Everyone with Sprint service is up in arms about the new ‘premiere levels’ of gold and sliver and what they need to qualify to get to gold status. There have been posts threatening lawsuits, device dodging and even leaving the carrier over something as simple as an ‘early upgrade’.
First off, keep in mind that most people that will be affected by this will probably be upgrading prior to the deadline, but if you are one of the unlucky ones that don’t have an upgrade before April of this year, here’s the skinny on what to expect in Sprint’s 3 part plan here…
1) Sprint is adding a $10 premium data charge to all smartphone/data phone plans beginning in April – according to the rumor mill. This will apply a $10 surcharge to everyone on the Family Share Any Mobile/Any Time with Data plans – taking the cost to $149.99 for a 2 line package. A 5 line family plan would then run you $239.96.
2) Sprint will be changing their Premiere status program to a rate of $89.99 for single lines and $169.99 for family plan. They are also adding a sub-class to the program for users that are not to those levels with rate plans of $69.99/99.99 respectively. The gold program remains somewhat unchanged, while the lower silver class cuts the benefits basically in half.
3) Sprint is rolling out more 4G coverage and devices which will lead to no 3G data phones being made available to Sprint subscribers in the next 12-15 months. Thus, everyone worrying about paying the ‘premium fee’ would end up having to pay it at their next year’s upgrade anyways.
So, by putting these wonderful pieces together you get a picture like this. In 2008 when the Premiere program was made, it was all about Voice and Text ($99.99 on a family plan was 3 lines plus texting.) Now, it’s all about data and data… so the $149.98 plus 3 lines of ‘premium surcharge’ is $179.98 which is still the gold level.
Everyone seems pretty worried about losing an upgrade credit, paying a surcharge for data and having the cheapest deal in town become a bit less of a deal. Overall, Sprint will still save $100’s over the 2 year contract for anyone that signs up for one. You always have the option of changing carriers and with Sprint it will only cost you $200 to buy yourself out, rather than the $350 you’d spend with Verizon.
Just remember, with the Premium surcharges in place, you will still qualify for the Gold package as long as you aren’t on the base only plan or have more than 2 lines on your family plan.