Sprint TEP

We just got wind that Sprint will be increasing the TEP (Total Equipment Protection) fee for LTE devices over $549 starting June 16. The current cost of $8 monthly will be increased to $11, and we fully expect gnashing of teeth and online petitions against this travesty. Welcome to the Internet.

But could the June 16 date mean anything else? There's another Sprint LTE phone we're waiting to get greasy with (the HTC EVO 4G LTE of course), and so far all we know about rollout dates is "mid-year". Maybe the date is nothing more than a date, but maybe we'll see the E4GLTE or some switch-flipping by the LTE team, or both. It never hurts to hope, right?

Thanks, Anon!

 
There are 81 comments

icenija says:

Ok we knew this was coming. The fact that Sprint has TEP is a good thing seeing as the other carriers don't. I get insurance on all 4 of my phones but let's be honest regardless if you get a great deal on your phone it is still a $550 phone and who in their right mind would not have insurance on a $550 investment.

Ice

hmmm says:

It makes Sprint money. That's all I need to know. I'd love to see statistics on how often people make use of it.

bkj216 says:

I had it on my Evo and used it 0 times. Not to mention that once I rooted my phone I'm pretty sure that it was void anyway. I'm debating whether or not to get it on my next phone, but I doubt I will.

And once you get a new phone, keep your evo as a back up and skip the tep

jj14x says:

That's what I plan to do.
Purchase the new phone with a credit card that offers one year warranty extension, so phone is covered for 2 years. As a backup during repairs, keep the EVO 3D and show middle finger to TEP.

evobb100 says:

I agree jj. I have photon and O/evo 4G I don't need TEP for next LTE phone EVO 4g LTE or Samsung note if they bring

evobb100 says:

I agree jj. I have photon and O/evo 4G I don't need TEP for next LTE phone EVO 4g LTE or Samsung note if they bring

jerry6185 says:

I had an Evo 4G and use the TEP about 3 times a year. I lose shit all the time!! Every single time I had to send it in they never cared about it being rooted. Remember this is insurance not warranty. Last year in November my Evo 4G charging port messed up, it was still under warranty (every time TEP gives you a phone your warranty restarts) and was also rooted, they didnt have any Evo's 4G so the sent me an Evo 3D for "free", which I lost 2 weeks later and had to pay the $100 deductible to get another Evo 3D. So I guess for me it is worth it.

r1fo says:

I've had to swap out my OG Evo 3 times since I got it. If I didn't have this plan they would have charged me $35 each time, totaling to $105. However over the past 2 years (21 months), I've spent $168 on the Total Equipment Plan. In theory this means that I lost $53, but keep in mind that if I have to replace my entire phone it would have cost me hundreds...

Maybe I'll just give up and buy a case like everyone else lol

Luckily you didn't turn your screen into a spider web like I did with mine. That'll trigger your $100 deductible Considering the value of the phone after 12 - 18 months, TEP doesn't make much sense for me. Plan to cancel it as soon as this issue with my "replacement" is resolved.

eerongal says:

as far as i know, ever since they changed their plan (year and half or so ago), you should only be paying a $100 deductible if it's water damaged or if there's damage to the logic board. I did the same thing to my screen not too long ago (it was totally shattered) and I didn't have to pay a dime to get it replaced

terrycanfly says:

without the insurance the manufacturers warranty only covers 1 year so anything past 12 months so if you would have had the phone swapped out past the original 12 months you would have been charged full retail. and that only covers manufacturing defects. any physical damage to the device and it would had cost $550 to replace each time. insurance is a just in case business, dont complain when you do have it but be happy when something happens to your phone and your insurance covers your device.

crxssi says:

Yeah, but is this a REASONABLE price?

$132 per year PLUS a $200 deductible????? And I believe some of the taxes are based on what you spend on the TEP fee, too.

That is $332 if you break your phone in month 12! Or $464 in month 24!

It was already barely acceptable at $96 per year plus a $100 deductible, which is $196 in month 12...

icebike says:

SquareTrade two year total protection warranty = $94. (Frequent discount codes widely published). ($3.95/mo)

They have competitors that offer even better deals.

Had one for many years / never needed to use it.

Funny thing about insurance on devices. The people careful enough to buy it are generally careful with their devices such that they never really need it.

crxssi says:

>"Funny thing about insurance on devices. The people careful enough to buy it are generally careful with their devices such that they never really need it."

One would think that if that were true, then the rates would not need to be so incredibly high!

Unibrow says:

I don't have it, coming in at $11 is close to what full coverage costs me per month for a motorcycle. If you shove that $11 away come that rainy day you'll have more than enough money to buy a brand new phone off contract. i guess, TEP is good for people that lose or break their devices often but with a deductible of $150-200 it just doesn't make any sense. TEP over the life of your contract is going to run you an astonishing $264 and if you have to replace your device add another $150-200 on to that and if you don't you just shelled out an additional $264 for absolutely no reason at all.

hegemon13 says:

Me. Premium-to-benefit ratio on those plans is ridiculously high. I'd prefer to just be careful with my phone and keep my previous phone as a backup. And a $200 deductible on a $550 device is unreasonably high.

kinster02 says:

Me, I been with Sprint for a very long time and never had TEP on any device nor have I had the need to use it. In my case it would have been a waste of money.

DWR_31 says:

Pay the insurance for the first 6 months. Buy an OtterBox Defender case at purchase for physical protection. Put Lookout on it for security; loss or theft.

Lastly, after 6 months tell Sprint to kiss your ass, because that $199 deal is now a $49 deal for the exact same phone. Not to mention you feel like an ass for buying it as soon as Sprint got it.

bobdude5 says:

this is a little late, but if you get the protection from best buy, its $10 a month, no deductible and unlimited claims.

mpaxeman says:

EXACTLY!!

hmmm says:

Much later than I would have hoped if the EVO LTE isn't released until then, especially since pre-orders are coming at the beginning of May. Sprint should have saved the event along with the Pre-orders until early June.

soberjon says:

HAHAHAHAHA!!! I DON'T CARE .... Sprint nickeled and dimed me to Consumer Cellular 2 months ago HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They're ALL THE SAME!

vulcZ says:

Sprint's TEP plans were very generous as is, so we should have all expected this. Still leaps and bounds better than what Verizon and AT&T offer for their iPhones...

dubdrop says:

So buy the phone at best buy and get their plan and save a Buck. Since I've been with sprint I have never bought a phone from them in store/online or used the TEP. Waste of money for me personally. I get why others use it. Best buy will now be a Buck cheaper than sprint plus you can preorder and set up a time to pick up your new device to get it set up and even use giftcards towards your purchase. Leaving sprint because of the nickel and dining when there are options to keep the service and get supplies elsewhere is a bit silly. I'm sure there had to be something else like not decent coverage or something.

soberjon says:

actually you are correct. i primarily switched to CC not because of the increasing costs but because I took a look at my EVO4G usage (what I REALLY do on a daily basis) and I can get by with a much less powerful phone and any large data-usage moments can be handled while on WIFI.

... Reality, keeeping me sane since 1962...

daehttub says:

Seriously? If people on Sprint's unlimited data plan are going to complain about $36/yr they're welcome to go to the other limited-data-throttling-pay-through-the-nose plans. If I'm not mistaken, $36 will not even pay for one month of AT&T 5GB plan. As someone that likes Sprint's unlimited plan, I hope they use those additional revenues wisely to help them roll out LTE and stay out of Chapter 11.

