Could 4G Success Force Sprint To Ditch Its Unlimited Data Plans?

Brad Chacos

If you’ve watched any television over the holiday weekend, you probably saw one of Sprint’s iPhone commercials, which claims that the company “doesn’t limit the iPhone” thanks to its unlimited, unthrottled data plans – something no other major mobile carrier provides. It’s been a big marketing ploy for the company for a while now, but a new report suggests that limited airwave space may force Sprint to yank its unrestricted plans off the table sometime soon.

Sprint is finally switching over to LTE (rather than WiMAX), but Reuters reports that the company has allotted just 10 MHz of its useable spectrum to the 4G network – half the amount Verizon and AT&T have earmarked. A Sprint executive told the publication that the company has no plans of ditching the buffet-style plans, but one analyst said they might not have a choice. Ironically, Sprint’s success could be the problem.

"The risk is, if you don't have headroom as your LTE subscriber base grows, then the speeds will go down,” Tolaga Research analyst Phil Marshall told Reuters. "Unlimited is going to kill them. I think they're going to have to back off from the all-you-can-eat plan."

Sprint counters that the 10 MHz being allotted is currently unused, and the company is in talks with Clearwire to tap into that provider's LTE network, too. What do you think: is Sprint’s unlimited plan here to stay, or will the company be forced to kick it to the curb the way the other mobile carriers have?

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