Sprint EVO: Finally, Pricing & Launch Details

Sprint held a second EVO launch event yesterday, where the Android superphone‘s launch date and pricing details were finally revealed.

The first 3G/4G handset hardware lands at a competitive $200 June 4th and the base monthly service package will run $80 a month. Which is $10 more than every other Sprint smartphone… despite CEO Dan Hesse’s CTIA keynote proclamation“With 4G, we’re giving you more for free.” Sprint’s positioning the $10 surcharge as a Premium Data Charge, rather than a 4G tariff. And they really have to given Clear’s limited (but expanding) 4G footprint. However, “unlimited” data, 3G or 4G, truly means unlimited with the EVO. In the bigger picture, and for most, Sprint’s service plans are still more economical than the competition. That $80 also nets you unlimited texts, unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling (any network), on top of 450 minutes of calls to domestic landlines.

Unfortunately, the much touted EVO wireless tethering is a $30/mo add-on. Sprint’s positioning this is an economical alternative to an aircard ($60/mo), but it’s more than I’d like to pay for an infrequent, “emergency situation” laptop link. I’d rather have the traditional 5GB data cap and connect/utilize the handset any way I please. A wireless carrier shouldn’t get to dictate my software or hardware choices. But this is the “network non-neutrality” marketplace we operate in. Fortunately, there are alternative methods of tethering available – that do not involve the carrier. (Unless you get their attention with obscene data usage.)

As for me, I’m still torn. Neither the pricing not timing are deal breakers. But I was set on a well-documented and slimmer Sprint Nexus One. Whereas, the EVO may be too large for its own good (or my pocket) and we’ve yet to learn real-world battery performance or of any first generation technical issues related to 3G/4G switching. Verizon coverage at the office isn’t as good as Sprint’s, but it’s still better than the AT&T blackhole while the Incredible will meet my needs. Plus, I’ve just learned that VZW offers a 1 year contract – which would free me of their supersized (though mostly understandable) $350 early termination free. Either way, I’ll shortly be leaving AT&T and Apple behind… as coverage, cloud, and open trump the iPhone OS polish.

21 thoughts on “Sprint EVO: Finally, Pricing & Launch Details”

  1. According to the EVO email I got from Sprint yesterday, the internet access is not unlimited:

    Voice/Data Usage Limitation: Sprint reserves the right, without notice, to deny, terminate, modify, disconnect or suspend service if off-network usage in a month exceeds: (1) voice: 800 minutes or a majority of minutes; or (2) data: 300 megabytes or a majority of kilobytes.

  2. I’m in a non 4G area so the extra $10 is really hard to swallow. If by chance the rumors are true and I get 4G this year, then maybe I’ll give my wife my Palm Pre and get an EVO.

    The size and weight do worry me though, as I’ve never had an iPhone, the largest phone I’ve had is an HTC Mogul.

    The other thing that would get me is no physical keyboard. I’ve always had one, from my Treo to the Mogul to the Pre. I would really have to utilize that first 30 days to see if I could acclimate.

  3. @Brett

    If you read that, it is for ‘off-network’ use, or roaming. We have 5 phones on our Sprint account and use an average of 8GB of data a month between them. We’ve never seen a warning or anything.

    But then again, we are not tethering either.

  4. Ah, I see the “off-network” part now. I think I was looking for a way for Sprint to worm its way past giving normal people a good deal and didn’t see it. Thanks for pointing that out!

  5. Todd, Carriers may or may not allow that native 2.2 tethering functionality in. They are still the gatekeepers. Somewhat.

  6. @zatz

    Correct. And the super locked down boot loader in the Incredible and EVO ensures you’ll never ( ever ) be able to install 2.2!

    …all the more reason to buy unlocked phones!


  7. @ Todd:

    I haven’t kept up with the Android modding scene, but I do believe you are not being serious, right? :) Isn’t it very easy to flash a new ROM? Although, I am not sure how fast the scene can build a 2.2 version of EVO’s ROM.

  8. @Ivan Y

    No sir, serious.

    Retail handsets from carriers have a super locked down boot loader which makes up/downgrades of the OS extremely difficult. The bootloader is one of the few pieces of Android that is not open source ( the radio stack being another ).

    In contrast, handset bought directly from Google ship with a special “Engineering” boot loader that allows for any version of Android to be installed easily.

    No way I am saying you cannot hack ( and hack an hack ) to get the developer only bootloader to work with an EVO or an Incredible, but it’ll be a lot of work – why bother though? Just get a Google issued unlocked phone in the first place, no hacking required.

  9. Yeah, I cannot imagine that data at least on 4G wouldn’t be unlimited as that is ONE of the selling points for current 4G contracts even with sprint today.

    I really am liking the pricing, although with a SERO 30$ a month unlimited everything account now, I want to see some offer to get me to upgrade. Maybe they will allow some discount? It is starting to look nice though, and I think that we will see an AT&T 25$ add on for tethering in the late summer.

  10. @ Todd:

    Thanks for the lesson. I’m a Sprint customer, so there’s no way for me to get an unlocked phone.

    Even if I’ll need tethering (right now, I got a 4G/3G data stick), I am sure there’s/going to be an alternative ;)

  11. I am making the jump from AT&T to Sprint in order to get the EVO 4G. I pay more for 3 lines with no data plans at AT&T than I will pay for 3 lines (one of which being an EVO plan) with data on Sprint. The $10 surcharge doesn’t matter so much to me because I am already paying way too much on AT&T.

  12. Scott, I believe I alluded to that in the post… BUT I didn’t want to draw too much attention and risk getting it blocked in some way. It’ll be my solution on either the Incredible or EVO.

  13. I preordered the EVO at Best Buy yesterday. The guy there said that while 4G hasn’t been rolled out in DC, it is up and running in parts of Rockville, Gaithersburg and Germantown, which would be great for me. Dave, you’re in the area, right? Do you know if that’s true?

  14. Yes, there are many active pockets of 4G service in our area. In fact, both the U301 3G/4G aircard and Overdrive are sold here. I’ve been testing a U301 and had 4G service in Sterling, but not Reston for example. I believe it’ll all be lit up this year.

  15. I have the HTC Hero from Sprint, it has taken a ridiculously long time to update the OS to 2.1. By the time it happens, 2.2 will be out. I can only assume based on current experience that going from 2.1 to 2.2 through Sprint will be just as painful.

    Furthermore, consider the cost of Cable TV vs. current cost of 4G . . . isn’t the whole point to challenge cable companies? Why have TV/internet/wifi only at home, condense the package to make it mobile . . . that is essentially what is going on. So are you pay more for the services or is it equivalent or less than the same services you pay for from your cable company (TV/Internet/Phone)?

  16. Good run-down of the issues and options.

    BTW, I took the HTC 4.3″ screen phones like this one as the reason that the soon-to-debut Dell Streak TABLET at 5″ is just a hair too small, I wish they would have gone with a 6-7″ model first.

  17. Sprint’s plan for what you get sounds extremely enticing. I’ll have to hear more about battery life, but if its reasonable then I’ll definitely consider making the jump.

    But one of the reasons I never got an iPhone is because I heard such bad things about the call quality and dropped connections with AT&T. And once upon a time I had Sprint and there were times I couldn’t make calls from inside my apartment (I lived in Adams Morgan)

    Has Sprint gotten better with that? I don’t want to switch phones only to find that I can’t make a simple call. I still need a cell phone primarily for that reason.

  18. Hace un mes e ido a dos tiendas de Sprint para comprar un HTC EVO 4 G en una me pusieron en lista de espera, pero aun no recibo una respuesta podrian ayudarme en ver como lo consigo.

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