Sprint changing hotspot plans; 5GB data cap starts Oct. 2

In the latest Sprint Playbook we're seeing another plan change, this time to the mobile hotspot feature.  Starting Oct. 2, current and future customers will have a 5GB limit when using the mobile hotspot add-on to their plan.  Data used on the phone itself isn't being limited (other than the 300MB "roaming" data cap, it's still all you can eat), but both 3G and 4G data used via the hotspot feature will now be subject to a $0.05 per MB charge once the 5GB cap is reached.  Before, 4G data was unlimited.

A similiar change is being made to mobile broadband devices like aircards, tablets, and portable hotspots that used to have unlimited 4G data.  It could be worse, but we're pretty sure that even though most don't subscribe to the hotspot add-on and use other methods, there will still be plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Can't stop changes folks.

Thanks, Anon!

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Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • and so it begins....
  • That is too funny, we both posted two articles with "and so it begins" at the same time.
  • I am 100% sure everyone is thinking the same thing. This is a terrible thing, I hate to see sprint's spin on this one.
  • Exactly what I was thinking the second I read the headline :P
  • This is thanks to all of you 250GB/month torrent downloading fools. A couple bad apples ruins it for everyone.
  • I think it's just a symptom of Sprint simply falling in line with the rest of the Big Cellphone companies. Profit mongering.....it's "good" business, so waht are ya gonna do? It does suck that Sprint is slowly eliminating all of it's standout features that were its flagship and what made it appealing. Now it seems that by year's end Sprint's plan portfolio will look no different than everyone else's. It sucks for the customer, because we are losing options. The only thing that will change for users when moving from one carrier to the other will be the logo (and maybe customer service, but I NEVER have to deal with them for anything).
  • Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks alot Douchebags!
  • And so it begins. First the "advanced device" charge, then the change of the Premiere program, then the dropping of the program completely, then dropping of the return program, and now the first data cap. This is really not a good sign.
  • This is a sign of the inevitably impending, obvious changes coming to Sprint. They're going to be like everyone else, tiered/throttled/capped data plans.
  • This really gives people more reason to root and do it for free...
  • Which in turn gives them more reason to start cracking down on it and sending out threats like AT&T is doing on unauthorized iPhone tethers.
  • I use it but dont abuse it I dont even reach 4GB for the month
  • I use it but dont abuse it I dont even reach 4GB for the month
  • The dominoes continue to fall.
  • Data caps on phones is next. It is the iPhone curse.
  • Sprint told me earlier this week that unlimited data is not going away, we'll see.
  • Yeah, they also said they wouldn't cap their data plans.
  • Honestly this is one of things I do not have a large issue with because way to many people were using tethering on there cell for there internet and that does suck down a lot of data.
  • Proof please.
  • You mean like this: http://forums.androidcentral.com/sprint-nexus-s-4g/116840-4g-data-useage...
  • Seriously, this is your reply?! That is what these devices are meant to be used for!!! I plan to use the hot spot to connect to the Internet and stream movies, music and whatever I choose to do as I pay my monthly fee for UNLIMITED ACCESS.
  • Hmmmm... I don't remember this being mentioned in their commercials.
  • I don't remember seeing a Sprint commercial about mobile hotspot. Maybe you can refresh my memory.
  • I need some popcorn. This could turn interesting....
  • I honesty see these recent changes as a good thing. It's apparent that sprint is trying to keep unlimited data for phones still unlimited. If that means making some sacrifices in other areas that's still better than going to tiered plans for all data.
  • Wherever the iPhone goes, tiered data follows. FACT
  • True. When Sprint releases an iPhone they'll keep data unlimited for a couple of months, just so they can steal enough customers from the other carriers and then BAM!... capped data on phones is next on their to-do list. It's Verizon's story all over again.
  • Hello??????
  • They keep inching closer and closer....its going to happen.
  • Unlimited data will be next to go. Just you wait. I'm going to say 3 months after Sprint gets the iPhone they'll announce no more unlimited data.
  • my face - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hQr3qBOHWc&feature=related
  • At the rate Sprint is going, their pricing will be identical to VZ and ATT within 6 months. Bet unlimited data for your phone and tablet will be gone too.
  • Well this sucks, i won't ever use a gay ass iPhone and I have to pay like a am an iPhone user. We all know unlimited data is going next. It's just a matter of time. So much for Sprints bragging rights on their latest commercial about being unlimited. It's a way to get other people on other carriers to switch to Sprint then BAM, no more unlimited data. I used their hotspot feature for $30 a month for 9 months and hell IT NEVER WORKED RIGHT. Most of the time I was on the phone with Sprint getting the month credited because of the poor signal issue it gave to my devices.
