Parting is such sweet sorrow, and I remember how mixed my emotions were when I finally dumped my unlimited data plan on my personal wireless account and switched to one of AT&T’s mobile share plans. I had held onto my old plan for as long as I could in anticipation of the rise of data-hungry mobile services, but the cost benefit of switching and the knowledge that I was just going to be throttled anyway made it silly to hold on any longer.
While Verizon and AT&T built up huge smartphone customer bases in part by luring subscribers in with unlimited data and then practically forcing them onto capped plans, there are still two major U.S. carriers that offer limitless cellular data… for now.
While speaking at the Code Conference on Wednesday night, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure reiterated comments that former CEO Dan Hesse had made a few times in the past. In a nutshell, Sprint still uses unlimited data plans as one of its main advantages over rival carriers, but it will indeed stop offering unlimited data plans at some point.
Claure did clarify that unlimited data plans are working well for Sprint right now, but that doesn’t change the fact that Sprint will stop making them available at some point in the future.
T-Mobile is the only other nationwide wireless carrier that still offers unlimited data plans to new subscribers; AT&T and Verizon longer offer unlimited data, but subscribers who signed up for unlimited data back when the plans were offered are grandfathered in. At some point, however, T-Mobile will also likely have no choice but to bail on its unlimited data offerings.
Here’s a video of Claure discussing unlimited data at the Code Conference: