I spent several hours reading over the HTC EVO reviews, speculations, rumors, and forums – just like some of you guys did. Then I heard about the mandatory $10 upcharge for “premium data services”. I read that and thought 4G – which I don’t have because I’m in the Phoenix area. So I called Sprint to ask why its mandatory and what I will personally receive for the additional charge. After getting nowhere with the customer service, I send a letter to Dan Hesse (Sprints CEO).
That letter certainly did recieve attention from Sprint as I was called and emailed by two different teams from Dan’s offices. It was nice to know that there is a way to get noticed – but I didn’t exactly get the answer I was looking for. But I did get an answer.
Sprint has good reason for the $10 charge EVEN when you are not in a 4G area – but it would not be understood or go over well with the general population. They say “premium data services” and in a 4G city – I’m not guessing many people complain. But in a 4G VOID, a lot of people have complained – even didicated entire websites to the issue (http://www.noevofee.com/). BTW – Thanks goes to NoEVOFee.com for giving me the contact information I needed to raise attention at Sprint.
When you call Sprint – they will quickly tell you that the charge is NOT for 4G access but instead for the “rich user experience” provided by the Evo. Like me, you are thinking, “hmmmm…. that sounds like they are charging monthly for features provided by the hardware that I already paid for!” The short answer is, yes they are. But allow me to try to do a better job explaining why that actually does make sense.
The office of Dan Hesse was able to give me enough information to understand the charge – but only after a LOT of questions. If you will endulge me – I’ll explain what I understand the reason for the charge REALLY is using an analogy:
Imagine you are a utility company that delivers water. Your customers want an unlimited amount of water delivery for a single monthly fee. You have one inch pipes to deliver the water and a faucet with the turn style valve. Accordingly you price your unlimited option based in part on the maximum amount of water a one inch pipe can deliver in a month, but also considering the average amount of time your customer will spend drawling water using the turn style valve.
Now imagine you install a new three inch pipe for some clients and a brand new valve that is easier to use, easier to turn on, easier to leave running, and can handle the new three inch pipe. The customers with the three inch upgrades are very pleased and understand that you have to adjust the pricing plans accordingly. Those customers with the one inch pipe are able to purchase the new valve, but will still have the one inch pipe. In theory, they have the same access to the water as before – but because the valve is easier to use, even these customers are going to use the current pipes to consume more water than before. Do you charge those customers with the new valve more for better access to the water? How would you react if they were upset despite their new “rich user experience”? They may feel since they paid for the valve, they shouldn’t have to pay more for the additional water consumption…
Now – if I lost you in the analogy, then either I am a poor communicator or the title of this post is true. I’ll concede that my communication skills are weak – you are most likely brilliant. Personally – I’ve already seen an increase in my own data consumption…
*** Update: I was WRONG ***
I was completely off – the REAL reason seems to be the agreement Sprint has with Clearwire – for every 4G device Sprint has activated on their network, they are paying a fee to Clearwire. That’s right – a fee to Clearwire EVEN if the device is not in a 4G area. I was wrong.