Sprint's $20 tethering plan aimed at new users

The bad news is that Sprint Nextel shuttered its $30, 5GB tethering plan. The good news is that it introduced a 2GB plan that only costs $20, a price point that might introduce entry-level users to the art of data-only device tethering. The company also unveiled a new 6GB tethering plan that will cost users $50.

Though the $30 plan is grandfathered for existing users, Sprint is obviously hoping to attract new tethering customers to its lower-priced hotspot plan while getting higher-volume customers to pay more each month their tethering activities. Both new plans charge higher per-GB rates than the old plan.

The hotspot offer allows users to connect to Sprint's 3G network nationwide as well as its WiMAX network where available and if a user has a compatible device. Promotional notes on the operator's website remind users that "coming soon" it will also offer LTE connectivity.

One particularly helpful feature being introduced by Sprint is data-usage monitoring when a user has consumed 75, 90 and 100 percent of a hotspot plan's data bucket. At 100 percent of usage, the operator will give users the option to suspend on-network hotspot usage or pay the overage charge of $0.05 per megabyte to continue exceeding the monthly data allowance.

The company also reminds customers that when they share their hotspot connection, all connected devices are sucking up data from the data allowance in the mobile hotspot add-on plan. That means data usage by a tethered handset will subtract from the mobile hotspot plan's available GB bucket. "Turn off the Mobile Hotspot add-on when not connected to other devices, to help ensure that MHS data usage does not affect calls, texts, phone or tablet plan data usage on the Sprint network," warns Sprint on its community blog.

While untethered, devices on many of Sprint's phone plans continue to have unlimited data service while a user is on the Sprint network. "On-network data generated on the phone remains unlimited on Sprint's Everything plans that include data when [mobile hotspot] functionality is disabled," said Sprint.

For more:
- see this Sprint blog post
- see this Phandroid article
- see this GigaOM article

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