Wednesday, June 9, 2010

EVO $10/month premium has outraged alot of customers

It wasn't too long ago Sprint announced the HTC EVO 4G (code named Supersonic).  They had a promotional party a few weeks back in New York focusing on the EVO 4G.  The irony is that New York doesn't (yet) have 4G.  What we got out of the party was the cost of the phone, the plan, and the release date.

The cost of the phone (subsidized) didn't surprise many people as it was priced for $200, the same as other similar phones on different mobile networks.

Sprint did announce with this particular device that there would be a $10/month additional charge on top of its compatible plans.  This caused confusion at first because people were under the impression the $10/month charge was for 4G access.  Seeing as 4G is so limited right now, it didn't make sense to charge people access for 4G service where there is none.

Shortly after the announcement, posted on their site claiming the $10 fee was optional if you wanted 4G access but then after some confusion from what the Sprint execs told them, they found out the fee was mandatory.  Why you may ask?  This is Sprint's official response explaining the mandatory fee:
The $10 per month Premium Data add-on gives the user a richer data experience on HTC EVO 4G than ever before at both 3G and 4G speeds, taking advantage of features including an 8MP auto-focus camera with HD-capable video camcorder and front-facing 1.3MP camera, superfast Snapdragon processor so navigation on the phone is quicker and apps load faster, 4.3” touchscreen for a great multimedia experience and 3G/4G capability. The combination of features and services on the HTC EVO 4G provide capabilities that were never previously available on a wireless device so customers will have a better experience and higher data usage on both the Sprint 3G Network and Sprint 4G Network.

Bullshit.  Just bullshit.  Yes I do believe this phone will access more data, but at some point, the customers data usage will plateau.  Seeing as Sprint already sells "unlimited" data plans this cost makes zero sense at all.

An illustration of a pissed off customer after
listening to Sprint's bullshit $10/month premium fee explanation.

This $10 premium has sparked outrage among the community, I believe due to the way Sprint explained themselves which has zero merit.  If Sprint needed to charge more to make up for the loss they've had the past few years, then wouldn't it make more sense to give this phone its own plan at an increased cost?

One user created a site called "Explain the Fee!" where he's trying to get Sprint to give him a straight answer.   He also is encouraging users to email Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse as well some executives at Sprint to come clean about this premium charge.

Consumerist reported this story after several people (including myself) tipped them off. You can read their posting here: Sprint Charges A $10 Monthly Awesomeness Fee To Own The HTC EVO

It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to complain to the FTC or FCC either about this "premium" charge as well.  I don't want to give you the impression that I'm against Sprint charging more money, it's how they're doing it.  That would be like your car dealer charging you a $10/month premium because you chose the red colored car which they claim give you a "better" experience...  Exactly how would it be any different from the blue or black car?