  • Sprint is trying to make it less painful. They keep poking it in and out while making you think it's not coming. Just shove it up our asses already, Sprint! We know data cap for mobiles is just around the corner.
  • I just spit my coffee all over the place!
  • I use tethering maybe 10 hours a YEAR, only when I travel. I don't appreciate sprint saying that I should pay what amounts to nearly forty dollars an hour for the service. In any case, what difference does it make regarding the cost to convey data if I look at a web page on my 4.3" evo, or my 11" thinkpad? Why should I have to pay $40/hr to use a decent keyboard for the exact same data?
  • Honestly where I live there's wifi everywhere, not nearly as prominent as 3g by any means but I have no qualms dropping mobile and just using something like the samsung 5.0 wifi for data and voice with no monthly fees. Sprint should watch themselves because, well at least I will drop them solely based on principle alone.
  • Great job sprint, Take away all the things that make you guys sprint.
  • Gonna be like Verizon soon....get ready for the wave of customers jumping ship. Only a matter of time before they cap phone data.
  • And did a wave of Verizon customers jump ship? Nope. It happened and life went on, to some of us, coverage is important above all else.
  • Because you and they were grandfathered...
  • I've been with Sprint for years because they are cheaper and I have good coverage. Not as FAST as Verizon, but good coverage just the same. If Sprint prices the same as Verizon, I'm going to get the LTE. To do anything else would just be stewpid.
  • I know they added the cap (which I hate). But did they just drop the price from $30 to $15?
  • I just told the RadioShack guy that I wanted to buy the SG2E4GTouch because after reading that Sprint was making the same changes that Verizon did before the launch of the iPhone4, that I wanted to get in on the Unlimited Plan and the paid version of the Hot Spot. He agreed. So, I guess we won't be grandfathered in and that sucks. Some of us don't live in within the city limits and rely upon our phones to be used to connect to the Internet(I just got an estimate to bring a line to my house for $7500.00 for 3/4 of a mile of fiber optic cable!). I don't mind paying for it, but when 3G is slow and 4G from Sprint with WiMax is stalled, this really sucks. I don't like always going to some public WiFi just to download and use my computer. Ugh!
  • 5GB still plenty of generosity
  • LOL, that the best defense you can come up with Mr. Sprint? Fool.
  • Excuses, excuses. How many more of these will you come up with in defense of Sprint?
    Like it or not, Sprint is slowly adopting the policies of the other carriers. Where "unlimited" no longer means "without limits".
  • Look, I understand Sprint is doing what they have to do. I have always been a supporter of Sprint, but amI the only one that thinks things are going the wrong way. Shouldn't these services be getting cheaper?
  • Unlimited data and yearly upgrades, those used to be the only reason I was still with Sprint. They put a data cap on my phone I'm out. They have good data but their voice sucks. I am working in Malibu just off PCH and have full bars with 3G, I can send and receive all the data I want but cannot place or receive a phone call or send a text message. Drive half a mile down the road I get two bars no data but can place calls. If Sprint thinks they can charge Verizon prices on a broken Sprint network they will be out of business fast.
  • Wow, do you still use your phone for a phone :)
  • Dammit, I was grandfathered into verizons unlimited data, but I still left them for sprint based on principle. Tmobile is the last one I could go to to keep my principles if sprint gives in
  • Sorry, how does T-Mobile's throttling after 2GB of data defend your principle? If it does defend your principle, what principle is that?
  • I blame the iPhone.
  • [SIGH]...I guess it's inevitable, but soon the regular data plans will change. Oh well, I guess its off to virgin mobile I go!
  • Also, I believe this is a price hike. I'm pretty sure that up until now the hotspot feature has been $20 per month, now it will be $30. I guess I lost my last reason to recommend Sprint to anyone.
  • no the hotspot feature has ALWAYS been 29.99
  • No Grandfathering...You Lose! Good Day, Sir! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDW0ZnZxjn4
  • Slowly but surely
  • Disturbing at best... I just turned on Hotspot while in Vegas last week. I guess I'll be shutting it off soon. Too bad, because when it works, it works well and would have been a nice feature to have as a standby for when wi-fi isn't available (which is often). What infuriates me the most is that the market is being flooded with all these data-hungry devices and the carriers have networks that are either insufficient for the demand or they've decided to squeeze more revenue out of us for using the services they've got us hooked on. In many ways, it feels like we were made into (data) drug-users and the carriers and device manufacturers are the pushers/suppliers. Someone needs to come up with a smartphone/tablet detox program pronto. Shame on you Sprint. Shame.
