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Posted at 10:24 AM ET, 01/18/2011

Sprint Nextel to raise unlimited data fees for new smart phone users

By Cecilia Kang

Sprint Nextel said Tuesday it will increase by $10 per month the fee for unlimited data plans for new smart phone customers beginning Jan. 30.

The current cost is $99 per month for unlimited data, texting and voice.

The nation's third-largest wireless company will continue to offer unlimited data plans as competitor AT&T moves toward tiered Internet access fees. Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are also offering tiered data rates and unlimited plans.

The billing changes come amid an explosion of Internet use on smart phones and other wireless devices that analysts project will lead to higher costs and more complicated bills for consumers.

Sprint said it increased its data plan price so it could keep up with costs of providing smooth wireless connections as networks become more congested with data traffic.

“While some of our competitors impose overage charges and complex plans, Sprint continues to provide a worry-free, unlimited data experience while on the Sprint network," said Bob Johnson, president of Sprint's consumer business in a press release.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has proposed rules that require wireless service operators to warn consumers when they are about to go over their data and texting limits. The proposal is aimed at preventing "bill shock" and has been opposed generally by the wireless companies, which say they provide many ways for users to find out how much data they have consumed.

By Cecilia Kang  | January 18, 2011; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Consumers, FCC, Sprint Nextel  
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Comments

Good article except for those pesky facts getting in the way.

Under the new pricing, Sprint will charge $79.99 for a plan that includes unlimited talk time and data, compared with $69.99 previously.

Posted by: tlpierce | January 18, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I fully support the proposed rules to warn subscribers when they're about to go over their limits. I've gotten bill shock a number of times, and as someone living on a tight budget, it can really throw you off for the month and means not-paying something else, or borrowing more.

Also, as a Sprint customer, I'm annoyed to see the heavy push toward the much more expensive data plans. Right now I use my phone for talking and texting only, but the selection of phones available which are designed for just that is limited. To go from a talk and text shared-minutes family plan to a full data plan is an increase of $40 per month, and that's too much for me.

Posted by: WorldCup | January 18, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

tlpierce, I think that she was referring to the Simply Everything Plan (true unlimited calling) whereas you are referring to the Everything Data - with Any Mobile Anytime plan (unlimited calling to mobile phones only). Her facts were correct.

Posted by: midanae | January 18, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Everybody should be very careful about making any change to our service once this goes into effect. It could be considered a new contract and you'll find that the new data rates apply.

I had a similar experience with a cable TV company and because the old rate was grand-fathered and once your "service" changed the grandfathered rate wasn't applicable and they could not revert to a previous pricing structure even if you decided you didn't want to change.

Posted by: mehrenst1 | January 18, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Guess it's a good thing I'm paying $40 a month for unlimited text and data with 1200 talk minutes(that I'll never use) through Virgin Mobile.

Yeah, I'll advertise it for free, it's the best deal around.

Posted by: NotForYou1 | January 18, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I second that Virgin Mobile suggestion and would like to add that they are owned by Sprint too.
My Virgin plan is 'no plan at all' and I like it. I pay $21.50 and get 200 minutes of talk time that always lasts me through the month. (except once) The phone cost me $18.00 and uses the Sprint network to connect. I buy minutes when needed and never have to suffer from "Bill Shock".

Posted by: realneil | January 19, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

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