Sprint will offer a new pre-paid plan through Virgin Mobile called the Custom Plan, which allows users to pay $12 a month to use only Facebook or another social media app on their mobile device. It also includes several add ons that drive the price up quickly. The new plan appears to be a flagrant violation of the basic principle of Net neutrality, which holds that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.
Read our Net Neutrality Timeline to find out why this $12 plan is bad for the Internet.
The Custom Plan costs $6.98 a month for the first line, 20 texts, and 20 calls. Then, if you want unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pintrest, you’ll have to pay $5 more. Or, if you want all four, you’ll have to pay $15 more. The final cost of a plan with 20 texts, 20 calls, and unlimited access to Facebook is around $12. However, if you want access to all four social networks, the price nearly doubles to $22.
If you choose either of these plans, you won’t have access to any other apps that need Internet or any webpages. You won’t even be able to do a Google search. Not to mention the fact that the average person probably sends more than 20 texts in a single day and could easily use up 20 calls within a week or two. These two plans are aimed at those who do not use their smartphone except in emergencies or to browse through their Newsfeed.
Sprint also offers a $35 unlimited plan through Virgin Mobile, which only includes unlimited talk and text. Customers can choose to get just unlimited text for $10 a month or only unlimited voice for $18 a month. Once you’ve chosen between these options, you can tack on one social network or music streaming site for $5 more, all four social media sites for $15 more, or $20 for the four social media sites and one music streaming site.
Currently, Virgin Mobile offers a different unlimited plan for $35 a month, which has unlimited 4G LTE data and text, as well as 300 minutes. It’s unclear if this plan will still be available after the new Custom Plan debuts at Walmart on August 9.