While news of the HTC 7 Pro heading to Sprint has gotten Windows Phone users excited, this next bit of news may be more of a bitter pill to take. Sprint has announced that effective January 30, 2011 they will begin charging a $10 per month Premium Data add-on charge to customers with smartphones.
Sprint is defining smartphones as,
"...devices with robust operating systems that deliver a rich wireless experience by bringing the full function of mobile applications and programs to life, including Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile, Palm, and the Instinct family of devices."
Bob Johnson, Sprint's President of Consumer Business, explains/justifies the reasoning behind the $10 fee by saying,
“Sprint wants its customers to experience the range of entertainment and productivity possibilities available with today’s wireless technology. While some of our competitors impose overage charges and complex plans, Sprint continues to provide a worry-free, unlimited data experience while on the Sprint network. This is responsible, sustainable and reflects our commitment to simplicity and value.”
Sprint contends that smartphone users consume, on average, ten times more data than users of traditional feature phones. Increased consumption means it becomes more costly for Sprint to maintain the same level of service. But is it better to charge a Premium Data fee and continue unlimited data or put a cap on the unlimited packages and charge slightly less?
The good news in all this mess is that Sprint will not impose this fee on existing smartphone customers unless they upgrade to or activate another smartphone. Still, the news of the $10 fee does put a damper on the excitement the 7 Pro was stirring up.
You can read the full press release from Sprint following the break.