Sprint Replaces Unlimited Hotspot Plan with 50GB of Tiered Data

Sprint Ends Unlimited Hotspot Plan

In early November 2017, Sprint rolled out an interesting if underwhelming unlimited data hotspot option. A short three months later, Sprint replaced it with a 50GB tiered-data option for the same price, ending unlimited data for mobile hotspots as an option for Sprint customers.


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Currently, the tiered data hotspot options are priced as follows and include Sprint's autopay discount, but not taxes and fees:

  • 10GB for $30/mo (This option is unchanged)
  • 50GB for $50/mo

The plan comes with the following features and limitations:



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  • Additional Data - Additional high-speed data can be purchased in buckets of 2GB for $10 each.
  • Rollover data - Both plans come with rollover data - unused data each month is carried over to the next month, up to the plan data cap (10GB or 50GB).
  • Network Management - Sprint's network management policies apply to these plans.  Sprint's current network management threshold is 23GB/month.
  • Data Throttling - Video streams are capped at 1080p resolution, music at 1.5 Mbps, and game streams at 8 Mbps.
  • Unlimited 2G - Speeds slow to 2g once the data allotment is used up. 2G speeds on Sprint's network are 32 Kbps - extremely slow, equivalent to dialup.

This plan is only available with a data-only hotspot device, including Sprint's current flagship - the Franklin R910.  A full list of compatible devices is on Sprint's website.

Analysis

By any measure, this is a significant downgrade from the previous unlimited option - however, it still compares favorably to the tiered-data plans from the other carriers.  The chart below compares tiered data-only plans and shows that Sprint is by far the cheapest on a per-GB basis.

Tiered Data-Only Plans for the four major carriers

If you're someone who is looking for a Sprint option to round out your mobile arsenal, then this plan may work for you.  But, there are alternatives to consider.


The downside with Sprint, as always, is the limited coverage map:

Sprint LTE Coverage as of January 2018 from our app, "Coverage?"

For more on how the four carriers stack up:
The Four Major US Carriers – Which is Best for RVers?

 


Summary

For RVers and cruisers, this plan will not have much appeal - it's tiered data that is still subject to network management on the carrier with the least nationwide coverage.  It could work as a relatively inexpensive backup option and, with the rollover feature, you could have a sizable chunk of Sprint data if you need it.


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