  • By your logic, tiered/capped data IS detox. It's what will get people using the service less and doing other things more.
  • Stupid freakin iPhone. I really really hate Apple. Sprint , my long time carrier through thick and thin, I am afraid our time together is coming to an end. Looks like a prepaid plan of sorts for me. Thanks a lot.
  • SMH
  • This totally sucks for the 19 people who actually pay Sprint more money for the hot spot plan!!!! :)
  • I have to agree with a lot of the comments above. Sprint is very quickly eliminating everything that differentiated them from the other carriers (annual upgrades, unlimited data, etc) . As their pricing and features get closer to the other carriers, they are going to start losing customers. Sprint's 4G expansion is almost nonexistent while Verizon continues to roll out 20+ new markets per month. If they want to charge like Verizon and offer the same upgrade options as Verizon, they better start rolling out a network like Verizon.
  • Well this sucks.
  • without unlimited data sprint is nothing. it is the nail in their coffin the day they don't have anything better to offer vs the competition. their status will go back to the way it was just a couple years ago when they were bleeding customers.
  • And next perhaps, the unlimited data will no longer be, "unlimited"? Let us hope it's at least a year before that happens. If not, I'll need that WiFi sniffing App to only go where WiFi exists.
  • Wait a minute. They are changing the Hotspot Data cap so people with iPhones don't make hotspots and eat up data bandwidth. HEH!!! Nice one Sprint!!
  • Even with unlimited tether I cannot justify the 29.99. Almost as much as I pay for internet at home just to use the hotspot away from home on my computer and NOW with the cap....are you kidding me? Why would anyone pay that much extra for them to tell you now to use it as much is beyond me.
  • So does this mean that since there is no "grandfather" clause, the existing 2 year contracts are being modified and technically we can drop Sprint without early termination fees? I have been with Sprint for 12 years now. I have stayed with them when the service sucked, the customer service was horrible and then data speeds dropped. Now they are capping us like everyone else. If that is the case, I am moving to a larger network like Verizon, I just need to figure out how much early term is going to cost me. I have 3 phones on my account and that could get pricey!
  • I'm wondering the same thing. Anybody know?
  • First of all, did we not read that Sprint is ONLY applying this change to the mobile Hotspot feature, and not to their phone plans? The mobile hotspot feature is NOT on a contract basis, but rather billed month to month. If you don't want to use the mobile hotspot then just cancel it. There is no termination fee because you can add it or take it away based on your individual needs. I happen to use the feature and will continue to do so. I wish it would have stayed unlimited, but things change. I didn't stop driving my car because gas prices went up. I may have adjusted my behavior for just casual trips here and there or sitting in a parking lot with the air on while the engine is idling, but I didn't stop driving. With this change I will just have to monitor my use, and whereas I would think nothing of streaming a Netflix movie over 4g/wimax, I will now probably only do so over wifi.
  • People... You're all up in arms over a few dollars a month? And some of you are going to leave Sprint because of the "principal" of it? I can't believe it... I've watched the amount of gas dollars that goes into my vehicle each month fluctuate a lot more than these few additional 4G cellular dollars. Are you going to cancel cable TV & HS internet at home because the prices went up? Are you going to sell your house and move to a different neighborhood because the mill levy went up? Are you going to stop buying groceries because they want personal info from you to get the shopping card that gets you a few extra dollars in savings. Get a grip! It's not a service that's provided from a bottomless pit. ALL services you use have associated costs that fluctuate. David
  • I have to agree with this. Prices change in every industry and the amount of goods/services we get for the same price also changes. Just look at the example of food. The spaghetti jar LOOKS the same, COSTS the same, but has LESS in it. Did people stop eating spaghetti? Doubt it. $5o for cable used to get me EVERY channel, now that $50 doesn't come close to getting me EVERYTHING. I used to pay $9.95 for internet. Now I pay $60 for the SAME internet. Welcome to a capitalist market.
  • I love the "People" comment, please but please don't try polish a turd. The fact is this is total BS! And I personally find the people on hear backing them up and coming up with these weak justifications.
