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. SaltyDawg

    Stephen- I assume you work for Sprint since you seem to be stuck on the “company line” here. Well, you are dead wrong on all accounts. Let me break this down for you…

    #1: Ending subsidized phones would probably result in cheaper phones, not more expensive. Why? because companies know that right now, even if they charge $600+ for a phone, the carrier is going to make it adffordable for the consumer. What incentive do they have to make the price competitive if they are guaranteed so many sales by the carrier anyway? If they are forced to sell directly to the public (or at least the public pays full price) then suddenly they have to start making affordable devices if they expect to sell a lot. It would also force more competition into the market if customers could use any phone they want. What incentive does a company have to make a CDMA phone when they know Sprint won’t carry it anyway, therefore no Sprint customers will buy it (or Verizon, same difference)? With more competition comes cheaper prices.

    #2: There are plenty of smartphones on prepay. Are you serious? Just a couple weeks ago I bought a used Verizon 6700, activated it on Page Plus (pre paid, ont eh Verizon network), and gave it to a friend of mine. Before I did that, I researched all of my options for a pre paid smartphone. It turns out pretty much all of them allow them. AT&T and t-Mobile you can just pop your SIM card in whatever phone you want to use. Cricket will activate any phone you want (so will page plus). Plenty of people are using Blackberries on Boost, and Boost unlimited will activate any Sprint phone. You’re out of your mind if you don’t think any prepaid service works with a smartphone.

    #3: Paying full price for a phone and bypassing the subsudy IS pretty popular. You’ve been reading way too much Sprint propaganda. check out T-Mobile’s new plan offerings- based on the customer paying full price for the phone, not having a contract, and getting a cheaper monthly rate. Last time I checked, T-mobile was doing WAY better than Sprint. They are making money every quarter while Sprint is losing money, and they are adding tons of customers every quarter while Sprint is losing tons of customers. I think they know a little more about it than Sprint. In addition to that- AT&T already has a SIM card based service and it is very common for smartphone customers to buy an unlocked version withotu a contract extension. And Verizon is moving to a SIM card system within the next year or so.

    I don’t mean to to let the facts get in the way of your rant, but now you may carry on…

  2. Stephen

    According to the Boost Mobile website Boost will not activate a Sprint phone.
    As you can see from the Q&A from the website the UNLTD plan(CDMA plan that they no longer market) is only good on UNLTD phones…
    Can I get Boost® Service with a used (previously active) Boost, Sprint or Nextel phone?
    Monthly Unlimited, Daily Chat & Text, Pay As You Go: Yes, you can, as long as it’s an iDEN (Nextel) phone (you’ll need to ask a representative at a retailer). All you need to do is buy a Boost® Starter Kit. The Boost Starter Kit comes with a new Boost SIM card that will allow you to have Boost service (Nextel SIM cards will not work in Boost phones). The Starter Kit also comes with $10 credit you can apply to your account. If you have an old Boost SIM card that you’d like to use, you’ll be subject to a $10 reactivation fee. Certain features on Nextel phones may not work with a Boost SIM card.
    UNLTD plan (c290, W385, KRZR phone only): You can activate a previously used UNLTD phone, and will have to pay for your first month of service and a $15 reactivation fee in order to get started. Only UNLTD phones can get UNLTD service.

    I wouldn’t exactly call Cricket a national carrier.. As for T-Mobile, they just introduced those plans for people that don’t want a subsidized phone, so you cannot compare quarterly number and base it on a plan that was just introduced….those plans could end up being a flop… Americans tend to want their phones cheap up front, and don’t mind paying more over the life of a contract, otherwise Sprint would be doing better since their plans have been proven to be the best value(3rd party analysis, not Sprint Propoganda)

    For the record i do not work for sprint… I just don’t see the problem with ETF’s.. I signed a contract knowing full well that there was that fee, I either fulfill the contract, or I cancel and pay the ETF, simple as that…

    oh and one other thing… will unlocked/unsubsized phones result in more free phones? I think not..
    Anyway, this is totally off topic…shall we get back to the topic at hand.

