Sprint getting iPhone 5 in October, offering unlimited data plan [Updated]

Bloomberg is backing up the Wall Street Journal's story about Sprint getting iPhone 5 this October, but adds that Sprint will be offering an unlimited data plan to go with it.

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) will offer Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone next month with unlimited data service plans to distinguish itself from rivals AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless, according to people familiar with the matter.

Both AT&T and Verizon offered unlimited data plans for iPhone at launch, but have since switched to tiered pricing (though some users remain "grandfathered in" to the older, unlimited plans). Whether Sprint means to keep offering unlimited data going forward, or like Verizon will use the appeal of unlimited data as way to encourage adoption before switching to tiers is unknown.

Being #3 and being so late to the iPhone game comes with some advantages -- to customers. Were you contemplating making the switch, and does unlimited EVDO rev-A data on Sprint entice you?

UPDATE: SprintFeed let us know they've discovered an internal memo blacking out holidays between September 30 and October 15, with fits right into the launch window TiPb previously heard about.

[Bloomberg, SprintFeed]

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

118 Comments
  • Who in the right mind would switch to Sprint ? Even Unlimited data plan wont convince people to go to a crappy company like Sprint .
  • Crappy company like sprint??? For me the signal is always great ever where I go in the US AND true unlimited data plans with no restrictions whatsoever makes sprint the best choice for any iPhone user, how is that crappy???
    And by the way, customer service has greatly improved.
  • My interactions with customer service on Sprint have always been surperior to any of the other cell phone providers. They have made dramatic improvements over the past few years.
  • The Unlimited plan will just be something introductury and then will eventually go away.
    As far sprint and their service goes, they have always sucked in my area. As I welcome more carriers to provide the best phone on the market to consumers, I dont see many current iPhone users SWITCHING from AT&T/Verizon to Sprint just to get unlimited plans.
  • Data plans no... but to save money from the overpriced power houses yes. Hence the reason I have been a Sprint customer for almost 11 years.
  • you do know everyone does not live right near you right?
    many people have good signals with sprint. If you live in San Francisco its an extremely often expressed complaint that AT&T service sucks. and many people would rather not pay high AT&T Verizon prices. The idea that just cause you won't switch nobody else will is laughably naive.
  • No way ! lol I thought everyone lived here !
  • Maybe but just because ATT and Verizon did it does not mean Sprint will do the same. Truth is NO one knows just yet.
    So Sprint sucks in your area. Does not mean it sucks elsewhere. Also many would want to go unlimited if they are not already.
  • Wrong, it is NOT introductory as Sprint has the largest spectrum holdings of ALL carriers and would not suffer any data like AT&T and Verizon. Huge fail!
  • I like Sprint, but Sprint's 3G network is not superman. ATT network is horrible in a lot of places, sure, and iPhone users blame themselves for that. It's a pitty ATT has misdirected the truth: Their network is just not very good and was never made to be as large as it is.
    Verizon, on the other hand, still maintains -- for the most part -- good signal coverage and not only has the iPhone 4 but many, many Android choices, where all the customers of these devices constantly use data. But even they had to get rid of unlimited data. Why? Because last time I check, Verizon has over 90 million customers, and Sprint has about 50 million, give or take a few million.
    Many of Sprint's power house phones -- the HTC EVO 3D, Moto Photon 4G, Epic 2 Touch, HTV EVO 4G are all 4G phones and thus in a lot of areas lift the burden off the 3G and onto the better WiMAX network. However, with the iPhone 5 and possibly iPhone 4S, you will have new customers switching, and using a phone that relies on 3G data and not your 4G. Unless they are pulling a fast one and somehow get a WiMAX iPhone, which is almost laughable to even think (I doubt Apple will waste the resources). So add another 10 or 20 million customers, all using 3G data like crazy, and see what happens. Even Dan Hesse said the unlimited data might end if people start using data more. The reason they give unlimited is because they believe -- and their research proves -- that people usually don't use as much data as they think. Some do, sure, but it's sustainable, especially considering they don't have 90 million customers like ATT does.
  • Dont worry, you'll become a Sprint fanboy as soon as they announce there nationwide LTE coverage plan on Oct 7th with satellite coverage in non-terrestrial areas, coverage everwhere with faster LTE speeds than verizon.