Mustang46L says:

When TEP went from $6 to $7 I wasn't happy, but willing to pay to protect my device. When it went to $8 and the deductible went up, I sucked it up. $11? Forget it!

edward0348 says:

Yeah, but why they don't tells everybody that if something happens to your device, they won't give you a new phone, but a refurbished one that doesn't work properly!!?.
That's exactly what's happening to me know since I drop my original EVO 3D. and they send me another one that reboot itself all times, and do all kinds of weird things. That's why from now on, I rather pay the full price on the phone than get a replacement from sprint.

no one is going to give you a brand new phone. all the companies use factory refurbs.

Agree 100%. I dropped my EVO 4G and broke the screen. The first replacement had screen issues (white arc-shaped highlights in the center of the screen; lower half of screen had yellow hue, while top half was white). The second replacement arrived sans haptic feedback and what appeared to be a pencil lead point beneath the LCD. Asurion offered me a new 3VO, so we'll see when it arrives tomorrow. I made it clear that I wasn't happy that I had to perform QC on Asurion's refurbs. Although I never expected a new phone, what this process made clear to me is that the $8/mo + $100 deductible is totally not worth it for a low quality refurb that hasn't been checked to make sure basic features work. I'm definitely going through Best Buy for my next purchase. At least I can get a brand new phone no questions asked.

kitchin says:

I dont know what Best Buy you go to, but I've never had anyone get a new phone unless they were physically out of them to replace them with. Even then, the one that it was replaced with was an upgraded refurb. Only kind of new phone swap I ever see come through geek squad is in really bad situations for the customer. I still support the quick refurb swap time for Best Buy so i recommend it, but does stink it is a refurb. Business I guess.

wpavlik2 says:

I have no issue with refurb as long as it WORKS.
If I get a device back from TEP that was not working correctly and had reboot issues, etc. I would bring it back to a Sprint Store and make them swap it out as well.

bumpandrun says:

I guess I got lucky. I dropped mine and had to get a replacement on TEP. My new one works better than my original which wasn't actually my original since they had to replace it a week after I bought it because no one could the first one to stop rebooting on it's own.

nikkisharif says:

I've always received brand new in the box phones when filing a claim. In November I sent in my OG Evo & I received a brand new Evo 3D in return...maybe I've just been lucky!!

gabbott says:

I'm cancelling my TEP and letting them know that it's completely not worth it for $11 a month and $150-$200 deductible.

bumpandrun says:

What phones from Sprint have a $150-$200 deductible? my Evo is $100. I dropped it and had a new one 2 days later. 8x24 months is $192 and the replacement was $100 for a total of $292. A new one at the time I dropped mine was almost $600 and used were selling for $500 on ebay.

sammyc53#AC says:

Read the article. They are raising them TO $150-$200

gabbott says:

Read the article... It says that the new LTE phones will have the deductible raised.

Tier 2 phones have a $100 deductible. Tier 1 phones have a $50 deductible. That's it. There are no phones on Sprint with a >$100 deductible.

jj14x says:

as sammyc53 said, check the article - that is what the proposed change is.

wpavlik2 says:

Not exactly proposed, but I would say, pretty much set in stone.

So, Assurion Jacks up their prices to cover the initial insurance costs to build an inventory of replacement devices.

They have just priced their product out of my desire to continue to pay.

I'll be dropping my coverage before it goes up. I can buy a used phone off eBay for what the 2 year premium cost plus the $200 deductible is.
I feel bad for folks who are still on a feature phone, having to pay $150.00 deductible as I didn't see where they said that they are keeping the $50 deductible for anyone.

dyinman says:

No kidding. For a $150-$200 deductible, you could buy a used/refurb device yourself for just about the same price. Subtract TEP for a couple months and you already made up for it.

The $3/mo increase is one thing, but the point of paying higher premiums is to lower your deductible. Doing both is ridiculous, and at $150-$200 deductible, it becomes pointless. It's like having a $13-15k deductible on your used Civic.

tainvst#AC says:

I usually go through 2-4 phones in the course of my contract. Rooted and non-rooted they have always been replaced no questions asked. Not too bad if you ask me.

icebike says:

Two to 4 phones in the course of a two year contract?

