If you’ve visited a Sprint store recently, or saw an ad on television, you might think that the No. 3 cellular carrier finally gets it. You might believe that Sprint is actually trying to put an end to deceptively low pricing with add-on costs. Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s CEO, even came out in a press release, claiming that the company was building a coverage plan that was all-inclusive:
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.
Sprint even went so far as to produce a commercial, starring David Beckham, that makes fun of other carriers for double-talking customers about extra charges. See the video below, or click this link if it fails to load.
The new “All In” plan is supposed to be $80 including your service and the lease on your phone. As you can see from the below screen grab of the fine print, however, there’s more. You’ve got taxes, surcharges (some of which can be as much as 17.1 percent), administrative fees, regulatory fees, and other fees. Sprint also requires you to be “responsible for insurance and repairs” of your leased device. Sprint currently charges $13 monthly for its Total Equipment Plan, so that would be an additional cost you would incur under the supposed “All In” offering.
Of course, this still isn’t the whole story. Out of the plan cost, $20 goes to cover the lease on your 16GB iPhone. Want more than 16GB? You’ll have to pay more for that, and the lease price assumes you have good credit. If you don’t have good credit, you’ll be paying a deposit and, supposedly, a lower lease payment.
What’s troubling about this plan is that, quite frankly, Sprint has ignored its current customers with it. I’m a Sprint subscriber, and haven’t been made aware of this new plan. Honestly, though, after comparing the fine print with my own bill, I’m better off with the plan I already have. That, I expect, may be why Sprint didn’t notify me of the new option.
To make a long story short, Sprint’s billing under the All In plan is going to be just as confusing as any other cellular provider’s statement. You should always look closely at your monthly statement. If you’re confused by it, ask your carrier to explain the charges. Otherwise, you could end up paying way too much for your cellular service.