  3. Steve

    This was welcome news to me today as I went to upgrade my phone with Sprint only to be told that the Blackberry I wanted was going to be $569. I went around and around with the rep trying to do things differently and the only concession I got was that in February I would be able to get a phone upgrade with $75 off the retail price…not much help. I dont suffer stupidity lightly so I told them I would be cancelling my contract and paying the $160 for this gladly so that I could go to one of their competitors. They didnt care at all. Of course, they didnt mention this way to get out of their contract. I had to learn about it from the ATT rep that Ill be getting my iPhone from in January.

    Sprint, you suck.

  4. Kasi

    I thought there was also going to be a change in some of the terms and conditions of the contract, along with the additional per line fee and the 4.99 fee? Wouldn’t any change in the original terms and conditions make the contract null and void?

  5. SaltyDawg


    All I can tell you is to go to ebay and look for Boost blackberries. There are tons of them. And go to the Boost forum over at howard forums and see how many people are using smartphones- tons.

    In addition to that, you ignored my point about Page Plus, which will activate any unlocked CDMA phone, smartphones and all. And that is on the Verizon network, so yes, it is national.

    T-Mobile will still be doing better than Sprint when their next quartly reports get released, you can bet on that. Sprint’s problem is not the price of the plans, but the absolutely horrible customer service. not only are most Sprint reps that I have dealt with utterly incompetent and not fit for any job that deals with the public, but they are actually taught to have the same attitude that you displayed in this thread… The attitude that Sprint has the best and if anyone doesn’t like it they can go test the waters elsewhere. I have news for you, Sprint is NOT the cheapest anymore when you start looking at all the prepaid options that are out there now (and the prepaid providers are more than willing to activate a smartphone, contrary to your claim).

    As for more free phones if they were all unlocked- I didn;t say there would be more free phones. if you think any phones are really “free: right now then you have no business debating anything in this thread. The phones are not “free” by any stretch of the imagination. You are paying for that phone every month. Everyone else that brought their own phone and didn;t even sign a contract is also paying for your “free” phone ever month. If ETF’s were abolished, that would not be the case.

    If ETF’s were abolished, monthly rates would go down, and handset prices would go down too. There would also be more and better handsets available because companies would not have to worry about spending millions developing a handset only to have a carrier reject it.

    And we wouldn’t have to worry about locked down and crippled handsets due to carrier restrictions either.

    I have no doubt that this is going to happen eventually. And when it does, we will all be much better off.

  6. Carrie

    I got my bill with the notice on it. How do I go about canceling my account? I have had nothing but issues with Sprint since October. It has been one nightmare after another. Just tonight they transfered me to SEVEN different people only to hang up on me then connect me to somebody NEW to which I had to start my complaint all over again! I am furious. Do I call the number to cancel, do I go into the store? Do I email? How do I do this to get out of this insane company?

  7. Fernando

    This is great news!!! i just got a new bill online for the month of Dec. and i don’t see anything about this new contract change? i want out badly! Should I call them? go to a sprint store?….Please advise if anyone has canceled yet

  8. anthony

    for online bills, click on view current bill, then at the bottom click on important news regarding your bill…..the notice is in one of the left boxes.

    and after checking the Ts and Cs, the verbage does say “30 days after the effective change”

    I guess we can call and try now, but it sounds like we might have better luck after we receive our jan bill.

  9. SaltyDawg

    I’m still not seeing anything about it on my bill. can someone copy and paste it into this thread so i know what I’m looking for? I don’t ant to call Sprint unless I have to.

  10. bobby

    You do not have to wait until after Jan 1st. I called sprint last Friday and already canceled. It took about 30 mins on the phone and a LOT of explaining. They tried to pull a few fast ones on me but I read through all the docs before and was ready to stand my ground.

    I told them that I did not have to wait until Jan 1st as the contract already changed but I was not going to be charged until Jan 1st. They accepted that answer and canceled my account.

    I am now a verizon customer and should get my Eris tomorrow!

  11. SaltyDawg

    Did you lose your phone number when you went to Verizon? How does the porting process work in a situation like this? You call sprint and cancel your acocunt, then call verizon and open a new pne, but do they still port your number? Or how does that work?

  12. bobby

    I had already paid my bill through December so I asked them to keep the account active until I ported my number over, which they were fine with.

  13. Fernando

    OMG it worked…..i just got off the phone with them with NO CANCELLATION FEES!!!!

