Sprint’s unlimited data plan not worth it (unless maybe you don’t have a smart phone)

The post I told you I would write, whether you like it or not….

Alright, it’s official, I have dropped my terrible Sprint plan and have paid my first bill for Verizon. Smart phone users, I just don’t think Sprint is worth one lick if you actually want to use internet or even receive text messages. It feels good to be rid of such a terrible company, their crumby phones, and piss-poor service. I have a nearly $600 bill to prove it:

Sprint, man, the worst.

.01  “Misleading” (non-business folk would call it lying…) messaging plan. Ok, Sprint is notorious for everyone hating their “Everything Messaging Plan” that does not include….everything messaging. We found out the hard way when we were conned into getting the plan and then learned that what they mean is “a more expensive text messaging plan.” For awhile my dad went to the Sprint store every month to have our picture mail charges refunded. But then they said they wouldn’t do that anymore. So he had our data usage blocked and we could only use text messages. It was this, years ago, that laid the seed of Sprint discontent.

02. Starting a data plan & Android no. 1. After moving to Denver this September, my new job required that I have a smart phone. It was during this time I really was looking at changing plans. Talked to different stores even and mentally picked out new phones. I was kicking the ground over the exorbitant costs of other plans, like Verizon and AT&T, that will cost about $1200 a year. They also had the iPhone, which I desperately wanted. It’s a little sad to think about. But I finally caved into the pressure from my parents to remain on the plan and just pay them $50/month to upgrade my phone and our plan.

I picked out the HTC Evo Shift and it was pretty exciting for a while. Specifically, for about 5 hours and then the battery died. I mean, it was ok. I had really liked my Lotus, to be honest, and while connecting to the internet was cool, the load time made it seem more like I wasn’t on the internet at all. I was optimistic that it was the phone and not Sprint.

03. Coverage, a side note. Another reason that I didn’t want to get Sprint was their dinky coverage. The whole time I was in school in Wyoming I was roaming. As in, Sprint has no coverage–not even talk–in Wyoming. I just now looked at their map, and it is now a comforting shade of green, but I know what happened when I had it last year (2010-2011, latest). I mean, even after I got my Evo (Sept 2011) and I went up there my phone was like “WTF is going on!?! I can’t connect to anything!“*

04. 16 days later. If you are a Sprint customer (or, I’m sure all the phone companies do this). You know that Sprint has a 14-day phone policy that allows you return the phone if you’re unhappy with it. Sixteen days after I bought the phone Sprint came out with their iPhone. Uhgggggg! So much regret! I went into the store and called them immediately and asked if there was anyway I could switch phones. They told me to get bent*.

05. Android no. 1 bites the dust. So my Android started doing this weird thing that Savannah’s did (she had the exact same phone as me, but for 6 months longer). It had this text messaging glitch that kept scrolling the message to the beginning of the thread while you were typing. Or trying to read it. Or just because. This glitch was about two months after I got it, and since Savannah had to have hers repaired twice while in six months, I thought I should take it in. They could not fix it. And instead of replacing the phone with the same one, the sales representative recommended I get a different phone. The Samsung Nexus, to be specific. Again, I had made a plea for the iPhone, telling them I’d be willing to pay the difference between my Evo and the iPhone if I had to. (Since, you know, their cruddy phone had broke). After being refused by the indifferent sales clerk, I also tried to call them: “Srly, Jaqueline, get bent.”*

06. Oh man alive do I hate the Samsung Nexus. It took a very long time to set up if you want any of the conveniences of  having a functional smart phone. A lot of additional apps and frowns. The battery life was a little better, but somehow it’s ability to connect to the internet was exponentially worse. It almost never could find internet–sometimes even when I was connected to the wireless in my house/office. I just don’t understand that. And it often showed my gps location as a different city from where I was. Usually Glenwood, Colorado. And while it was a nice FYI to see what their weather was like, sometimes I wanted a little more…tailored information, like say…about my location. I have watched Matt many-a-time use his iPhone GPS, watched it’s blue dot dutifully follow him from location to location with much longing. Sigh…I would open the internet optimistically but it would never load. It was really infuriating to have gotten a new phone for a new data plan, but have neither work. 

07. Android no. 2 bites the dust. Now at this point, I was almost never using the non-existent internet on my smart phone. But then it started dropping my text messages. A lot of them and with great consistency. My expensive smart phone was now unable to do something that basic phones could do. My sister later has the same problem on Virgin mobile, which uses the Sprint network. I took it in to get fixed on a Wednesday, they reset it. I spend even more time trying to get the phone set up again. It’s still not fixed.

 08. Sprint’s unlimited data plan is not worth it.

So that weekend I bought and iPhone with Verizon. Which Sprint promptly charged us about $480 dollars for. I love my iPhone. Connection is rarely a problem (though it’s no miracle). My first bill was $200, but it’ll have to do.

But hey, maybe I’m the only one with connection problems. Savannah says she doesn’t have problems and she lives in Omaha (I doubt she uses the internet that often though), but you would think coverage in Denver would be pretty good. This is just my experience.


I’m sorry, but I had to post this.


Your Turn:
  1. caleb says:

    I sell AT&T products (though I’ve had sprint forever). that thing about the picture mail thing was a short time and a glitch. It sounds like the bigger problem was the android phones than anything. Everyone I’ve known no matter what carrier and how much they swear by android phones have all have problems with them. The basic issue is that they aren’t secure phones and they require good antivirus software to help them run, which usually doesn’t help anyway. All of the carriers have the same phones, just branded under a different name and slightly different design. Battery life and connectivity to wireless and wifi has nothing to do with the carrier but to do with the phone. what is the random $350 fee in the middle of that bill? that’s the only thing that really makes it out of wack. As far as the data limits go, unless you are using your mobile device as a hotspot for other devices, you will almost never exceed the data limits because most of the time you are connected on wifi. anyway, just my two cents

  2. Jacklynn says:

    Sigh, I know. I’ve been chastised for the Android-not-Sprint thing. If not the connectivity, the speed of the internet certainly matters among carriers. The fee was my cancellation fee. I am aware that the things are not necessarily connective, but over all my experience with Sprint was negative.

    I also agree that almost no one actually needs an unlimited data plan anyway. I wouldn’t recommend it as a reason to choose Sprint.

    Besides, I think it’s generally agreed that no one is happy with their carriers, they’re just trying to find the lesser of the evils. :)

  3. Devil in the Details says:

    It looks like a huge hunk of the balance is a single $350 charge. What was that for? You blurred out the description. Did you buy a new phone?

    Eliminating that $350, that leaves about a $60 difference between the current bill and the previous one. That is accounted for by the Sprint surcharges. Can you “show details” on those? Did you roam?

  4. Devil in the Details says:

    Actually I think that $350 is an early termination fee, which is usually disclosed as boilerplate language in the contract when you sign up. I guess you could try to make the case that Sprint never delivered the services they promised.

    Also, if your work requires you to have a smartphone, your employer should be the one paying for it.

    “But I finally caved into the pressure from my parents to remain on the plan …” I suggest you make a clean break with your parents’ finances. They should provide advice, not impose control. (However, if you depend on them to subsidize your living, they rightfully get a say in how you spend your — their — money.)