Sprint’s New $20 ‘Unlimited’ Data Plan Throttles To 2G Speeds Once You Hit 1GB Of Usage

Sprint boss Marcelo Claure wants you to do cartwheels over a new unlimited data plan that costs just $20 per month. On the surface, that sounds pretty enticing, doesn't it? The problem here is that the term "unlimited" really means 1GB of high-speed data -- once you go over that low threshold, you can kiss your 4G LTE speed goodbye and say hello to the painfully slow lane.

After 1GB, Sprint's "Starter Unlimited Data Plan" bumps you down to 2G speeds until your next billing cycle. To add some perspective, Facebook on Wednesday implemented a thing called "2G Tuesdays" to give employees a taste of what it's like to use its app in an emerging market. The optional speed downgrade is supposed to serve as a humbling reminder of what the Internet experience is like for millions of users who don't have access to faster speeds.

Sprint Store

Sprint's new unlimited data plan with speed throttling has a different purpose.

"Our Starter Unlimited Data Plan is the most affordable data plan available at any national carrier," Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said. "Our customers no longer have to worry about being surprised by costly data charges. We offer our Starter Unlimited Data Plan with 1GB of high-speed data and then unlimited data at 2G speeds. At any time if they need more data, customers can easily add it to their plan."

Sprint Data Chart

Hey, we're all for protecting users from overage fees, but calling this plan "unlimited" feels, well, slimy. On top of that, the fee is for data only. Adding unlimited talk and text doubles the price to $40. As Sprint points out (see graphic above), it's indeed offering a better value than the competition, but it's the only one using the word "unlimited" in the name of the plan. Not cool, Sprint.

If you sign up for the plan and end up wanting to gouge your eyes out once you go past 1GB into 2G territory, you can add more high-speed data at $15 per gigabyte.