  • I do see manyh iPhone users switching. Just go to Macrumors and many iPhone users WANT unlimited data. And yes, some area's Sprint does not cover well. But then again, what area does ATT cover well? OK that was a joke. Sprint has a large, but not the largest, coverage map. However, do the research, Sprint has the more dependable network. It works where it should, more then others. Verizon is literally right behind, however Verizon also has slow 3G speeds. Worse in some areas then others because Verizon doesn't upgrade all of it's towers, generally spends money on.
    And just to prove to you every network has horror stories, read this http://www.bgr.com/2011/03/16/why-i-switched-back-to-an-att-iphone/. It's actually a GOOD thing for ATT, bad for Verizon -- said to be the best network in town.
    So yes, every carrier is going to differ depending on where you live. Big deal. It's where I live, it's good in a lot of areas. And it's probably going to have the iPhone soon.
  • Well, maybe you haven't seen anyone switching is because Sprint doesn't HAVE the iPhone yet. Love Sprint. Had it for years. No problems and I live in the boonies. No way am I switching to AT&T or Verizon or any other provider for that matter.
  • it has greatly improve ive been a customer for 6yrs and they get better every year, and I second your comment.
  • I hated Sprint when I had them. I didn't think anyone could be worse than AT&T but I was wrong. I would be in full digital range and I would have STATIC on my calls or calls would simply drop constantly. I have a mobile modem through Sprint and that works great but my phone would never reflect the same signal. They offered no explanation or help either and there is a tower like 2 miles from where I work. Also I like how their ad says they don't throttle data, if I have a data heavy day it sure seems like it gets slower at night to me.
  • "STATIC" on a cell phone would be a phone issue, not a service provider issue. Data speeds on cell towers from all providers will slow down during times of peak usage, such as when people are home from work, school, weekends. More people on the towers = peak usage.
  • GSM will have static on calls, it works different than CDMA. Just part of the advantage and disadvantages of the two technologies
  • Sprint does have restrictions to their "unlimited" plan listed in their fine print. One of them is that if you use more than 300mb of data in an extended network area they can throttle you or even cut you off completely.
  • Really? care to show that or are you just a pissed off custmorer who never paid their bill?
  • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=sprint+unlimited+fine+print&l=1
    Or you could go to their own advert url and read it yourself under "Voice/Data Usage Limitations": http://unlimited.sprint.com/
    Seriously, stop acting like a fanboy and do the 5 seconds of research it takes to not look like jerk by trying to attack the person rather than the point.
  • bro i used over 1 million mb in a road trip when i had my laptop tethered to my phone. never saw any change in data speeds or was never "cut off completely". i wish people would get their facts straight before they write nonsense such as this....
  • Agreed....I hate most forums because it is usually a lot of mindless dribble with people expressing their bogus opinions with absolutely no substance to back it up.
  • bro it says that they can change, modify, or terminate voice/data service if they use more than 800 minutes of voice on off network tower or over 300 mb of data in one month. It also says that as advertised this will NOT result in throttling (limiting data throughput speeds). like you said read it for your self....
  • right but thats not a big deal. Its only for roaming data, all carriers have a different set of rules when it comes to roaming data
  • Please realize, that 300MB limit refers to when you are using data while ROAMING! Sprint has 100% free roaming for calls and the first 300MB or data
    Please show me another carrier that even allows any data to be used while roaming and not incur any charges at all
  • I'm a happy customer of Sprint why?
    In my local area their reception is on par with AT&T and Verizon. They are much less expensive in cost, the unlimited unlimited is just $99.
    They have a repair facility near me that actually fixes phones rather than serves as a order depot, so my broken phone can get fixed same day, not being down 2 days waiting for FedEx.
    Customer service is no better at Verizon or AT&T, I guess some people just like to pay more for limited plans.
    I'm really excited by the opportunity for the iPhone on Sprint. I've never felt the iPhone was worth paying potentially 50% more monthly to have over the likes of an Evo and now I won't have to come next month.
  • your obviously not really looking for quality service... you love getting jerked around.
  • Crappy company? Are you sure you didn't misspell AT&T?
  • I've been with Sprint for 10 years.. and switched to AT&T for exactly 7 months to get the Iphone. AT&T was sooo bad I had to switch back so "crappy" is a relative word. I have tons of friends on AT&T and they drop more calls than anyone I know. I think it just depends on the area in which you live.