    I think the key thing in your comment here, David is the fact that you find yourself watching things go past you. Maybe better to say roll right over you. You may find this acceptable, I for one, do not and have dropped that service with Sprint. May not make a difference to Sprint but at least I am not just going to sit there and take it for goodness sake!
    As far as cable and satellite, and I cut the chords there as well, and kept my Internet service signed up for Netflix, bought a Roku and now have better control of when I watch TV. Point is David, if more of us People start making choices like myself, I think we can channel this frustration to the companies providing these services and make them find solutions to back their false promises that they originally set in front of us.
    So with all that said I hope that you can find some time to help us "people" out. Peace!
  • Didn't sprint used to have unlimited data roaming? As I see it, that would be my biggest concern since sprint's 3G data connection is not everywhere I am. I am not happy about the hotspot data cap either.I can only hope that this is only part of an announcement that includes some good with the bad. (4g available in my area would be a good start since I bought a 4g phone after being led to believe that 4g service would be available soon. That was almost a year ago now.)
  • Sprints limited coverage used to be partialy offset by some of the great features it offered, now that their removing all these features all they are left with is limited coverage.
  • All you Sprint junkies that always talk about how better Sprint is over AT&T and Verizon can kick rocks!!! We told yall this day was coming and yall didn't listen. We guess what??? The hole ' All You Can Eat' attidude is slowly going away. Yall better hope NASCAR saves yall.
  • What's with all of the "yall" references? NASCAR!?!?! What happened, you flunk Seaseme Street?
  • I enjoy excellent Verizon coverage at home. If Sprint eliminate unlimited data w/o any grandfather clause in effect, I will jump to Verizon for faster data speed. At the end of the day, I am not married to Sprint... Loyalty goes both ways.
  • totally agreed! I get OK signal all over where i am at, but my family and friends that have VZW get AWESEOME service! If they start changing i will jump ship in a heart beat! Also makes me want to buy my next phone off contract so i am not locked in to these A$$holes
  • all these changes are because they are getting a FUCKING IPHONE!!! F apple! F the iphone! Seriously.. If sprint is going to be like all the other carriers, maybe their network should be as fast or as good?
  • I Found this revealing snippet from the mobile dia website . AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile all switched to tiered data plans this summer to manage overloaded networks, and Sprint Dan Hesse says his company will do so as well, if the strain proves too great. If customers balk at this decision, they now have only two weeks to back out before Sprint starts collecting early termination fees."
  • Here's the link it talks about the iPhone as well as the snippet above http://www.mobiledia.com/news/108644.html
  • All the more reason to change carriers for better coverage...Like someone earlier said loyalty goes both ways....
  • Anyone know who is the most honest about their overage fees? There's no way I'm risking $50 a GB in overage fees. I would MUCH rather my provider throttle after my cap instead of nailing me with an unexpected triple bill. Of course, if Sprint throttled their 3G, since they never installed 4G in our area, it might be faster to just fax.
  • I know this is a little older but I had a problem with my Overdrive Hotspot and went into the Store and they said that starting with my next billing cycle I'm limited to 5 Gigs 3 and 4G... I pulled out my contract and showed them that I signed up for unlimited 4G and had it in writing. They tried to say that contract was for them providing service only and not the data amount. I asked them if they bought a new car with zero percent financing for 60 months and after 8, I raised the financing with no reason to 15% it would be the same thing... the argued and said that was different... I said, well I'm still providing you the same SERVICE, they asked what service that was, and I said.. I'm still LOANING you the money. They said that is nothing like they were doing, but I disagreed, and said, you are changing the terms of the contract on the fly... I asked them whats to stopping them from charging per byte period?? They bluntly responded, nothing, we can do what we want. Now the fun part, is I got a flyer from Clearwire who are the major backbone of the 4G service for sprint. I called them up and they faxed me a contract of UNLIMITED 4G and they defined unlimited as no limit to the amount of data I can use. They said that they will provide me with unlimited 4G service for the life my my contract with no changes, and they did not understand Sprint's increase in 4G rates because they are NOT charging Sprint anymore money for their 4G backhaul. They said that this was just a money making move on Sprints part and no other reason. Clearwire said for the limited markets the 4G is deployed, they have plenty of bandwidth set aside. I signed up for there unlimited 4G service for 45 Dollars a month... Thats it... After I read the contract and found that their service gets QOS over Sprint Traffic and I live in an area where I get 80% in doors, I signed up. Sprints motivation wasn't based on low bandwidth, it was pure and simple greed... PURE and simple... call Clearwire today and find that out for yourslef