Sprint, mirroring its competition, has engaged in some grammatical gymnastics with its new unlimited strategy, announcing not one, but two different unlimited plans, each with their own limitations. One might almost say they’re not unlimited plans at all, and instead amount to yet another attempt by carriers to squeeze consumers’ wallets.
“Today we’re introducing Unlimited Plus—a feature-rich option for those customers who want it all,” said Sprint chief commercial officer Brandon “Dow” Draper in an announcement. “We’re also offering Unlimited Basic for people who may not need all the bells and whistles but still want a high-quality wireless experience.” Apparently one of the “bells and whistles” Unlimited Basic users don’t get to have with their “high-quality wireless experience” is high-quality streaming video.
Sprint’s previous plan, Unlimited Freedom, advertised unlimited data, talk time, and text messages, along with “unlimited” video streaming over its network that was restricted to 1080p quality. The plan also came with a limit of 10GB of mobile hotspot use at LTE speeds. Starting at $60 per month for a single line, it was among the cheapest “unlimited” plans available.
Now we have Sprint’s new Unlimited Basic plan. The plan does offer unlimited data, voice, and texting nationwide, but that’s where the whole “unlimited” thing ends. From there, you’ll only be able to stream video at 480p (DVD-quality, according to Sprint), and have 500MB of mobile hotspot use at LTE speeds. Every Unlimited Basic plan is bundled with a Hulu Limited Commercials subscription.
Sprint’s second unlimited plan, Unlimited Plus, adds more data to your hotspot pot and should make video streams clearer. You’ll get 15GB of mobile hotspot data at LTE speeds and 1080p video streaming over Sprint’s network, which should help you take advantage of that gargantuan smartphone display. You’ll also get a Hulu Limited Commercials subscription, along with a subscription to Tidal, useful for... someone?
The Unlimited Plus plan starts at $70 per month for a single line. The Unlimited Basic plan starts at $60 per month for a single line. If that all sounds like a worse deal than Sprint’s previous Unlimited Freedom plan, that’s because it is—unless by chance you qualify for “promotional pricing.”