Sprint's Definition of "Unlimited" Jibes with Merriam-Webster

Paul Lilly

Merriam-Webster defines "unlimited" as "boundless, infinite" and "not bounded by exceptions." Simple enough, right? It was, at least until wireless carriers got hold of the term and began using it haphazardly. Enter Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, who's apparently as fed up as we are with companies touting unlimited plans that aren't truly unlimited.

"The other day, I looked up the word unlimited in the dictionary. Nowhere in the definition did I see words like metering, overage, or throttling, which is code for slowing you down. Only Sprint gives you true unlimited calling, texting, surfing, TV, and navigation on all phones," Hesse said in a new TV ad.

According to Bill Morgan, Sprint's senior VP of Corporate Marketing, wireless companies "continually attempt to create confusion in the mind of the consumer by talking about 'unlimited' plans that are not truly unlimited on their networks." He's referring to the strings attached to most unlimited plans. AT&T, for example, offers an unlimited calling and texting plan, but limits data usage to 2GB. Both Verizon and T-Mobile advertise unlimited data plans, but the former throttles usage for the top 5 percent of users, while the latter throttles after 5GB of use.

What Sprint's doing here is going on record as saying, 'Hey, we're not doing any of those things and we never will,' just not in so many words. It's an interesting move from the last of the major wireless carriers to still tout an unlimited plan that's exactly that (at least while you're on Sprint's network).

What do you think about Sprint's message? Is Sprint being fair or is it overstating the limitations of the competitions' unlimited plans?

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