Sprint is now offering a data plan called Unlimited Freedom Premium for customers willing to watch videos, listen to music, and stream games in higher resolution on their mobile devices, the carrier announced Friday in a press release. The new plan is also for wireless users who want to stream movies and games on their HD TV. Sprint customers who would like to have access to this program will have to pay $80 for a single line for the HD video access and $140 for two lines.
The carrier apparently noticed that users did not have enough with the original Unlimited Freedom Plan, which lacks the option for special data plans. The new plan is not unlimited either, but it allows unlimited streaming at 1080p as opposed to the original plan which limited users to low-res 480p video streams. Unlimited Freedom Premium also offers music quality streaming for 500 Kbps to 1.5Mbps, as well as gaming from 2Mbps up to 8 Mbps.
Loyal customers of Sprint can take it for a test drive and experience the new service before making the decision of paying the extra $20.
Users are also offered unlimited calls and texts, as well as data-dependent tasks such as multiplayer gaming, unlimited music streaming, and file transfers.
Sprint’s move follows T-Mobile’s launch of T-Mobile One
T-Mobile recently launched a plan that includes unlimited calls and texts, and data for $70 a month. Even though it is a cheaper plan, it is not likely to be able to compete with Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom Premium given that T-Mobile One only offers video bandwidth for lower-quality video (480p). However, T-Mobile offers 1080p streaming for customers who pay extra $15 per month.
It is important to note that T-Mobile One no longer has overage charges, which means that once users exceed their limit of free data, the network will dial back their data speed to 3G or slower for the rest of the month. The company said that it had no plans to have data caps on its One Plan at least before September 6, 2016.
As for Verizon, customers have to slow down their data by themselves if they want to avoid overages when they are about to exceed their data limit. They can turn Safety Mode on by flipping in the My Verizon app and putting all the devices on their account on a slower 128kbps. But only subscribers on the XL or XXL plan have access to this feature. Others have the option to pay $15 for a Data Boost of 1GB 4G LTE data before going over the limit.
For its part, AT&T offers an unlimited tier to subscribers of its DirecTV and U-Verse internet plans. Those customers start with paying $150 a month. But that is something compared to Verizon, which does not offer unlimited data to any of its clients.
What’s the best U.S. carrier?
Rootmetrics’ survey findings came out on Tuesday and Verizon appeared to be still delivering the best overall service, as Fortune reported earlier this week. Verizon ranked best overall and was the first among five national categories which included network speed, data performance, and system reliability.
Sprint ranked second in calling and third in texting. As for T-Mobile, it was third in most categories involving data performance. And AT&T came in second in the rankings which included performance measured in the first half of the year, according to Fortune. RootMetrics reported that Sprint and T-Mobile are successfully closing the gap between the two larger carriers.
However, all four major carriers in the country are always improving and expanding their networks, which means that the surveys’ findings do not apply for a considerably extended period. Moreover, consumers’ needs also continue to evolve.
“We’ve made significant progress,” a Sprint spokesman said, according to Fortune.
A significant number of differences in rankings are a result of actual differences in quality that are “indiscernible to the customer and not worth paying twice as much for.”