Anger management issues?

dyinman says:

I have a buddy that does the same thing. Butter fingers and loose pockets.

crxssi says:

And I guess this is the result. We all have to get suckered into huge fees and insane deductibles. In 15 years I broke only ONE phone (and had no insurance, and it cost me $600 to replace it).

I honestly have no idea what to do now.

tailsthecat3 says:

When NYC sues for $300 million, they gotta do something. Sprint's future is bleak. As is their customers in regards to wireless service, unfortunately myself included. Let the switching of carriers commence!

wpavlik2 says:

Yeah, I'm doing the math here and I think this quit making sense...
I guess I won't sell my "old" phone on eBay when I upgrade and hang on to it in case I break my new one, that I purchase in August...

lakers1987 says:

insurance for a phone is just like your insurance on a car or motorcycle. most of us pay for the car insurance but never get in an accident so why do we pay for the insurance if we dont need it? (even before it was required by law to have insurance most of us still had insurance). i personally pay for the insurance and i take advantage of it. i have 3 lines on my account (all with insurance) and i have gotten a new phone (or refurbished) at least once per line from sprint. i have had multiple issues with a certain phone, a samsung and was able to get it fixed, a new phone or combination. so if i didnt have insurance i would of been out of luck. also after taking the same phone into sprint with the same issues they will give you the next model up. so to some it does not work but if you have it use it and there are no problems. but if you dont have it then yes its a waste of money

icebike says:

Its not at all like car insurance.

There is no liability issue with a cell phone.

hegemon13 says:

Um, car insurance is a MUCH better benefit-to-premium ratio. Like, orders of magnitude better.

TEP is NOT insurance. It is an extended warranty plan. If it was insurance, it would be illegal. The State Dept of Insurance would shut it down for predatory pricing.

hegemon13 says:

Um, car insurance is a MUCH better benefit-to-premium ratio. Like, orders of magnitude better.

TEP is NOT insurance. It is an extended warranty and protection plan. If it was insurance, it would be illegal. The State Dept of Insurance would shut it down for predatory pricing.

Insurance should be for big, catastrophic losses. When it starts covering day-to-day costs and small losses, that's when prices shoot up and quality goes down.

crxssi says:

>"insurance for a phone is just like your insurance on a car or motorcycle."

Are you kidding? If I paid for my car insurance at the same rate as this Sprint phone "insurance" it would be $10,500 annually with a $18,000 deductible for my Infinity G37. Does that at all sound reasonable?

dodgebusta says:

Realize if you have contract let with sprint...this is a good reason to leave now cause this is a breach of contract and because of that you won't be paying any fees to cancel after this takes effect.

cowboys2000 says:

Insurance isn't required, it's an option.

It would be different if they tried to change the terms of your voice plan or data plan already attached.

Apples and Oranges...

web0rama says:

I've had 3 smartphones with Sprint now (3VO being the third) & have never had it on my account. It helped that I was always a Premier Gold member so I only had to make a device last a year, but buying HTC devices sealed the deal for me as they make devices that can last 2 years easy. Pretty sure the only thing I could do to break my 3VO is to dunk it in liquid, which won't be covered anyways. I've dropped my phone from 2-3 feet at least 50 times in the year I've had it onto wood floors & cement and only minor blemishes have resulted.

The worst incident was when I was running through the grocery store parking lot during a rainstorm & I had the phone in my hoodie pocket. After about 15 steps I see my phone at eye level in slow motion & then freeze while I watch it continue for about 10 more feet & slam into the curb, slide face-first along the pavement for another 5-10 feet & then come to rest in a shallow puddle. The result? 1 minor 2mm scratch to the bottom corner of the screen above the search key.

Throw in the fact that you can now buy refurbed Heros & Optimus' from Sprint for $80 off contract & I really don't see the point.

