If you are using a smart phone with Sprint PCS, get ready for a premium data fee of $10. Sprint announced in their newsletter that all smartphones will now require a premium data fee of $10 per smartphone. The fee was originally only for 4G devices, such as the HTC EVO and Samsung Epic. In the newsletter Sprint states that smartphone customers on average, uses 10 times more data than feature phone users. Beginning January 30th 2011, any activation of a smartphone will require the $10 premium data fee.
The premium fee started back in June of 2010, when the HTC EVO was released. The premium data fee was targeted at just the 4G phones such as the HTC EVO, Samsung Epic and HTC EVO Shift 4G. If you already have a 4G device nothing will change because you are already paying the premium data fee. This will affect all smartphones that Sprint carries, in Sprints press release they defined a smartphone 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”.
Now if you already have a smart phone, you will not be affected by the premium data fee unless you upgrade to another smart phone or swap your smartphone. For example, if you buy asmartphone at retail without upgrading or get a used phone from eBay the premium data fee will still apply. The only exception is if you make a claim with Asurion (Sprints insurance company for lost/stolen phones), and they send you a replacement phone. Anything else will be subject to the $10 premium data fee.
With the new fee for unlimited data, how does Sprint compare to the competition. In the newsletter Sprint stated that 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.
Seems to me that if you are going to upgrade your Smartphone, might as well get a 4G device to take advantage of Sprints 4G network, which is now in 70 markets and growing. Hopefully, Palm and Blackberries will come out with 4G devices to give the consumer more choices, currently only Android has 4G phones.
Some of the questions that were answered from Sprint Customer Care are:
Q. What if I do a warranty exchange for a defective phone, will I be required to add the fee?
A. Yes, the data fee will apply if you activate/swap a smart phone on or after 1/30/2011.
Q. What if I had an old smartphone that was on my account before and I need to swap it out because my phone broke, will the fee still apply?
A. Yes, even in this situation, you are doing a device swap and the fee will apply.
Q. I have a Samsung Instinct, is that considered a smart phone?
A. Yes, the Samsung Instinct falls into the category of a smartphone, and the premium data fee will apply?