Humberto Saabedra is the Editor-in-Chief of and an occasional columnist for He can also be found musing on things at @AnimeNewsdotbiz

128 responses to “Sprint to Increase Per-Line Regulatory Fee to $0.40, Changes to T&Cs on January 10th, 2010 (Updated)”

  1. i like dan hesse

    When would a consumer consider that they have “receipt of the notice”?? Today or 1/1 or somewhere in between??

  2. Christopher Price

    The notice is in your next bill. The 30 days begins when you get your bill, not on January 1.

  3. Justyn G.

    So if I called up Sprint and cancelled within that 30 days, would my account automatically be cancelled if I ported my numbers over to another wireless carrier? In other words would it stop the billing at the day of my carrier switch?

  4. SaltyDawg

    Dang, why is Sprint doing this now? I was hoping they would do something like this when the new devices hit North America late next year. It’s too early, I’m not ready to leave sprint yet.

    Hopefully there is some minor change that lets me leave when WM 7 hits and I’m ready to go back to GSM (or Verizon LTE)…

  5. Anudeep

    can I sign up today and then cancel when it goes into effect, in order to get a free phone?

  6. JJ

    What is the reason for this increase? Has the federal government raised the charges to warrant sprint in raising theirs? This is kind of dumb for sprint since they are still the only cell phone company loosing thousands of customers every month. I don’t understand. Sprint starts to make great improvements and looks like they are pulling out their slump and then they make some stupid mistake like this. Unbelieveable!

  7. Christopher Price

    Anudeep, Your first bill (within the 30 days) would include notice of the fee change. Since you would be notified of the change during the trial period, you would not be able to leave without paying the ETF later. Nice idea though… I would suggest some fiber in that moral diet however.

    JJ, the main reason is that Sprint feels that few customers will cancel. Sprint also has the option to exempt certain accounts on a per-account basis… a practice they have sometimes taken in the past. So, it is possible that Sprint will change course and simply exempt customers from the fee increase, if they call in to cancel service.

  8. mark

    So I can cancel and then start a new account with them and get a new phone

  9. mark

    Ignore the above post.

    Can I cancel my current plan then turn around and sign up a new one. My current plan is a grandfathered with free web and text. I would be signing up on a new more profitable plan. Think Sprint would allow this or do I need to wait 30 days before starting new service with them?

  10. Christopher Price

    Sprint requires that you wait 90 days before being considered a new customer. You would have to port out (after getting the ETF waived), port the number to a prepaid service, and then port the number in after 90 days.

  11. Don Louie

    mark, why not just get the plan now, no contract extension? You must not be eligible for an upgrade

  12. Juan Carlos

    I called Sprint today and spoke to two different people, not very happy about the cancellation. They said the changes don’t affect the individual accounts just the business accounts. I actually don’t believe a word of what they said but unfortunately, I do not have the hard copy of the bill stating the changes the are making. Sprint actually listed the changes on the back of the page so if you try to go online to see them, youo will not be able to see them. What should I do now?

  13. Sprint ETF–Get out of your contract-new reg increases in Jan 2010 at
  14. Steve

    I’d love to know if anybody is able to get out because of this. I hope it’s not true that it applies to biz lines only…

  15. Get out of your Sprint Contract for Free in January! - PreCentral Forums

    […] ETF, exactly when AT&T and VZ are going to make the Pre available on their networks! See here: Sprint to Increase Per-Line Regulatory Fee to $0.40, Changes to T&Cs on January 10th, 2010 | Pho… This kind of contract change means that customers can call them within 30 days of receiving the […]

  16. F1

    I’m surprised it is only $0.40, it could have been $1, they need every penny, even if it is costing them more account losses in the long run.
    Remeber CEO D.H. needs to get paid somehow,until he gets fired that is.

    Thank You

  17. Paul

    I have online billing. does anyone know where to find the notice??

  18. i like dan hesse

    @JJ and @ Don Louie and heck @Christopher Price

    I know all 3 of you are very vocal in your dislike in Sprint’s service to long time customers.

    I have 5 lines with 1500 mins and unlimted text, data, gps, and tv for $129 for the first two lines and $19.99 for each additional.

    I am floating around the idea about switching but I really don’t think that there is a provider with that has a better value than Sprint and still has decent handsets.

    Any ideas on a new provider who is comparable in cost?? T-Mobile maybe??

  19. daniel

    Hmmmmm this is saying if someone were to call sprint and ask to cancel their account with no ETF I’m able to get out of my contract?

  20. Sprint Tech

    The real change coming on January 10th is the $4.99 fee for ASL customers who havent set up automatic payments on their accounts.

  21. SaltyDawg

    What’s an ASL customer?

  22. Don Louie

    (A)ccount (S)pending (L)imit

  23. SaltyDawg

    How can I find out if I have an account spending limit?

    I don’t have automatic payment set up and I don’t want my bill going up an extra $5.00 per month.