MthII says:

As soon as the LTEVO has been out for several months you'll be able to find the on craigslist for roughly $400. Once its been out a year you'll be able to find one for $250. I'll roll the dice and save my money. I've heard about people using squaretrade alternatively on other phones, anyone know how that would work for these phones?

bumpandrun says:

According to their website it covers any Android phone up to a value of $750.

BigDinCA says:

Well... this is pretty crappy. At least they are letting us know ahead of time and not slapping EVERYONE with the higher premium. It seems as if it's only for new, high-end LTE devices. Although the way I read, even if the new EVO arrives before June 17 it will still be subject to the newer $11 fee, assuming it sells for $549 off-contract.

The only good thing about TEP is that it basically extends the mfr. warranty for as long as you own the device. You can always take it to the Sprint store and get it swapped out if it goes berserk. Two year old EVO? Bring it in and we'll fix it/swap it out if it breaks (not if YOU break it).

dyinman says:

I was just about to mention that part of TEP. I pay for insurance, but not TEP. You can pay for just the part that covers accidents and other unfortunate incidents that aren't covered in the manufacturer's warranty. For me, when TEP was $7, that part of it was $4. So I imagine now it's $6? Not a huge jump for that portion and you're still (mostly) covered besides that ridiculously high deductible.

For everything manufacturer related, your phone is still covered from date of purchase for a year (I think that's what most run now). I figure if the phone is solid from a manufacturing standpoint after a year, there's probably very little chance of something going wrong on that side of things for the next year, so I'm really paying for nothing if I'm just extending the warranty.

brybry2 says:

This is no reason to leave Sprint. It is not a breach of contract being it is for new phones which will be on a new contract.

I think its worth having it for half the contract ....after a year if anything happens I'll buy a used phone n wait it out for 8 months

irock1985 says:

Wow so $250(with tax) for a new phone plus $264 for 24 months of insurance and $150 - $200 deductible if you use the insurance!! That is madness! If you need a replacement you are basically going to pay $414 - $464 for a refurb?! If I stick with sprint I guess I will be keeping my 3D as a replacement just in case because TEP is definitely out. I baby my phone anyway and have never in 10 years broke anything on any of my phones and they are always cased and screen protected as soon as they come out of the box. I understand Sprint has cost but this nickle and dime'n is pissing me off (just like the $5 a month from the discount adjustments they made in February) All this money and my 3G (>250 kbps) still sucks >____<

smith2sc says:

good call on keeping your old phone as a just in caser; its a free backup plan.

on another note, why is it taking until mid june for them to release this phone? and announcing it in early april? I'm not an apple user, but one thing I definitely admire about their releases is they are usually available within a couple of weeks, to capitalize on the excitement for new hardware. hell, they announced the nexus back in january and its still not out (and yes i get there was a few months exclusivity for verizon, but still)

seems sprint suffers from webOS symptom

sammyc53#AC says:

I fine with SLOW incremental changes. I realize they need to make money. But a while back they doubled. From $50 to $100. WOW. And now they want to double them again??? I can see a 5% increase every year. But 100% increase? Sorry, I'm going to look at 3rd party Ins providers. I have 30 phones on my business account. This is a huge increase to absorb.

aaronwe says:

June 16 is also the day after Apple WWDC 2012 ends, quite likely with the introduction of an LTE iPhone 5.

Given how much Sprint paid to become an iPhone partner, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the LTE iPhone be a Sprint exclusive in the US for 6 months or so.

dyinman says:

I doubt the next iPhone will drop that early, and they sure as hell won't go exclusive for no reason like that.

I wouldn't be surprised though if it was iPhone related. That damn thing seems to increase costs for everybody under whatever carrier it gets introduced to.

aaronwe says:

$20 billion in sales is a far cry from "no reason." That's 30 million phones, give or take.

BGR reported iPhone 5 would be a Sprint exclusive way back last fall. The timing of Sprint's LTE network switch (and extra consumer costs) seems to confirm that.

svargas05 says:

Canceling my TEP I guess....

