Why would anyone buy standalone 3G?

I think I may have mentioned this before, but it still continues to puzzle me, so I thought it deserved its own post. Feel free to post a comment if you can help me figure this one out.

At the CES show earlier this month, Sprint dropped the pricing on dual mode 3G/4G plans to be the same as the price that everyone charges for just 3G ($59.99/month).

So, given:

  • With a 3G/4G plan, if you’re in the 10% of the country where Sprint has 4G, you get average download speeds of 3-6Mbps (where 3G has average download speeds near 1Mbps).
  • If you’re in that 10% of the country, you get truly unlimited usage – no cap. (All 3G plans from all carriers have a cap – best case at 5GB/month.)
  • (By the end of the year, that 10% will grow to be about a third of the country.)
  • If you aren’t in an area where Sprint has 4G, you almost definitely are where Sprint has 3G. Sprint’s 3G network covers about 5x as much territory as AT&T’s 3G network and is about the same coverage as Verizon.
  • In Sprint’s 3G territory, you get what Gizmodo found to be the fastest download speeds of any 3G network. (Although, you still have the same 5GB/month cap in 3G territories that you’d get on any 3G-only plan.)
  • (And if you work for a large business, you probably already know how well Sprint treats it’s customers.)

So – back to my question – why would anyone buy standalone 3G, when they can get all the benefits of 3G, plus the extra benefits of 4G in a growing slice of the country, all for the same price?

5 Responses to “Why would anyone buy standalone 3G?”

  1. Daniel says:

    Why would anyone buy a standalone 3G phone? Rumor has it there’s a 4G Android phone coming to Sprint that runs at Supersonic speeds.

    I was about to upgrade to a Pre, but with these rumors I’m thinking I should wait a month or two. What do you think, Russ? Will a month or so of patience pay off or should I cave in and get a Pre now?

  2. Russ says:

    You know I can’t provide any insight on unannounced Sprint products.

    But, I can say that, long ago, I learned that, when it comes to technology, you just gotta “buy now.” There’s always a better, faster, cheaper option just over the horizon. As soon as that one arrives, you realize there’s a better, faster, cheaper option just over the horizon…

    I’ve always thought in terms of identifying when’s the right timing for me to upgrade technology. Get the best that’s available then. And move on with no regrets. (And if you’re part of Sprint’s Premier Loyalty Program, you can come back in only 12 months and upgrade again!)

    That’s just the way I think about it…

  3. Daniel says:

    Typically I would agree with you, but the jump from 3G->4G is one of those shifts in technology that only happens every 3-5 years. There will be better/newer devices that come out, but the power of a 4G network constantly at your fingertips is nothing to scoff at.

    …and there are shots of the phone that you can’t provide insight on floating around the internet. So hopefully it’s close. :)

  4. Russ says:

    I certainly can’t argue with the impact of 4G. :)

  5. Daniel says:

    Sprint just announced 4G handset coming 1H 2010. I think I can tough it out on my Treo Pro for a few more months… 😀

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