I spent several hours reading over the HTC EVO reviews, speculations, rumors, and forums – just like some of you guys did. Â Then I heard about theÂ mandatoryÂ $10 upcharge for “premium data services”. Â I read that and thought 4G – which I don’t have because I’m in the Phoenix area. Â So I called Sprint to ask why its mandatory and what I will personallyÂ receiveÂ for the additional charge. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â They say “premium data services” and in a 4G city – I’m not guessing many people complain. Â But in a 4G VOID, a lot of people have complained – even didicated entire websites to the issue (http://www.noevofee.com/). Â 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 userÂ experience” provided by the Evo. Â Like me, you are thinking, “hmmmm…. that sounds like they are charging monthly for features provided by the hardware that I already paid for!” Â The short answer is, yes they are. Â 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. Â If you will endulge me – I’ll explain what I understand the reason for the charge REALLY is using anÂ analogy:
Imagine you are a utility company that delivers water. Â Your customers want an unlimited amount of water delivery for a single monthly fee. Â You have one inch pipes to deliver the water and a faucet with the turn style valve. Â 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. Â The customers with the three inch upgrades are very pleased and understand that you have to adjust the pricing plans accordingly. Â Those customers with the one inch pipe are able to purchase the new valve, but will still have the one inch pipe. Â 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. Â Do you charge those customers with the new valve more for better access to the water? Â How would you react if they were upset despite their new “rich userÂ experience”? Â 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 theÂ analogy, then either I am a poor communicator or the title of this post is true. Â I’ll concede that my communication skills are weak – you are most likelyÂ brilliant. Â 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.