Easy workaround, really:

1) Keep the phone you switch from (Probably your Evo, Evo 3D, etc.)
2) Get new LTE device, NO INSURANCE
3) Break LTE device, activate old phone
4) ADD Insurance (you can add insurance to ANY recently activated device within 30 days - FACT)
5) Re-Activate broken phone
6) Get a replacement device under insurance
7) Cancel insurance on your line again

-- It really is pretty simple. Simple loophole with insurance and you save yourself from the extra monthly fee. $11/month is kind of a lot.

hegemon13 says:

Um, yeah. I believe that's called fraud. Good luck with that.

VDub2174 says:

Agreed.

That right there is a very well outline description of how to commit fraud.

zhecht says:

Well, the only silver lining is that I had guessed June 16th in the "The official EVO 4G LTE release date guessing game"

scoobdude says:

My wife drowned her evo last summer. Insurance came in handy and replacement was new. Replacement messed up about 6 months later (bad sector on nv flash) and got a refurb. Refurb messed up in 3handy days and she ten got a epic 4g (which she loves with ics). I think insurance was worth it here.

Another example is wife had issues with her touch pro, they swapped it out for a palm pre. Gave her option of a few otber phones though. The touch pro was already a replacement from her mogul through tep.

I am not happy with the price hikes, but i have to say i have always been happy with the service i have gotten with TEP.

Also to the guy above with the "loophole" they will replace the phone with the one on the account when you file a claim. AND if you change it before you file a claim the phone has to be on the account for 30a days before TEP is applies to that device.

But seriously sprint stop with the nickel and diming/taking away features etc.

I know this is very unrelated to this site but is only related to this topic.
So the iPhone's will also be able to use this 11$ TEP insurance come June as I was told buy a Assurion rep yesterday at a tech meeting for Sprint.

Daedalus says:

I have TEP on My GF and My 3VO's as well as my Daughters EVO. I will prob cancel the coverage on the my girlfriends and mine phone when I get the 4G LTE, I how ever will not be canceling this on my daughters as in the last year she has had to use it twice Once she Set the phone down and some kind and caring person went to return it but ended up not being able to find my daughter (I jest she lost the damn thing and someone swiped it) and then she was so nice to "DROP" it and not only broke the screen but also the thick rigid plastic that surrounds the battery.

Speaking of which she still owes me for the last deductible, next time she just owes me the cancellation fee on the line.

htc_prep says:

I'm a sprint tech and am forced to explain the benefits of insurance to customers all day and icenija is correct. People think these 3ds and s2's are 199 plus taxes. And to speak a word of rebuttal to you're comment about sprint pocketing that $11, that's false its an agreement between sprint and asurion where sprint keeps 25% and the other 75% and the deductible goes to asurion. Overall blame asurion. Yet I'm not happy about a 200 dollar deductible.

footysr says:

I had just canceled our coverage for 4 phones tonight before coming here at seeing this article. The Sprint rep I was speaking with told me about the increase. He didn't specify LTE phones though, just said all "smart" phones. $44 a month is just to much for me. I'll take my chances. ;)

jgmitch says:

TEP = CANCELLED

VDub2174 says:

TEP has always been a big debate. There are those that have and may not use it oten or at all (like myself) and those taht don't have it and say it's a waste of money. Those that don't have it are ususally the ones that come to the forums and write a sob story about how they broke their phone and want to know how to "get around" paying for a new device at full price.

As we all know, TEP is completely optional. If you choose to pay for it then that's fine. No one can honestly sit there and say it a dumb move for someone to opt-in for TEP because you don't know what will happen to a persons phone for the life of their contract. For those that choose to opt-out can't honestly sit ther and complain that you have to get a new phone at full price because it's broken in some way, shape, or form. You decided to not pay for TEP and in turn, you have to pay the price for that risk (no pun intended).

If I were to cancel my TEP, I can almost gaurantee something would happen to my phone. I have bad luck like that so I like to have that safety net just in case.