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Sprint, $4.99 Surcharge added in Januaury

I had considered doing this to get out and move to Tmo and replacing our two Pres with two N1's but since they aren't allowing family plans with subsidized phones and I'm not paying $160+ for two individual plans (or $1060+ for two phones) I guess I am not switching soon. Until someone can beat Sprint's rates I find it hard to move to another carrier just so I can get a particular must-have phone. Seems the must-have phones change pretty often and rotate through the carriers.
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This fee only applys to the ones who have a spending limit on there account.

That is weird. That means I can't take advantage of the loophole then. It's being talked about as an easy out if you want it but I don't have any spending limits. I haven't had one since I was just out of college and had no credit history 6 years ago.
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So like a prepaid account?

Nah. More of Sprint's way to avoid the hefty deposits you used to see (and still see sometimes) if you have poor or no credit. Carriers used to charge big deposits up to hundreds of dollars in order to give you a handset and service. I guess the idea was that if you get this handset worth hundreds of dollars, rack up hundreds in costs, and then bail, they would be out of luck.

Sprint had a relatively low deposit of around $125 or so but they would set a spending limit so that if you didn't pay your bill until your balance surpassed that limit, your phone would be shut off until you paid up. It was honestly a good solution in my opinion.

The main reason I got Sprint out of college was that the deposit was a fraction of other carriers when I had no credit established yet. I think once or twice in those broke years I went over my limit and had to pay before I could use my phone again. That way the company didn't get screwed and I was never really in the hole too much.

I stayed with Sprint because their unlimited data ("Vision") was $10-15 compared to $30-45 on other carriers. I had a data plan all the way back to my old Sanyo flip phone because I liked browsing the web and using online services to transfer pics and ringtones to my phone. Even now their rates are some of the best out there and until recently they were the best as far as smart phones.

The only downside I see is that as of a few years ago it went from a Palm, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile world to a Palm, Windows Mobile, iPhone, Blackberry, Android world with more than 2 or 3 models of phone out any given year. I think Sprint needs to more aggressively pursue compelling handsets because that is what sells to the average person. People are willing to pay $120/month for an iPhone or a Droid with the same plan that would cost you maybe $90 on Sprint. They don't do it because ATT has good 3G coverage or Verizon has good prices but rather because they are must-have phones. The average person only sees the phone and only considers the carrier when they mess up and get a bad name.

I think Sprint tried this with the Palm Pre launch. They wanted to launch the first phone that could go head to head with the iPhone in terms of specs and polish. Quite frankly I think the phone is excellent and while the hardware could be a little better it still beats iPhone in multitasking and notifications while beating most Android devices in polish and 3d capability now that they have enabled that. I just think they did a crap job advertising it and couldn't beat the onslaught of "App for that", "Map for that", "DROOOOOOID", etc. ads. All they had was the Palm Pre chick on Quaaludes.

Anyway I know tl;dr. Let's just hope Sprint can get a whole string of upcoming smartphones to keep up the pressure and match their prices and burgeoning 4g data network.
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