Could it be that some of the top executives at the cell and cable companies have been reading our latest rants in Mouse Print* about deceptive low-ball pricing and unexpected additional charges and terms. Probably not. But, as if to say “we can hear you now,” Sprint started a big promotional campaign last week touting its new “all-in” pricing plan.
Sprint’s CEO put it this way:
“If you went to a restaurant that advertised a cheeseburger for 99-cents, but when you show up, they said it’s an extra $2 for the bun or $1 for lettuce, you would feel misled. Yet, that’s what the industry has been doing with its wireless plans. Why can’t everyone just advertise the full price of both the plan and the smartphone – an All-In plan? That was the idea behind what we’ve created.”
As part of the campaign, Sprint produced this extended commercial that pokes fun at its competitors who double-talk customers about all the extra charges they impose.
Wow. One monthly price for service and the phone.
Not so fast.
The $80 price you see is not the price you pay. Taxes, surcharges [including USF charges of up to 17.40%(varies quarterly), up to $2.50 Admin. & 40¢ Reg. /line/mo. & fees by area (approx. 5-20%)], roaming fees are still extra, and there is a $36 activation fee. Although this screen doesn’t say it (a prior one does in small print), this is for the lease of a phone. So you don’t own the phone, and will have to pay $200 at the end of two years if you want to keep it.
And here’s a new one: apparently Sprint is capping/throttling the speed of streaming videos to just 600Kbps — more like the 3G speeds that it uses on its prepaid service for videos.
So much for advertising a price that is “all-in.” Thanks, Sprint.
UPDATE: This video streaming restriction caused outrage among Sprint users and watchers, and within 24 hours Sprint backtracked removing that throttling of video speeds.