Review: Non-Profit Unlimited 4G Data Plans on Sprint (Cellular Data Plans)

Calyx's Instructions to determine the coverage areas on Sprint's maps: 1) Click on the data tab 2) Zoom in on your area of the map 3) Look at the yellow and orange – Spark and 4G LTE

Calyx's Instructions to determine the coverage areas on Sprint's maps: 1) Click on the data tab
2) Zoom in on your area of the map
3) Look at the yellow and orange – Spark and 4G LTE

Sprint bought Clear in 2013, and stopped providing 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.

Since then, several non-profits have popped up offering different flavors of unlimited data plans on the Sprint network taking advantage of this clause .

The reason this is possible is thanks to this 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 these plans, you generally become a member of the organization (listed below), which includes service prepaid for at least several months and a mobile hotspot device.

Their weaknesses: Sprint's network is not nearly as large as Verizon or AT&T, and this plan is restricted to just Sprint's native 4G/LTE coverage maps - there is no domestic roaming or even Sprint 3G service included. For mobile RVers who travel outside of major cities, this plan is likely to disappoint.

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, and 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.  

Policies & Perks:

Get the Book
  • Domestic Roaming: Non-profit plans include no data roaming.
  • International: No international coverage is included.
  • Mobile Hotspot Use: Membership generally includes purchase of a Fuse, Franklin R850, or Warp mobile hotspot, and these plans are only for data usage.
  • Data Roll Over: No roll-over, as data is unlimited.
  • Overage Charges: There are no overage charges  - all plans are unlimited.
  • Streaming: There are no restrictions or blocks on video streaming.
  • Unlimited Data Plans: Usage is described as 30GB+ per month for legal purposes, but at present time, the plans really are unlimited.

Options (members see plan detail further down page): 

Testing Status: 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.

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Purchasing Options

  • 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.
Calyx Institute Ratings
  • Overall Ratings

Quick Take

Very affordable option for Sprint based unlimited data plans.

5
Comments Rating 3 (1 review)

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