Update: Sprint Business today launched their first TV ads promoting PAM as a part of their Mobile Broadband initiative.
Sprint’s history of tethering has been extremely checkered. Sprint went from touting tethering with the launch of Vision, to rolling out Unlimited Vision and barring tethering. Then, when it became clear Sprint was not enforcing tethering policies (and could not with the technology in standard Vision devices), redefined tethering to be permitted, as long as it was not abusive to the network.
With the launch of Power Vision, Sprint began offering a more reasoned approach with a dedicated phone-as-modem (PAM) plan. However, it became clear this was equally confusing. The PAM offering charged customers regardless of if they were on the phone or using it as a modem. We also noted that with the launch of Power Vision, that a tracking feature was added, but left dormant in most Power Vision devices.
Earlier today, Sprint sent a text message to a very large amount of its customer base with the following message:
“A Phone-As-Modem data plan is required to connect your phone to a PC for Internet connectivity. Please contact Sprint customer care via *2 to learn more.
Unfortunately, this too increased customer confusion as customers who were already on the $25-$70 PAM plan received this message, alarming some that they were not on the correct plan.
Customers with Power Vision and do not have the PAM plan continue to report that they can tether. However, many are reporting rumors that on February 1st that Sprint will enable the tracking feature in almost all Power Vision phones, and require customers with Power Vision to switch to the PAM plan. This matches Verizon’s plans exactly; allowing people with Vision/1xRTT to continue to tether, while requiring Power Vision/EV-DO customers to pay additional rates to tether. We will continue to report on this situation as it develops.