    Will I be able to get out of the contract because of that?

  24. Christopher Price

    Daniel, yes, you should be able to. Emphasis on should.

    All carriers intentionally do not train Customer Service on ETF-Outs. We’re working on it, as you may have seen with our progress on AT&T’s March 2009 ETF Out Saga.

  25. Cancel Spring CellPhone Contract Without Early Termination Fee » My Money Blog

    […] cell phone contract and want to get out, check your statements with a billing date in December. is reporting the the following verbage from Sprint: Regulatory Charge/Ts&Cs Changes Effective […]

  26. Christopher Price

    SaltyDawg, if you have an ASL, it will be displayed on your account manager. When in doubt, you can call *2 and ask directly… they can tell you immediately if you have one.

    And yes, that too would be an ETF out unless they opt to either waive the fee for your account (keeping things as-is) or remove your ASL (which they also can do, depending on your credit).

  27. SaltyDawg

    Well I’ve learned to avoid calling Sprint if at all possible. It almost always ends in frustration and reminds me why everyone is leaving Sprint. I can somewhat tolerate Sprint as long as I don’t have to contact them for any reason.

    I don’t see anything about a spending limit online though, so I don’t know if that affects me. I’ll have to set a reminder to look for that extra charge on my bill in January and February.

  28. F1

    @ Saltydawg

    Precisely my sentiments, but as you know CEO D.H. explains it slightly differently in that, as a direct result of SPRINT’s “excellent service”, hence grounds for more layoffs!

    People always cut back on their communication, before going their seperate ways, I guess he is oblivious to social behavior, among other things.

    P.S. For the record my account qualifies for “ten” lines as to per CSR.

    Thank You

  29. Avoid Sprint ETF – Sprint Raising Fees January 2010

    […] Phonenews […]

  30. 44

    The bottom line is…. They are GIVING their company to prepaid. Why sign a contract when you can get iden (boost) or CDMA (virgin mobile) for 50 a month unlimited. 50.00 prepaid, 100.00 post paid…. do the math.

  31. JJ

    Prepaid in some cases for some people is a way better deal. But most people that want a smartphone will not choose prepay because most of the prepay options out there don’t offer smartphones and don’t allow access to evdo speeds. With a postpaid account you get evdo speeds and any smartphone you want. That is the only reason I haven’t gone prepay, otherwise I would have done it a long time ago.
    The $50 unlimited is not that big of a deal anymore when you take into consideration sprints 69.99 plan. Only $20 more and you get any smartphone you want plus any mobile any time plus evdo capable phones. Any mobile anytime makes that plan almost unlimited since most people now call cell phones most of the time.
    But you are right, there are some great prepay options out there for regular phones like the $30 straight talk.

  32. Christopher Price

    Boost UNLTD unofficially works with CDMA smartphones, though more reps refuse to activate Sprint devices, it can still be done.

  33. Dave

    I’m tempted by this, but I’ve had the same phone number for nearly ten years. Thus, I’d want to port my number out. I know porting a number automatically cancels service with the previous carrier, which would probably trigger the ETF. How much of a pain in the behind will it be to argue with Sprint, after the fact, about this and getting the ETF waived post-port?

  34. Rip

    For what it’s worth, I received my sprint bill with the regulatory charge notification on page 2, and the “account supervisor” wouldn’t do anything right now b/c I haven’t yet *been charged* the new increased fee.

    He says I have 30 days from the bill that actually shows the new fee.

    Even more head slapping, he says that “not everyone” will see the fee increase, thus excluding them from the ability to cancel without ETF.

    If I were devious bastard sprint, I’d now keep that effing small charge off my account, thus keeping me locked into the contract.

  35. Christopher Price

    Call back and ask for another supervisor. Tell them asked Sprint and they said it was from the date of notice, as outlined in the Terms of Service.

  36. Joe

    Just talked to someone at Sprint and they said this is in the terms and conditions of the contract. So apparently they can just raise them while we’re under contract and we can’t do anything about it.

  37. Joe

    Connected to
    12:59:07 PM System
    Session ID: 8119878
    12:59:08 PM Joe
    Initial Question/Comment: I would like to know where I can find the information regarding the Regulatory Charge/Ts&Cs Changes effective for 2010.
    12:59:13 PM System
    Please wait and the next available account specialist will be with you shortly.
    12:59:18 PM System
    If you are chatting today for Technical Support, please call (888) 211-4727.
    12:59:23 PM System
    12:59:23 PM System
    Ashley J has joined this session!
    12:59:23 PM System
    Connected with Ashley J
    12:59:23 PM System
    Thank you for contacting Sprint. My name is Ashley J. In order to better assist you; may I please have your first and last name?
    12:59:34 PM Joe

