Sprint is taking aim at laptop customers who use excessive amounts of data while roaming by asking customers to accept a metered option for overage charges or risk having their service cut off until the next billing cycle.
Sprint’s mobile broadband plans for USB dongles and 3G/4G-enabled laptops already include a 300 MB off-network data limit and a total 3G data limit of 5 GB. Beginning in July, Sprint will ask customers close to exceeding those limits to sign up for metered overage charges of 5 cents per MB on Sprint’s network or 25 cents per MB off Sprint’s network.
Customers who don’t agree to the overage charges and who exceed the data caps “are subject to having their mobile broadband service suspended until the beginning of the next bill cycle,” said a company spokeswoman. Customers will be notified by text message or e-mail when they reach 75 percent and 90 percent of the 300 MB data roaming and 5 GB total data usage limit.
The limits do not apply to Sprint’s smartphone customers and a company spokesman said last week that Sprint had “no plans to change our pricing plans at this time.”
The change for Sprint’s laptop customers comes in the wake of AT&T’s decision to implement data caps for its new smartphone customers. The carrier is cutting its unlimited plan for new customers in favor of cheaper plans with a limit on how much data subscribers can consume.