  14. SaltyDawg

    Okay, so here’s the deal…

    I want to get out of my contract. I want to keep my phone numbers though. I’m thinking I’ll port to a prepaid service for 30 days or 90 days (or whatever) and then port back in with no contract after that.

    Can this be done? Where should I start? How long would I have to be on prepaid? And what prepaid service would work best with my Touch Pro 2’s?

  15. TLBrisco

    It worked for me, too. Took about 15 minutes and a bit of rhetorical excess. They transferred me to cancellations and I have until January 11 to port my numbers w/ no fees.

    God bless the USA and a minor in political science.

  16. Joskins

    I just changed my plan 3 days ago online. I don’t remember there being a user agreement change notification. I hope that I can still cancel…

  17. SaltyDawg

    I am still not seeing anything about this on my online bill. Going to try to get out of my contract anyway, but it not showing on my bill might be an issue…

  18. Jokie


    Here’s the part on page 2 of my bill from Dec 5th:

    Regulatory Charge/Ts&Cs Changes
    Effective 1/1/10, the Regulatory Charge will
    increase to $0.40/line. Visit Sprint Ts&Cs or for details; also
    effective 1/1/10, the Sprint Terms &
    Conditions (Ts&Cs) are changing. Please
    review them carefully at or on

  19. SaltyDawg

    I still don’t see that. I don;t have my December bill yet, so that is probably why. I guess I’ll have to weait a few more days…

  20. Christopher Price

    Sprint has confirmed this is an ETF Out. We’ll have an update with Sprint’s official word shortly.

  21. Mcello77

    I have been on the phone with them like 5 times today and pretty much gotten different stories on the regulatory charge every time. Some told me it applies to everyone, the last guy I think was completely lying to me in saying that it only applies to 500,000 customers. I mean, why would only 500,000 customers have to pay this and not the others? Also, I was trying to find it on my last bill, but apparently because my billing cycle flips on the 28th of each month, it was not on my last months bill and now to be sure I have to wait until my next bill, which will not be available until after the 28th of this month. I was just about to cancel anyway today based on what some of the reps told me but now I am nervous about it. I am alos unsure of how to port over my number and confirm that I won’t be charged the 200 at the same time. I feel like this will end up being a major fight. I want them to release me from my contract and then let me port over the number. Is this possible?

  22. Dave

    Ok so I have a question. My wife and I are with Helio who was then bought out by Virgin Mobile who was recently purchased by Sprint. My wife received a call from them the other day telling her about the recent buy out and asking if she wanted to switch to Sprint fully. If she did, would she be able to have the termination fee waived and go to another provider? We definitely DO NOT want to be with Sprint.

  23. Curtis

    I also called sprint yesterday and they also told me that not everyone was included in this. I heard that the .40 cent increase applies to everyone and the 4.99 is the one that is for the ASL customers and so on. They wouldnt let me cancel until I got my invoice which by then they will prob take the charge off my bill and ill have to stay just because i called early seems kinda shady to me

  24. Mcello77

    I feel the same way, now that I called like 5 times yesterday I wonder if they will simply remove the charge from me so that I am stuck. I hope I did not shoot myself in the foot on this one. The other route I could take is just keep calling and annoying them and wasting their time until they want to pay me 200 to leave…

  25. sledgie

    After reading your update, my question is: If the change affects me or not, since it is a material change to the contract, is that in violation of the T&C? When I started reading the online terms and conditions to the retention department, the lady transferred me and i got the wonderful christmas sprint music. She insisted I had to of course wait, as I’m sure Sprint does not want to deal with this now.
    My question of course is because, whether the $4.99 charge affects me or the increase of .20 per line (regulatory), since it is a change in contract, and a material change (monetary), shouldn’t that *itself* justify the waive of ETF fees? Obviously I am *NOT* agreeing with this increase in charge, whether it be .20cents or $4.99, and neither of them were in my contract.
    So, if I continue with them, I’m essentially saying “change my contract as you see fit, charge me fees to recover your losses, and refuse to waive my ETF as PER SPRINT’S OWN TERMS AND CONDITIONS”, correct? That’s like me signing a rental agreement only to have the monthly rent change because the landlord had to go to court and pay for his court fees.
    Sorry to rant, but I just got screamed at and talked over while reading factual evidence, and then disconnected. No worries, I recorded the conversation.