  • Are you talking from experience? I haven't had any trouble out of Sprint's service, other then slow speeds (and honestly, my wife doesn't have that problem, for some reason my 3G speeds on my HTC arrive is slower then thew Photon's 3G speeds and no, I don't live in a WiMAX area. Although I wish I did). And when I say slow, I don't mean slow where I can't use the phone. I mean it's not faster then my Comcast, but closer to my parents DSL speeds. Which is fine with me. As long as I get my calls and they don't drop. Oh, wait, that doesn't happen every day like it does on ATT.
  • Just curious, but does this $99.99 Sprint plan include unlimited voice, data AND text as well?
  • yes, it is a great deal!
  • Yup, with great voice coverage, great pricing, and great support. The data coverage is great, but the speeds can be lacking sometimes. This should start to go away with the Network Vision project (which includes 1xRTT Advanced as well as EVDO Rev. B with DO Advanced technology and a probable LTE/LTE+ rollout).
  • Idle how many calls you make to landlines but the best plan is: 450 (land line) minutes, unlimited to ANY cellphone, unlimited data & text= $69.99+$10 for smartphone= $79.99....
  • Yes, and also don't forget telenav navigation, att and verizon also charge extra for that. Sprint is hands down the best bang for the buck, and I have never had any reception issues, or dropped calls in the 10 years I've had them.
  • Google maps is free. :o)
    I'm on Verizon. Telenav is so overrated I use to be with Sprint.It would tell you to turn left(nothing there)and there was only woods. :(
  • Pretty sure Sprint has improved Telenav since you used it...it has always gotten me to where I need to go including giving me the lowest gas prices in the area I'm driving through and traffic updates.
  • yes
  • i get 500 talk and unlimited data, unlimited text for $55 per month. I don't get close to exceeding any of those.
  • YES YES YES not top mention you dont need the 99 plan. You can do the 69 plan cuz sprint only charges minutes before 7pm to land lines and roaming. They have free any mobile to any mobile. I had the 99 plan and they called me and said they are dropping my plan cuz I dont need it. I was like wow I never had a carrier tell me I am paying too much. I average 3500 min (no land line) and spend about 90 of my 450 minutes a month. Hope that answers your question ROB
  • yep forgot to mention unlimited to ANY MOBILE ON ANY NETWORK, free nights and weekends. And i barely call landlines anymore anyways.
    they offered a promo plan that was ten bucks less then i was paying and i just called them and asked for it and they said yes. intant ten buck discount. Same thing with more minutes because my plan was 450 minutes. They just gave me 50 extra.
    not only that i used to have sprint and quit due to bad customer service and bad reception. came back for the pre. Pre sucks but customer service and reception has been ok. And bad reception in some places i'm blaming on my pre. My mom a transform and my brother had an evo and when i was in atlanta i held them up side by side and while my pre got no reception my the transform and evo had full bars. so i'm not scared of bad reception.
  • Yep. if you don't call landlines much I'd just get the $69 plan with the 450 minutes. You get unlimted mobile to mobile but 450 landline mins.
  • yes it does.
  • I had Sprint for years and then again when I had Helio (they used Sprint's towers) and they were head and shoulders above AT&T in my area. I'd go back after my contract is up.
  • My first Sprint phone was an old Nokia that you could only play worm on... I have been with Sprint since 1999.. In between I have tried both Att and Verizon and honestly and personally I think Sprint has been by far the best customer service. And now they have the phones to back it up, yes the fact that the speeds on LTE are so much faster suck... but all that really means to me is that you can drain your limited data faster. I am hoping one day that we will be able to use cell phone companies as a means to use fast at home internet.. This can only happen with unlimited data and I am hoping that sprint paves the way for this. If Sprint keeps unlimited data WHEN they change to LTE (and maybe even advance LTE- true 4G) the other companies will be forced to do the same. This is how competition works. Look at Apple and how much money they lost by sticking with att for so long alone. That was what gave android the oppurtunity to grow like they did... Anyways I have high hopes for Sprint in the future, so we will see what happens.
  • This is the main reason I kept my Sprint account active when I switched to AT&T for the iPhone. Unlimited is just that, unlimited.
  • Not surprising at all. My mom is waiting on the Tmobile iPhone to upgrade from here BB.
  • your out of your mine at&t drops calls and you know this. my brother has an iphone on at&t an says it drops calls consistently...Sprint dropping calls so not true
