Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse said at an investor conference this morning that the company has not ruled out moving away from unlimited data plans in favor of tiered pricing.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia XIX Conference, Hesse said Sprint was keeping an eye on skyrocketing data use to determine whether the company should move toward tiered plans of the sort recently implemented by AT&T.
“We watch this very closely, we’re looking at what does make sense,” Hesse said. “I’m clearly not ruling out going to metered.”
Hesse maintained that Sprint had no immediate plans to move to tiered pricing and said subscribers who signed up for the company’s unlimited data plans were willing to “pay a premium for simplicity.”
“Right now our plan is not to go to metered, but as Dan Quayle would say, that could change,” Hesse said.
Sprint charges $10 more for service on its Samsung Epic and HTC EVO because the 4G devices consume more data than the 3G devices in Sprint’s portfolio, but the company has stuck to unlimited plans for its 4G data service.
Hesse’s comments may mark a greater willingness to consider tiered pricing as the industry grapples with skyrocketing data use. Sprint’s all-you-can eat plans have helped attract subscribers, but Hesse admitted the company had lost money on some high-use customers.
Sprint has not released information on the average data usage of its subscribers, but its 4G service runs on Clearwire’s network and the two companies offer similar plans for mobile broadband service. The average Clearwire subscriber consumes more than 7 GB of data per month.