  26. i like dan hesse

    For the folks that have left and are leaving…where are you going to??

    Who has a great value comparable with sprint on unlimted text, data, at least 400 mins??

  27. SaltyDawg

    Just about any prepaid plan is cheaper than Sprint these days. T-Mobile’s no contract plans are pretty close (or even cheaper) than Sprint’s 2 year contract rates too.

  28. Stephen

    The no contract plans may be cheaper, but if you don’t have a T-mobile 3G compatible GSM phone laying around you will have to pay full price for the phone, either up front or via payments(if you go into the store)… If you do sign a contract, 500 minutes, plus unl messages, and unl web is $59.99(non-blackberry), plus more for the Navigation which sprint includes..
    if you want blackberry it goes up to $79.99, and still no navigation.
    So you have to figure, are you really going to cancel a service over $.40 cents per month..
    As far as prepaids, yes even boost is cheaper, but you’ll have to pay full price for the phone, again is $.40 really that big of a deal?

    Me, i’ll probably leave one of my lines thats already out of contract, and go to T-mobile in march when they get the HTC HD2, and Leave my MiFi with Sprint(Love this device by the way)

  29. SaltyDawg

    Just to clarify- T-Mobile has a no contract plan that includes talk, plus text, plus web- on smartphones, for $79.99. If you only want 1000 minutes (and unlimited texts and web) it only costs $69.99. For 500 minutes (unlimited texts and web) it’s $59.99.

    For family plans they have unlimited talk text and web, on smartphones, for $139.99- which includes the first 2 lines. Each additional line $55 for smartphones.

    If you only need 1500 minutes (unlimited text and web) it’s $119.99 for the first 2 lines and additional lines (smartphones) cost $30 each.

    If you only need 750 minutes (with unlimited texts and web), it costs $109.99 per month for the first 2 lines, and additional lines (smartphones) are $30 each.

    Oh yes, and it’s a given, you either need to own a phone or you need to buy a phone. Unlike Sprint though, T-Mobile doesn’t require the phones to be T-Mobile branded. You can get any GSM phone you want (provided it has the proper frequencies) and just pop your SIM card in.

    And, again, all of that is without a contract- regular prices, no discounts, and smartphones don’t cost extra (dumbphones are actually cheaper, I listed the smartphone prices).

    Sprint, WITH a 2 year contract, is $99.99 for unlimited everything. If you only want 900 minutes it’s $89.99, and for 450 minutes it’s $69.99.

    Family plan with unlimited everything is $189.98 for the first 2 lines, additional lines are $89.99 each.

    If you only want 3000 minutes, it’s $169.99 for the first 2 lines, additional lines are $19.99 each.

    If you only want 1500 minutes (and this is the cheapest Sprint familyt plan that has unlimited texts and data), it’s $129.99 for the first 2 lines, additional lines are $19.99 each.

    And- again, with Sprint you have to sign a 2 year contract. You also need to buy a Sprint branded phone, if you don’t have one layng around. You can’t use any old CDMA phone, it has to be Sprint branded.

    I’m not seeing the argument here. Now, if you’re talking about the Sprint referral plan, then Sprint is cheaper. But just everyday lan to everyday plan- T-Mobile is clearly cheaper than Sprint.

  30. Stephen

    you’re actually forgetting some stuff…
    Sprint Includes Sprint TV, Sprint Radio, Sprint Navigation, Sprint NFL Mobile, if you don’t want unlimited minutes, Sprint has Any mobile anytime on their Plans with data, T-Mobile actually got rid of their MyFav’s service…
    By the way, you are neglecting to include the price of a phone in the cost of T-Mobile’s no contract plans, most people if they are coming from Sprint won’t have a TMO 3G compatible GSM phone laying around, I keep saying TMO 3G compatible, because they use a different 3G frequency than AT&T so even though AT&T’s phones will work, they will not have 3G.
    Again I’ll say it, American’s don’t want to pay upfront for a phone, they’d rather get the phone at a discount, and pay more over the long term… check out this article here by sasha segan from “Your Free Phone Cost $240” – (case sensitive) if this link doesn’t show up, i made the link associated with my name the link to the article. if the link still doesn’t show up, just go to their site.

