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10 reasons why Sprint’s new Unlimited Guarantee isn’t quite the deal they think it is

Image used with permission by copyright holder

We have a quiz for you.

What do you fear more?

A. Death
B. Your wireless carrier canceling your unlimited data plan

If you answered ‘B,’ you’re going to soil your trousers when you hear about Sprint’s Unlimited Guarantee plans.

Assuming you don’t get disconnected by Sprint, leave Sprint, make payments on time, or change your plan between now and the moment of your ultimate demise, your smartphone’s unlimited data will be safe. Nobody’s going to take it away from you. You’ll get it each month for whatever price Sprint decides to charge you. (There’s no guarantee on price.)

For now, $80 a month (and the signage of a two-year contract) will guarantee that you’ll never lose your unlimited data, unlimited texts, and unlimited talk time. Ever. This is a decent price, unless you compare it to T-Mobile, which offers unlimited data for $70 a month, with an added 500MB of data that you can share with other devices by making your phone a hotspot. But, alas, T-Mobile isn’t offering you a guarantee that it won’t take that away some day. Then again, T-Mobile doesn’t require you to sign a two-year binding contract either. Sprint does.

There are some other important factors to consider if you’re going to sign up for Sprint’s lifetime guarantee, though. We recommend you think hard about these.

How long are you going to live, honestly? In Sprint’s FAQ, it specifically states that the Sprint Unlimited Guarantee is “non-transferable.” When you bite the big one, not even a statement in your will is going to let you give your unlimited data plan to your loved ones. You will take your Sprint contract to the grave.

No, really. You’re going to die: If you aren’t afraid of death yet, you will be. You will be. The average American is overweight and knocking on diabetes’ door. Our atmosphere is filling up with toxic greenhouse gasses, and the sea is about to swallow all our costal cities. Is it wise to invest in a long-term wireless plan? Of course, you don’t want to incur data overages as you try to navigate the seas in the hellish, Waterworld future that awaits us. Kevin Costner would have loved to have a Sprint Guarantee.

Sprint may not get its LTE network running before you die: Even if you live 50-80 more years, based on Sprint’s current delays, there is a strong chance that carrier may not get its high-speed LTE network launched in the span of a normal man’s life (or a woman’s, which is 7 years longer). Seriously. T-Mobile is already ahead and it began integrating LTE a year after Sprint. Be prepared for long load times in the future.

Sprint may die before you: Sprint’s future is looking better now that a Japanese company called SoftBank is purchasing it, but its financials have been rocky since it bought Nextel in 2005. It will be hard for Sprint to honor its contract with you if it dies first.

Smartphones may die before you, too: Let’s face it. Assuming you do live to a ripe old age, no one is going to use a smartphone in 50-80 years. We’ll probably all wear Google Glass-type junk in 5-10 years. And if Cylons don’t destroy us all, everyone will have wireless chips embedded directly into their cerebellum by 2050. It might look something like this, just a lot smaller. Do you really want to be the only guy in your hovering neighborhood using an old holdable phone? Why grip something in your weak, fleshy hands (there’s little need to move in the future) when you can channel the Internet directly into your brain?

Carrier’s aren’t canceling grandfathered unlimited data: With the exception of Verizon, which wants you to upgrade to a limited data plan if you buy a subsidized phone, every U.S. carrier honors the idea of “grandfathering.” If you have an unlimited data plan (or most any plan) now, you can keep that plan as long as you continue renewing your contract. Carriers definitely want you to switch to whatever new moneymaking plan they come up with, but so far, you haven’t been forced to do so. And if one carrier is screwing you over, you can always leave it for another.

No one is going to talk in the future: We hardly talk to each other these days. We just stare at our smartphones – texting and playing with apps when we should be having dinner conversation. In 50-80 years, we won’t talk at all. Technology will be so advanced that we’ll probably just stand in a row staring at the wall. Maybe our enhanced Retina-eyes will show us everything in Ultra 16K HD 4D. Every gadget have mind control – no talking required.

In the future, data won’t be scarce: It may take a while, but data prices are going to go down, not up. In Sprint’s current plan, you have to pay $30 for unlimited data and $50 for unlimited talking and texting. In 10 years, you probably won’t need a texting plan at all anymore. Data is going to be much faster and more plentiful.

Wait for a time machine: Why do now what you can put off until tomorrow? In the future, someone will definitely invent the time machine. When they do, and it’s affordable enough to buy one in your own home, you can easily go back and buy yourself whatever unlimited data plan you want. Get some Crystal Pepsi while you’re at it.

Sprint’s profits would hinge on your death: Wireless carriers are some of the worst corporations around. They love overcharging us, confusing us, and finding new ways to screw everyone over. With a lifetime, Unlimited Guarantee, Sprint is making a gamble of desperation. It needs your business now (it’s in danger of losing 3rd place to T-Mobile) so it’s promising not to screw you over later. Give it a few years, and several consecutive quarters of profit and Sprint is going to want more. You won’t be making it money anymore. Maybe you’ll be using more data than you’re worth. You don’t want a wireless carrier hoping you’ll die so your loved ones have to switch to new plan with a mandatory $70 embeddable Retina eye gadget add-on.

You’re never going to die! We’re just kidding: We didn’t mean to get you all upset. You’re not going to die; you’re gonna live forever. We’ll take that to the grave.

Jokes aside, what Sprint’s trying to do is somewhat admirable, but it’s prices are still high. It costs $110 for an unlimited talk, text, and data line on Sprint with 5GB of tethering. If you’re a data junkie, that may be a deal, but wise use of Wi-Fi connections at home and in the office can save you a lot on data bills. If you’re smart about it, you don’t really need unlimited data in the first place. If you’re a Sprint customer right now, this isn’t terrible, but if you’re not, we recommend you shop around. This is a lifetime guarantee, but we’re not so sure we want to sign up for a lifetime of moderately expensive Sprint service.

Jeffrey Van Camp
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Deputy Editor, Jeff helps oversee editorial operations at Digital Trends. Previously, he ran the site's…
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