These operators are taking advantage of a clause in Sprint's acquisition of Clear in 2013.
Sprint bought Clear in 2013, and stopped providing that service in 2015 - shutting down the legacy WiMAX network entirely to make more space for LTE. But the obligations behind the scenes that were attached to Clear's cellular spectrum requiring that discounted service be offered to non-profits remained, and the old contracts were inherited by Sprint.
The reason this it is possible for non-profits to resell Sprint data plans on the cheap is thanks to a loophole in the terms of service for the non-profits:
"You are permitted to use of the Service as long as you are a user, recipient or beneficiary of a non-profit programs or services, but not thereafter."
To sign-up for one of these non-profit based plans, you generally have to become a member of the non-profit organization (we list many of these below), which includes service prepaid for at least several months and a mobile hotspot device. There are sometimes criteria required to become a member - such as being low-income.
And, fair warning:
These plans have a history of fizzling out without warning - even if you have signed up for a set amount of future service. Take 4GCommunity for example (our report on that flop); many folks never got their prepaid $$ refunded for services that were cut off before they were used - and then they were stuck with subpar gear that couldn't be re-used on a similar service to boot.
More recently, another Sprint non-profit provider, freedata.io seemingly disappeared out of thin air without a report of them leaving the market. As they were a newer provider to begin with, we hope few were affected, but we haven't been able to get details on what happened or where they went.
Use caution - while these deals are often amazing for those who qualify and/or can use Sprint service to meet their needs, they do come with a history of risk of disappearing suddenly.
For Our Comparative Pricing Grid:
Guide to Cellular Data Plan Pricing
We tested a plan from 4GCommunity.org in October 2016. We've confirmed that that plan worked and successfully used it while in Sprint 4G signal areas. We have seen tons of reports that the other Sprint non-profit providers work similarly. 4GCommunity terminated their plans in October 2017, but our members can read our review of the plan (and can expect similar experiences on similar non-profit plans). We currently have a plan from Calyx that we use for testing.
Policies & Perks:
- Carrier Networks Used: Sprint
- Carrier Relation: Reseller
- Plan Types Available: Data only
- Device Types Permitted: Hotspot
- Device Purchase Required: Non-profit dependent, but typically, yes.
- Mobile Hotspot Use: Yes - all
- Throttling: None
- Network Management: 50GB
- International Roaming: No international coverage is included.
- Domestic Roaming: No domestic roaming or 3G Sprint coverage
- Plan Period: Yearly
- Data Roll Over: No
- Overage Charges: No
- Streaming: There are no restrictions or blocks on video streaming.
- Unlimited: Yes
Options (members see plan detail further down page):
- Calyx Institute
- PCs for People & Connectall.org
Jump Wireless(As of June 22, 2018, Jump Wireless is not currently accepting new customers)
- 4GCommunity Ending Internet Plans Posted on: October 23, 2017
- PCs for People Offering $10/Month Unlimited LTE Data for Low Income Households Posted on: October 21, 2016
- Calyx Institute Offering Unlimited & Unthrottled Sprint Service Posted on: September 26, 2016
A Full Review of this Product is Available to our Members
In thanks for funding this resource center our members have access to the in-depth unbiased review of this product based on our extensive hands-on time and testing.
If you're a member, please log in above to read the review.
- Calyx Institute - Requires a first year membership fee of $500, which includes the mobile hotspot use. Additional years are $400, resulting in a cost of about $33/month.
- PCs for People & Connectall.org - Available to only qualifying low income households. Monthly service comes out to about $10/month if prepaid for a year.
freedata.io - Open to all, three tiers of service are offered with pricing schemes from $449 - $679 for the first year, then a renewal fee of $249 for the next year. Unlimited, un-prioritized and un-throttled Sprint based data. Premium and Ultra packages offer 3G data in addition to 4G. Jump Wireless - Jump Wireless stopped accepting new members on 22 June, 2018. Previously they announced their portal "stopped working" in early June. These actions are reminiscent of 4G Community and at this time we recommend extreme caution with this provider as they may go out of business soon. Unlike the other options, Jump only offers month-to-month plans for $15.75 a month (after a $50 activation fee and hotspot purchase). The higher-end hotspot includes 3G service.