  31. SaltyDawg

    A few htings…

    #1: All of that stiff Sprint includes can be found for free on just about any smartphone. For example, Bing can replace Sprint Navigation for free, Google Navigation will do an ever better job at replacing it when it is available. Skyfire and easily replace Sprint tv- and way better. There are tons of free radio services, so I won;t even start on that one.

    #2: I am not neglecting the cost of the phone. On the contrary, I mentioned that you’d need to buy a T-Mobile phone. I also mentioned that you’d need to buy a Sprint phone if you went with Sprint. Check the prices on that- like for like, T-Mobile phones are cheaper. Right now, the Touch Pro 2 is $539.99 full retail from T-Mobile. The Sprint version is $599.99 full retail.

    #3: I disagree that Americans want to pay more over the length of the contract. If this were tru, Sprint would not be requiring a 2 year contract even if you pay full retail for a device. AT&T does the same thing (at least the reps told me they did a while back). Peopl etake the discount and sign a contract (paying more in the long run) because there is little choice. Now that T-Mobile offers a choice, I bet we’ll see some real change there. Verizon also offers month to month if you pay full retail (and they are the largest carrier, so there must be something to that).

    And yes, you can get any old AT&T phone and it will work on T-Mobile. You won’t have 3G, but you will still have EDGE data. Compare that to Sprint who won’t even activate a Verizon phone, so you won’t get jack unless you have a Sprint branded phone.

    I think I made the point though- Sprint is not the cheapest. You came in here acting liek Sprint customers couldn’t possible find a cheaper rate. We now know that almost any prepaid is cheaper, and T-Mobile is cheaper across the board- with no contract even.

    Oh yeah, by the way- T-Mobile will let you buy a device and break the cost of it up into 20 equal payments if you want. And this is still without a contract- you just pay off the remaining balance of the device if you leave before it’s paid off. So the sticker shock from the phone price isn’t even an issue either- on T-Mobile that is.

  32. Srpint ups administrative fees in January 2010, cancel contract sans ETF | Diime

    […] […]

  33. Marcos Rivera

    Done deal for me as well. I called Sprint based on everyone else, 1st contact cancelations who told me this was true that I can cancel without ETF fee. They noted my account and transferred me to account services. Accoutn services then saw the note and confirmed shortly after. I have until March to port my number and the ETF will be waived.

  34. showbo

    Just got off the phone with a rep, told me I have to wait until the fee is assessed before I can cancel the lines on my account!?

  35. AHub

    WOW!!!! That was easy. Called, told rep I did not agree with the Regulatory Charge. He said he was sorry to hear that. He let me out of the contract and said my account would close whenever my number is ported. YEAH!!!!

  36. Kasi

    Just got off the phone with Sprint and, boy they suck! Talked to the cancellation department who transferred me to the credit department for an unknown reason where I was told I didn’t need to speak with them so they transferred me back to the cancellation department where someone picked up and hung up on me. I called the cancellation department back and was told that I could not cancel until after the effective date.

    I am just wondering, what strategy did those of you who have canceled your contracts already use?

  37. showbo

    Kasi: I was told the same thing, after doing some reading, and being completely technical, you need to wait until Jan. 1 to be able to cancel.

    But I pose the same question, For those of you who already cancelled your contracts, what is your due date, and how did you convince them? They would not even talk to me after they told me that.

  38. Steve

    Im anxiously awaiting January 1st so that I can cancel my Sprint service. The reason? I wanted to upgrade to a Blackberry from a Rant and was told it would be $569. Not kidding. I thought this was ridiculous and tried very hard with the instore rep to get her to work with me as I felt that was completely unreasonable. She never budged and I finally agreed to pay the ETF in February. I went directly to ATT and they were kind enough to offer me a iPhone and unlimited data (400 minute talk time but thats ok, I dont talk much on it and they rollover) for about $80 a month and they were very helpful in telling me how I can avoid the ETF with Sprint. I hope I can pull this off but I usually have terrible luck.

  39. AMH

    Hi- I am desperatley wanting out of my contract as well. I am looking on my online bill, and see the verbage about the Regulartory Fee increase, however I do not see the increase on my bill that is due 01/04/10. What does the fee show up as on your bill? Does anyone know?