  • ATT does get dropped calls, however Sprint lacks signal in so many places that I'd rather keep my ATT phone dropping calls than be unreachable in my basement or the bakery, or the restaurant or the... you get the point.
    I used Sprint for three years before switching to ATT.
  • I'm 100% behind this. I may even pay the ETF to get out of AT&T. #BelieveThat
  • All my sprint friends with androids are about to get iPhones.
  • I'd like to see an iOS feature or app that shows which carrier has the strongest signal. A GSM/CDMA hybrid iPhone might be able to do that.
    The next (huge) step would be automatic switching to which ever carrier happens to be strongest. The carriers would absolutely hate that, because they would finally be treated like the dumb pipes they are.
  • Won't happen. Signal strengh depends on where you are.
  • I don't understand some of you. The bashing of Sprint is just ridiculous. Not everyone has the same experiences with carriers, hence the reason why we have more than one. Personally, I have had Sprint for 7 years now, and I have no complaints. My phone is just as fast with data as people I know with AT&T and Verizon, and I pay far less money than they do. But that's not the case for everyone, so be it. So why can't we just grown up and stop bashing people for having their CHOICE with their carriers!
  • let's not be delusional here, if u go to the sprint community forums u will see tons of complaints about slow speeds.
  • and not just slow speeds.Former Sprint customer here.I pay less with VZW than with Sprint.
  • There is no way that you pay less with Verizon and get the same amount of options as you do with Sprint. I have been a call supervisor with Verizon for 3 years and have a pretty vast knowledge of our plans. lol Take your BS elsewhere.
  • You're actually the one talking BS. I love Sprint and won't plan on switching for Verizon anytime soon. Nights and Weekends that start at 7; fast internet speeds; welcoming and helpful customer service; any mobile, any network, anytime minutes; and unlimited data. Yeah, I checked into it and it is MUCH cheaper than any options I was offered at Verizon.
  • @Crazylune
    When people are saying they are paying less, assume they are paying $69/voice + $30/data (unlimited if you got lucky), in my case only pay $24 for data. I don't pay for text, why?? there are plenty of text app, including but not limited to google voice. My monthly bills +taxes comes to around $74.......... P.S. don't have unlimited voice, don't need it.........but there is an app for that, too.
  • I had VZW for just one week, which I had TBOLT, the only different I seen was the price.
  • Sure, ATT might have faster speeds, but at least I have data where I should. Oh, and the fact I don't know how a dropped call feels. I am sure ATT loyalists know exactly how a dropped call feels.
  • Thats because some people arent happy unless they are complaining. Never had a problem with sprint and I live in BFE South Dakota....
  • Agreed totally! I have been with sprint for 10 years in October and have nothing but good to say. They have always been right there when I have had an issue. I have the evo now, but I think I will give the iphone5 a try, only because it will be with Sprint!!
  • I get better network performance in Atlanta out of Sprint than I ever did out of AT&T. I don't particularly care if the iPhone 5 works with WiMax or not. Right now, I'm paying a "premium data fee" for WiMax that is spotty at best. I can get it to connect at work but not at home and in various places across town, there is no WiMax. I don't care about LTE or 4G right now. All I need is a reliable phone that does exactly what I need it to do without me having to tinker with it. I tinker with computers all day at work. I don't want to tinker with my phone. I just need it to work. Bring it Sprint. Android on the HTC EVO after the Gingerbread Update has been unreliable at best.
  • One day, I signed up with Sprint online. Only minutes after completing the online agreement, I got cold feet and clicked Cancel. Months later, Sprint came after me for the phone and service that I never used. They began billing me as if I was using the service, and 6 months of payments were backed up by the time I was notified. My credit was laced with non-payments, and I had collectors begin harrasing me for bills that I never accrued. I spoke to Sprint and told them that I backed out, and all the rep had to say was that I agreed to the contract and therefore had to pay for 6 months of service even though my phone was never even taken out of the box. I vowed to never again even enter a Sprint store or purchase from them.
    That was 10 years ago. After that fiasco, I spent the next decade bouncing between carriers, and finding out that Big Red is probably the worst of them. I have since forgiven Sprint, and have had my HTC Evo since it came out last summer. I haven't had a single problem with Sprint since I came back, and I plan on getting the Iphone 6 when it comes out next year. At this point in my life, I'm glad I came back to Sprint, and I couldn't imagine being with any other carrier.