was charging $60 USD/month for 5 GB.  Now it's offering 6 GB for $50 USD/month.  $50 USD/month on Verizon and AT&T only buys you 5 GB.  

For hungrier data users Sprint has priced 12 GB of data at $80 USD/month compared to $90 USD/month for 10 GB.  By contrast, Verizon offers 10GB for its $80 USD/month plan.  You'd have to swallow $20 in overage fees and pay $100 USD/month on Verizon to get 12 GB/month.  Likewise, AT&T's biggest data plan is 5 GB/month.  You would have to pay $120 USD/month -- including $70 in data overage fees -- to get 12 GB/month.

But what about Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA?  T-Mobile is kind of the oddball of the group.  It charges a $15 USD/month tethering fee.  Your data plan then uses your mobile data plan.  The approach sort of makes sense, given that you're typically streaming to your computer or using your phone -- not both.

T-Mobile offers a 5 GB plan for $30 USD/month and a 10 GB plan for $60 USD/month.  Interestingly there are no overages, but past the cap it throttles your connection, so you might not be able to reach 12 GB/month easily.

The net result is that T-Mobile has the cheapest rates, but less flexibility

Sprint offers 4G data via WiMAX connections on its networks operated by Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), a partner in owns a majority stake in.

In the grand scheme of things, here's the picture for holiday buyers:
  1. T-Mobile narrowly has the cheapest rates for tethered data plans ($45 for 5 GB; $75 for 10 GB), but past the cap you can't pay your way to more coverage via overage fees.  Plus an , so expect some pricing changes may be coming down the pipe.
  2. Sprint beats AT&T and Verizon in prices (but not Verizon's holiday double data promotion).  However it's coverage and data speeds trail behind both AT&T and Verizon in most areas.
  3. Verizon has the most LTE (4G) coverage and it is currently offering a holiday promotion that doubles your monthly data allowance. The "double allotment" is effective as long as you own a Verizon 4G smartphone.
  4. AT&T has the fastest 3G data network and the fastest LTE 4G data network. However, AT&T's LTE 4G network is currently only available in a handful of markets and will only cover 70 million Americans by year's end versus the 160 million Verizon covers now.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Price ain't everything...
By quiksilvr on 11/15/2011 9:44:43 AM , Rating: 3
It's case by case scenario. I have no problems with T-Mobile and pay $50 a month for unlimited talk, text and 2GB data.

RE: Price ain't everything...
By Church of Dirac on 11/15/2011 10:07:26 AM , Rating: 2
I suppose it does depend on where you live. In my corner of Wisconsin, T-Mobile doesn't work inside most buildings (you'll get EDGE if you're lucky) and Sprint drops calls like there hot. Verizon is good but again, expensive. Their LTE is kicking A$$ here form what I've heard. AT&T has HSPA here and I routinely get ~3500-4500kbps down/1500-2000kbps up with <60ms ping. Its hit over 6Mbps/3Mbps and 50ms ping when I go to Chicago. I used to have US Cellular which had great coverage at a low price but the lack of good phones at the time coupled with high roaming prices outside of the midwest and the slow speeds and high ping of their EV-DO network caused me to switch. I get my AT&T service through Straight Talk for $45 a month, unlimited talk, unlimited SMS/MMS, and 'unlimited' data (but it's really only 2GB). Works great on my Inspire 4G I got of craigslist. I wish postpaid plans gave you a discount if you didn't take a subsidized phone like they do in other countries.

RE: Price ain't everything...
By lightfoot on 11/15/2011 11:41:26 AM , Rating: 2
And for some people it makes sense to pay more for better coverage. However the VAST majority of customers don't do a lot of travelling and are in the coverage area of the lower cost carriers. Why should they pay more for coverage that they don't use?

For the $20 per month I save by using TMobile instead of Verizon, I can afford to figure something out if I find myself in the middle of Nebraska with no cell coverage (the only place I've found coverage to be a major issue.)

But again, I don't travel a lot and don't need to pay for a more robust network.

RE: Price ain't everything...
By shaidorsai on 11/19/2011 11:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
Sprint drops calls ? I can honestly say in 3 years of having Sprint I have not dropped even 1 call. My work phone on the other hand drops calls almost every time I make one...I cant name them because I work there lol...but no it's not Sprint.

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