  40. Andre

    AWESOME!!! Just called sprint and have the fees waived in 5mins. Told the Rep that I didn’t agree with the Regulatory Charge increase that I saw on the back of my bill, even though I wasn’t charged the fee yet, was still able to get this process taken care real easy. Now I’m on a month to month plan, and I can port my number anytime without being charged an ETF. To solidify your reason to cancel, tell them that you’ve been experiencing a lot of dropped calls in your house lately, they’ll try to send you something to hook up to your computer and make your calls better, but disagree. Well good luck canceling.

  41. Matt

    I am not sure if this effects me. I just signed up with sprint in july and now need to switch out for some crazy family issues (wife calls her mom lots). Anyway I took a look at all of my bills and I have been charge .40 for a regulatory fee since I signed up. I’m assuming this means I am not eligable?

  42. AMH

    I just got off of the phone with Sprint and they told me the same thing, that I needed to wait until Jan. 1st to call and cancel. They did confirm I would be able to cancel without an ETF fee. They broke it down for me in a few different ways: If you have a:

    CORPORATE LIABLE ACCOUNT – The changes are included in your contract and you will not be eligable to have the ETF fee waived.

    CORPAORATE INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT – You are eligable to cancel and have the ETF fee waived.

    ASL (Account Spending Limit) – You are eligable to cancel and have the ETF fee waived.

    They also mentioned that we can do this online, and do not need to call into Sprint to cancel. They said to go to and we can opt out from there. (I have yet to go online and check to see if this is true)

    The one thing I am a little confused about however is they told me that I would not be able to be put on a month to month basis. For those of you who have been able to do this what exactly should I be asking for when I call back after the 1st.

  43. bslick12

    Andre… just wondering how you got put on a month to month. I called 5 minutes ago and the retention person told me that their policy is to cancel the contract and the service. I told them that I am still interested in keeping them on a month to month basis for now, but I don’t agree with them just changing the contract on me. After all, if I told them I want to change the contract and pay $.40 less every month, they would say go to hell buddy. So anyway I think i’m going to take the same approach and say to hell with them, and switch to Verizon.

  44. Kasi

    AMH — the link you posted doesn’t work? Wondering if it was a typo? Please post the corrected link.


  45. AMH

    Sorry – it is

    I do not see where we can cancel from here, and I personally would want some sort of confirmation that they have removed the EFT fee when canceling the account.

    Good Luck!! Update us once you have canceled! Happy Cancelling!

  46. Kasi

    When you cancel, do you have to pay your current bill? I have a bill that is due like the 10th or something like that. I am planning on canceling tomorrow, first thing. Will my bill still be due? Or maybe pro-rated?

  47. Amanda

    I called Sprint and they said I had to wait until my first bill to see if I was effected. Also they will not let you do month to month because they have to cancel service. I told them that we were having trouble with getting calls and she went ahead and did it. I told her I wanted my number and she canceled the contract and all I have to do is go to the other provider they will port our number and then sprint service will be canceled. Good luck.

  48. Cathy

    I am pretty clueless when it comes to stuff like this so please bare with me.

    Looked at the lastest bill fom Nov 28-Dec 27…

    I just talked to several at Sprint and they stated that they cannot tell if the change will affect me. I already have been paying a .40 regulatory charge. The rep stated it was a .20 cent new charge for me..??? And that I couldn’t do anything til the new billing period ended on Jan 27 and I’d only be able to opt out if the new charge affected me. How can they not already tell if we’re being affected? Makes no sense. If I keep calling as some of you have, will I eventually get a rep that will cancel my acct, waive the fee and port my # without paying extra?

    I am already pretty ticked off with Sprint. They billed me an extra $40 by mistake on this last bill.

    Ive also noticed after viewing my last 4 bills that the price of my bill has differed, also the sprint charges and the govt ones. My bill seems to reall flunctuate.

    Can someone please help me understand all this better?

    Thanks- Cathy

  49. Sprint & Team Up To Help ETF Out Go Smoothly |

    […] Awhile back, we reported on Sprint’s regulatory fee increase, and how it is a material change that enables you to cancel service, sans termination fee. Well, […]

  50. Christopher Price

    The ETF Out is now in effect, more details in our new article: