Sprint is poised to raise its monthly data charge for smartphones by $10, charging new and upgrading subscribers the same “premium data” fee first introduced for WiMax devices like the the EVO 4G and Epic 4G. The new pricing scheme will take effect January 30th and will encompass both new smartphone purchases as well as upgrades on existing lines; in other words, if you want to maintain your current rate, you’ll need to forgo purchasing new hardware through traditional channels. Come February 1st, the unlimited talk/text/data plan on Sprint will cost the same $100 as on T-Mobile, while Verizon charges $120 for the same bundle of services. AT&T no longer offers unlimited data, although its unlimited talk/text/2GB data plan goes for $115-per-month.
Sprint justifies the rate increase as a way to let the company continue “offering simple and affordable unlimited plans for its customers while maintaining a wireless network able to meet the growing appetite for a richer mobile experience.”