Verizon announces the iPhone and Sprint announces increased prices!

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Sprint just announced that all smart phones on their network will require the $10 “Premium Data” fee as of Jan 30th, 2011. Anyone who currently has a plan will be grandfathered to their current rates.

Really? You originally said that anyone getting the “top tier” phones would be subjected to a $10 “Premium Data” fee and because of that you’d have access to life changing features such as a bigger screen, faster speeds, more data and maybe even a kick stand.

So that was the deal. You pay $10 and you get these features that no other Sprint phone has! The EVO had the biggest screen and access to 4G! The Epic had a keyboard and access to 4G! Both even had front facing cameras that allowed video chat!

Then enters the EVO Shift.. a phone that requires the $10 “Premium Data” but lacks a front facing camera and has a limited smaller screen. The only real big feature that the EVO Shift has that the other “Premium Data” required phones has is the ability to access the 4G network.

But wait, we’ve been told “Premium Data” is NOT for 4G! Why does this feature lacking so-called EVO require Premium Data then and the Samsung Transform doesn’t?

Look at the comparison between the phones on this website. The Transform actually has dual cameras, which the EVO Shift does not, yet the Transform is the one without “Premium Data”.

Again, what is the common denominator? 4G.

Sprint seems to not understand. They charged customer’s for a feature that most couldn’t get and now instead of removing the fee, they’re raising the prices of all of their other phones to basically “eliminate” this added fee. What does that mean for everyone else? You don’t have to worry about deciding on a 4G or non-4G phone, you’re going to pay for “Premium Data” regardless of the phone you have!

Likewise I have an issue with all these quick house sale firms who charge an extortionate fee for an extremely poor service, but this is for another post!


Sprint’s Press Release:

Smartphones Drive Wireless Data Explosion

Sprint takes step to ensure customers continue to enjoy unlimited data while on the Sprint Network, without overages

Smartphone penetration is expected to double during the next four years.1
Market share for Google’s Android operating system grew by 23 percent last year alone.2
Mobile data traffic is forecast to double worldwide each year through 2014.3

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), January 18, 2011 – Today’s ability to do more things on the go – such as watching videos, sharing pictures or checking directions – is not only changing the way we live; it is driving exponential growth of mobile data traffic.

Sprint (NYSE: S) is committed to providing its customers a great wireless experience now and in the future. From its packed portfolio of innovative phones and devices to its leadership in introducing 4G services, to its consumer-friendly Everything Data plans, featuring unlimited text, Web and calling to any mobile phone, Sprint offers the best value in wireless.

Sprint will increase its postpaid rates by applying a $10 per month Premium Data add-on charge to activations of smartphones beginning Jan. 30. The charge will assist Sprint in offering simple and affordable unlimited plans for its customers while maintaining a wireless network able to meet the growing appetite for a richer mobile experience. Subscribers with smartphones will still receive the best value in wireless, including the Any Mobile, Anytime feature offered nationwide only by Sprint.

Sprint also offers a full range of traditional feature phones, including popular eco-friendly or touch-screen handsets that do not require the Premium Data add-on charge but still have a great range of capabilities with voice, text and data access. Existing Sprint smartphone customers are not affected unless they upgrade to or activate another smartphone.

“Sprint wants its customers to experience the range of entertainment and productivity possibilities available with today’s wireless technology,” said Bob H. Johnson, president of Sprint’s consumer business. “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. This is responsible, sustainable and reflects our commitment to simplicity and value.”

“Sprint’s decision to apply the Premium Data add-on charge to activations of smartphones going forward recognizes the enhanced user experience that today’s smartphones deliver, which, in turn, drives substantially higher data usage and cost,” said Roger Entner, analyst and founder of Recon Analytics.

“Building, maintaining and expanding wireless data networks isn’t free – there are real costs involved. In effect, Sprint has chosen to increase the price of its unlimited Everything Data plans, which is still below that of its major competitors, for the segment of customers – smartphone users – who are using wireless data the most and are driving up costs. Consumers have many choices. They can choose unlimited, worry-free data plans on the Sprint network or they can have tiered, metered plans and overage charges with other wireless carriers.”

Smartphone customers use, on average, 10 times more data than users of traditional feature phones. Smartphone users have access to more data capabilities, applications and other functionality than traditional feature phones. Examples include access to thousands of applications and games through online marketplaces and full HTML Web browsing with Adobe Flash technology that allows users to browse the Internet on their devices just like they can at home or in the office.

Sprint defines smartphones as devices with robust operating systems that deliver a rich wireless experience by bringing the full function of mobile applications and programs to life, including Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile, Palm, and the Instinct family of devices. The Premium Data add-on charge previously applied to HTC EVO 4G, HTC EVO Shift 4G and Samsung Epic 4G devices.

“Sprint continues to be the carrier for people who want to do more than just talk with their wireless devices,” said Johnson. “Customer growth on our 3G and 4G networks, exponential increases in the use of mobile data applications, and the growing use of smartphones is proof that consumers are getting the message.

“Sprint’s unlimited data plans, with or without the $10 charge, continue to beat the offerings of our top national competitors, who cap users’ data, charge data overages, and do not offer the unique functionality of Any Mobile, Anytime, which gives subscribers on the Sprint network unlimited calling to any other wireless user in America regardless of carrier.”

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 48.8 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

1 Heavy Reading, Assessment of Sprint’s Network Vision Initiative, by Berge Ayvazian, Dec. 10, 2010.

2 Ibid.

3 Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2009-2014.

Share and Enjoy:

Let’s hope it’s a great New Year!

I created this website over half a year ago as a way to express my thoughts and opinions about Sprint’s policies regarding their “Premium Data” fee associated with their newest phones. I didn’t know what would become of it, or if I could even make a difference. It was my first website that I ever created and it was great to see how my site grew.

Overall, I’m very happy with the way everything worked out. I’ve received a lot of great feedback and many emails from people telling me their stories and their personal experiences with Sprint. It’s hard to imagine that 7 months ago that when you Google “Sprint Premium Data“, that my site and it’s articles would be all over the front page.

I feel that the work that I’ve put into this cause has been very rewarding. I’ve achieved everything that I’ve wanted (except getting my bill lowered! ha!). I wanted to be on the android news sites – and I was. I wanted to make it to the Consumerist.com site – and I did, several times! Digg front page – 2x and many, many other websites have featured this site on their front page. Ultimately at this point, it’s time to let everyone know that I no longer will be updating this website with any additional information until further notice.

If there is any major news that comes out, I’ll make a post – but this will be it for awhile.

I’ve received tons of emails regarding the lawsuits people are filing and I think it’s great. It’s no longer a guy with a website trying to fight Sprint, but many people, including lawyers that are raising their voice. Good luck to those lawsuits and anyone else who continues to fight this fight.

I can be reached at explainthefee@gmail.com, if you want to reach out to me.

Finally, if there’s one article that I could have someone read and understand my thoughts about this, it would be this one. Please let others know about the site and the cause – if you can and hopefully we’ll get more news about this to report on!

Thanks for all the support everyone, it’s been a blast!

Share and Enjoy:

Continuing the tradition of charging for hardware

tradition

 

Ah, finally I have time to sit down and actually write something, I apologize for the delay but my new boss has me working at all hours and even weekends!! :)

I’ve been working on a few things here and there, but I wanted to focus on Sprint’s Epic 4G and the “continuing tradition” of advertising with bullshit marketing schemes that try and get consumer’s to look at the dangling shiny object and not look at what they’re really purchasing.

As you can see, this is a photo that I took of an advertisement that I got in the mail from Sprint.  It is describing that Sprint has a tradition of “firsts” that it’s continuing.

The FIRST and only 4G Super AMOLED screen in the world

Are you.. serious?  That is freaking amazing!  This is a historic day!  Sprint has found a screen that will provide a “4G” service.. but wait, that can’t be right.. a screen is just a screen, it can’t use DATA right?  Let’s keep reading!

The FIRST 4G slide-out QWERTY keyboard

Similar to the screen, we see that Sprint has somehow combined data with hardware of their phone.  It appears that this claim to have the FIRST “something” makes this better than the competition.   Let’s just forget that Samsung manufactured the “Galaxy S” series for all 4 carriers and the only difference between them and Sprint is that this phone has a physical keyboard AND the opportunity to use 4G service, IF you are in a 4G area.

You might ask, “So the only difference between these four devices is that one of them has a keyboard, and the rest don’t?”  Well, yeah, that’s exactly what a consumer who doesn’t live in a 4G area is going to consider when looking at these phones.   Some people love hardware keyboards and some people loathe them, but that’s up to the buyer.

Scenario: Billy and Susan are friends who live in New York.  Billy currently has the HTC Touch Pro 2 with Sprint and Susan has the Samsung Omnia with Verizon.  Both of them love their current carriers and want to purchase the latest Samsung Galaxy S series phone and stick with their current plans.

Susan goes to the local Verizon store and upgrades her plan to purchase the Samsung Fascinate and Billy goes to the Sprint store and grabs the Samsung Epic 4G.

Both of them purchased basically the same phone, but on different carriers.  Susan is continuing to pay the same price that she’s been paying for the last 2 years on her contract.  The thing is though, is that Billy now has to budget in another $10 for “Premium Data” even though he’s getting the same phone as Susan!  Since they live in a 3G only area, there’s no increased 4G speeds.

So, now Billy’s upset at Susan because she keeps teasing him that her phone didn’t cost anything “more” a month.  Billy has to remind Susan that his plan is cheaper, but still.. he’s upset because it’s the principle.

Billy, now fueled with anger after being taunted by Susan, gets the courage to email Sprint and ask “why!?” and here’s the response he received:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for writing to Dan@Sprint.com.  I have reviewed and understand your concerns regarding the $10.00 premium data add-on associated with the Samsung Epic. The Samsung Epic signifies a shift in the data features and services that Sprint is able to deliver to customers today.  The Epic device experience is far and away better than any other 3G device in the market because of a host of product innovations.  The Epic holds a faster processor which allows better mobile broadband experiences with gaming, uploading, downloading, and  connecting in addition to the massive 4.0” display with dual cameras for videos, photos, and video conferencing.

The richer data experience requires Sprint to allocate additional resources to its data networks to continue to provide an optimal data experience.  The $10.00 premium data add-on is intended to help cover the costs associated with these resources and will only be assessed on customers who have purchased devices that are capable of taking advantage of this robust data experience. Customers can experience this richer data experience on either the Sprint 3G or 4G networks. Sprint notes that the required $10 premium data add-on is clearly and conspicuously disclosed in all relevant sales and marketing materials, and is directly confirmed with the consumer as part of the purchase process.  Customers who do not want to pay the $10 premium data charge are always free to select from Sprint’s robust device line-up and enjoy a quality data experience.

Again, I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.

If you have any other questions you can contact me at (757) 555-5555. I am in the office Tuesday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST and Saturday 8:00 to 12:00 PM EST.

Thank you for your continued business and loyalty to Sprint. Have a great day!

Sincerely,
#######
(757) 555-5555
Sprint

Wait, what?!  Sprint actually emailed Billy and told him that the Epic device “experience” is far and away better than any other 3G device in the MARKET, because it has a FASTER processor and a MASSIVE 4.0″ display with dual cameras?

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But, wait!  Look at what they’re saying!  The Epic requires the $10 “premium data” fee because it’s better than ANY OTHER 3G DEVICE IN THE MARKET.  Even the phones made by the same manufacturer (Samsung) and the SAME brand – “Galaxy S”.

Are they serious?  Billy doesn’t believe it, so he sends another email!

Dear Sprint,

1. Can you define “robust” in this terminology?

2. How will a user in a 3G area only be able to experience a “robust data experience”?

3. Does the $10 premium data add-on allow unlimited data, or does the service plan?

Sprint quickly churns out another auto-reply:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for the email response.  Sprint offers customers the best 3G network experience with the best price value, and where available, the speed experience of 4G. By describing the experience as robust, we believe that the Samsung Epic will provide a rich data experience whether in the 3G or 4G Sprint network. Its features and specs make it one of the best phones available on any 3G network and provide the added benefit of being one of the two devices to take advantage of the 4G speeds where available.  The $10 premium data plan is for  unlimited 3G or 4G data while on the Sprint network with the Samsung Epic.

I thoroughly understand your concerns and apologize for any misunderstandings surrounding the $10 premium data fee associated with the upcoming Samsung Epic device; however this fee will be applicable should you purchase the Epic device and can not be waived or discounted.

Should you have any other questions concerning your Sprint account, please feel free to contact me at (757) 555-5555.  My office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST and Saturday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST.

Thank you for choosing Sprint.  Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Sincerely,
#######
(757) 555-5555
Sprint

Well… here we are again. “By describing the experience as robust, we believe that the Samsung Epic will provide a rich data experience whether in the 3G or 4G Sprint network”.

Or in other words; “By being vague, we believe you won’t question our unclear answers.”

The last sentence though in the first paragraph is what stands out.  “The $10 premium data plan is for unlimited 3G or 4G data while on the Sprint network with the Samsung Epic.”  If this is true, then this is big.  How can Sprint come out and state that their “UNLIMITED DATA” plans are NOT unlimited with all of the phones on that plan?  They are stating that you need “Unlimited, plus a ‘lil extra”, kinda like when you were a kid and said “Infinity+1″ to outrageously declare something.

Sprint, this isn’t junior high!  You can’t ask someone to pay for “Infinity+1″ when you’re selling “Infinity” at a flat rate.

At the start of the article I mentioned how Sprint was “boasting” their 4G firsts; wouldn’t it be great if they could only be first in other categories?

jd

 

This charts and graph was extracted from a press release by J.D. Power and Associates (publisher) and the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Performance StudySM–Volume 2 was the source.