    12:59:43 PM Ashley J
    For account security and verification, may I please have the 6-10 digit PIN number on your account?
    1:01:08 PM Ashley J
    You can locate the Terms & Conditions at:
    1:01:10 PM Ashley J
    Ashley J pushes page,
    1:01:37 PM Joe
    Will the changes be posted on my statement?
    1:02:08 PM Ashley J
    If there are any changes, then you will receive notice on your bill. May I ask if there is something specific that you are referring to?
    1:03:06 PM Joe
    I saw in an article that the regulatory charges were increasing to .40
    1:04:48 PM Ashley J
    That is correct, however as a part of your Terms & Conditions, this can change at anytime.
    1:06:30 PM Joe
    from what I understand if I do not agree with the increase I have 30 days to cancel without penalty. Is that correct?
    1:07:14 PM Ashley J
    I do sincerely apologize however this would not apply to the regulatory charge increase, as it is stated in your Terms & Conditions that this is subject to change at anytime.
    1:07:27 PM Joe
    in addition to that I saw there’s a 4.99 fee for spending limits which is a material change
    1:08:43 PM Ashley J
    I do sincerely apologize however this is not a material change in which would qualify for the termination of services, upon the disagreement of the charge.
    1:09:23 PM Ashley J
    You are provided with an option, to avoid the $4.99 fee, for account spending limit customers, by enrolling your account in Auto-Pay.
    1:09:53 PM Ashley J
    For more information and questions regarding these changes, you are more then welcome to speak with Account Services. Account Services can be reached at 888-211-4727(Select option 3, and then option 5).
    1:10:14 PM Joe
    I will do that. Thank you.

  38. Chris

    I was just told the same thing that Joe was in a conversation online with a Sprint rep. Sorry I closed the dialogue before I could copy the contents of the discussion, but I was basically told the exact same thing.


  39. Christopher Price

    Don’t deal with e-chat. E-chat is instructed to say nothing that could be used against Sprint.

    Call customer service and place the account in formal dispute. If multiple call center managers have denied you, file BBB, FCC, and State PUC complaints. If you are denied and don’t do that, you’re part of the problem.

  40. Paul

    christopher price will you be my friend? that thread was brutal. everything i wanted to say you said in a much more professional and patient manner. teach me your ways so that i’ll stop this passive aggressive behavior towards sprint customers everywhere. sincerely, Paul.

  41. Christopher Price

    Oh, it’s only because we’ve been there. If you’ve been following our AT&T material change saga, it’s gotten to the point that AT&T appears to have hired investigators to try and quiet us.

    All it does is sharpen the argumentative knife each time. Prepaid is on the rise because people are clearly sick of carriers that refuse to honor their own terms.

  42. Oskor

    Anybody have any luck canceling their account(s)? I’m looking at trying this after work today.

  43. leemajella

    Does anyone know if this also applies to Sprint’s Nextel service?
    Trying to get the GF out of her contract.

  44. Sprint Gives You A Way Out Of Your Contract « C6Networks

    […] year, Sprint appears poised to tinker with their wireless user fees early next year. According to a memo obtained by Phonenews, Sprint’s “regulatory line charge” will double to forty cents per line. The fee, […]

  45. Joe

    After chatting I did call to talk to their retention department. They did not deny that I would be able to get out of the contract but they said I have to wait until January 10th. I was told they will not be charging the $4.99 to every customer and have to see if I’m one of the lucky ones. So I will be calling back then.

  46. Stephen

    They $4.99 fee isn’t new…it’s always been in the I dont think that can be used as an excuse to get out with no ETF.. you signed a contract with the stated fee, they just didn’t charge it til now.

  47. Stephen

    Here is an link of the Sprint terms and conditions page from 2008, that shows the $4.99 fee:

  48. Stephen link from 2008 with the $4.99 fee stated…
    Terms & Conditions
    If this link doesn’t work, the full link is the url associated with my name.

  49. Christopher Price

    The ToS states that “In certain areas” the $4.99 fee would apply. The material change is the expansion of “limited areas” (i.e. affiliate markets) to all areas. Customers that were not subject to the fee previously are now being materially changed into being assessed the fee.

    Sprint will probably bicker, which will result in numerous BBB, FCC, and PUC complaints… and put one more nail in the failed business model of ETFs.

  50. Stephen

    Ending ETF’s will mean an end to subsidized phones, which will mean more expensive phones… people are free now to get an unsubsidized/unlocked phone at a higher price, and put it on a GSM carrier, but you see how unpopular that is.

    as for the $4.99 fee for ASL accounts not enrolled in AutoPay… the people this will effect are people with poor/no credit history. These people will have to consider the fact that if they do cancel their Sprint service, going to another post paid carrier will in a high depost, plus prorated charges on their first bill.. or they can pay full price for a prepaid phone, but if they want a smart phone they cannot get prepaid since their is no national carrier with a smart phone on a prepaid plan. Also, if these people were to pay their bills on time, after a year of doing so Sprint will automatically change their account status and remove the ASL, and having the Autopay requirement will encourage this.

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