Sprint's new 'Unlimited, My Way' plan may be unlimited, but it's not your wayAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Whether you're a newbie in the mobile world looking for your first carrier or a veteran in the trade ready to renew your contract (or not), you're probably laying all of the options out on the table before you. Wireless providers will do whatever they can to talk themselves up to you - and why not? They want your business, your money, and your loyalty. They want you to believe in them. If they're smart, they'll execute the plan correctly and you'll be so happy you'll bring on your family, friends, and maybe even convert some co-workers.
Recently, T-Mobile has done a pretty good job in my opinion of talking themselves up by being completely contract free across the board, and offer several different accommodating plans for just about every demographic; I know 18-year old me sure wishes they would have had the no credit check option back then.
T-Mobile's new UNcarrier initiative that was unveiled earlier this year sparked a lot of discussion among mobile fanatics everywhere. It was new, it was interesting, and it overused the phrase that we've all been longing to hear since we first succumbed to the words "sign here": no contract. Although the carrier's "boldest moves yet" didn't come without flaw (namely lack of coverage in many rural areas) it did shake the mobile world in the sense that now we know that something can be done about the contracts that we sign, and many wondered if other carriers would follow suit soon after.
So far we have nothing.
But that doesn't mean carriers aren't still changing up their plans anyway. In recent news we learn that Sprint plans on changing a number of their plans to new 'Unlimited, My Way' and 'My All-In' plans, presumably in an effort to keep up with its closest competitor, T-Mobile. The names, for the most part, speak for themselves - you basically get unlimited talk and text no matter what starting at $50 for one line and you get to decide whether you want unlimited data or not for an additional $30 per line. $80 for a single phone line with unlimited everything? Technically, that's getting a better deal with Sprint seeing as if you get their current $79.99 Everything Data plan you're missing out on the "unlimited" aspect when it comes to voice calls - you only have 450 minutes every month to spend on landlines and businesses from the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The plan did, however, include free mobile-to-mobile calling, nights and weekends, so the average user wasn't negatively affected the majority of the time. This new individual plan will likely benefit those who still call landline numbers often and independent business users. That aspect of the plan looks pretty solid.
Even a 2-person family plan looks like it's getting the benefit of the doubt. The individual line plus a second line would equal out to $90, plus another $60 for unlimited data on both phones puts you at $150, which is the current going rate for a 2-person Everything Data Plan anyway. The only difference is now you get unlimited talk time with everybody; also a solid decision for the Now Network.
It's when lines three and four are introduced where people start to get screwed. Let's look at a situation where you would need a family plan. Each line after the first line ($50) would cost $10 less than the line before (i.e. $40 for the second line, $30 for the third, $20 for the fourth). It's nice of Sprint to decrease the price by $10 a month, but you still have to pay $30 for unlimited data on each line. On the new plans, a family plan with four people will run you about $260 every month. Currently, the most similar plan would currently run you around $210 which, unless your family is calling a boatload of landlines every month, you're probably never going to run into a problem with. It's also worth mentioning that these new plans would make a family plan with three lines the same $210 it costs now to have a four line family plan with data, when it used to cost just $179.98.
I'm going to actually say I'm in favor for the My All-In plans because it currently costs $110 to have a Simply Everything plan, which includes all of the same features as the My All-In plan. The improvement that comes with the My All-In plan includes 5GB of WiFi Hotspot every month, so that's a pretty cool bonus that would have cost you about $30 more a month otherwise.
I'm very half-and-half on these plans - kind of like Sprint seems to be. On the one hand, you have some customers getting the benefit of the doubt: unlimited everything for the same price that you're paying now for less than unlimited everything. That's awesome. On the other hand, you have some customers that may potentially be getting screwed out of their money. Actually, all of these unlimited options are actually very limited in the amount of options that you have to customize them. You either have unlimited or 1GB of data, which only costs a difference of $10 (and I'm sorry, but 1 GB to unlimited is quite a big stretch; a $10 difference is not). There are plenty of people who use between 1 and unlimited gigabytes of data. In my mind, this defeats the whole "My Way" aspect of the "Unlimited, My Way" plans, unless of course "my" was referring to Sprint and not a potential customer.
I think the plans need some tweaking in order to really work with the general public. I'm not saying Sprint needs to offer no contract plans in order to keep or gain customers (although it would be nice), but I do think that the disadvantage that family plans have when it comes to higher cost could have been dealt with differently. Everything else looks pretty good to me.
Readers, what are your thoughts on Sprint's new plans? Is having unlimited everything important to you, or would you rather pick from various options to suit all of your needs instead of overshooting it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!