Sprint Nextel, the third largest major U.S. carrier, has tweaked the data pricing for its mobile hotspot tethering options in an attempt to lure new customers into using their mobile devices as wireless hotspots.
Sprint has killed its 5GB mobile hotspot plan and has started offering two new, more expensive (cost per GB) plans from May 18th.
Discovered by Phandroid in a Sprint community forum, the company will no longer offer its $30 per month plan with 5GB of data ($6 per GB) and will instead replace it with a $20 per month plan with only 2GB of data ($10 per GB) and a $50 per month plan with 6GB of data ($8.33 per GB). Existing customers can opt to stick with their old plan.
The company argues that the new plans will let customers “try the mobile hotspot add-on at a lower entry point”.
According to the company’s press release, Sprint will notify customers when they reach 75, 90 and 100 percent of their on-network monthly data limit if they’ve specified whether or not they’d like to be notified.
“[…] Sprint provides data usage notifications to help customers to proactively manage their MHS usage and adjust usage to avoid high overage charges. Customers must enroll to receive usage notifications. At 100 percent of their on-network monthly data allowance, customers will receive a notification with the option to suspend on-network mobile hotspot usage or continue to use it and pay the overage charges. If the customer chooses to accept overage charges, they will continue to receive notifications at 20 percent increments above the monthly data allowance.”
As GigaOM points out, there is some confusion with the new plans as Sprint says that when the mobile hotspot (MHS) feature turned on “Both MHS and phone data usage pull from the MHS monthly data allowance”. So it means that you need to disable MHS feature when not in use as phone data usage when the hotspot feature is enabled also ends up eating into your MHS monthly data allowance.
The conditions for overage charges are included below:
Additional on-network data usage above the monthly allowance is charged at $0.05/MB Monthly Off-network data usage limit is combination of Phone or Tablet and MHS usage.
For Tablets, the off-network data limit is driven by the tablet plan selected (either 100MB or 300MB) with a charge of $.25/MB for additional off-network usage.
What do you think of Sprint’s new mobile hotspot plans? Sound off in the comments.