It looks like Sprint is changing the way things are done in order to keep up with the competition, which doesn't always translate into good news for the consumer. The early termination fee (ETF) is getting an overhaul that will go into effect on September 9th, which will bump the ETF on "advanced devices" (read: smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and notebooks) up to  a maximum of $350, putting The Now Network's policy in line with that of VZW and AT&T. If you're in mid-contract and are thinking of jumping ship, just take the remaining amount of months left in your agreement and multiply by $20 to figure out your exact ETF -- if you have less than 4 months left, though, you'll be spending a minimum of $100.

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The upgrade fee is also getting upped from $18 to $36 on 9/9, which is quite a bit higher than the competition. In order to justify this price bump, Sprint is cleverly instructing employees to remind customers that they are saving as much as $40 per month over the competitors' plans and they have "truly unlimited' data.

To round out this bit of not-so-good news, Sprint will also be getting rid of the one-year contract option, leaving you with the all-or-nothing decision like most other carriers. Honestly, I don't see this as a major change, as most people opt for the two-year agreement anyway.

So, what say you, Sprintsters? How do you feel about these changes?

Thanks, Captain Anonymous!

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Tommy

    The $36 charge seems a little excessive....

    • Coldman

      For upgrades - no kidding. Upgrades should be freaking free, wtf. I always call them to revert the charge and they always do it.

      • Lamar

        So what do you do when you call them? I will be upgrading my phone this weekend and I don't want to pay that upgrade fee.

  • mike

    Other than the $36 upgrade fee, I don't see this as much of a big deal. Especially when your on a network with the best unlimited data plans.

  • Mastermind26

    All this to be JUST LIKE all the other carriers or is it because the stoopid icrap is coming over to the network?

  • Matt

    I don't see any reason for any kind of "upgrade tax" but it's usually waived if you purchase online.

    • Coldman

      I got an EVO 3D from Wirefly recently and it came with this fee. Though, I don't think it was ever collected actually, even though Wirefly said it would be.

  • mrk

    Well, there's not really any positive in this for me. I had figured that Sprint couldn't keep their prices this low once they'd gotten more customers, so this isn't exactly surprising. Still sucks, though. Not really helping themselves out in the eyes of the public.

  • James

    Well, these aren't exactly good changes -- higher ETF, higher upgrade fee, fewer contract options. I guess that's why the first page image says "Now, here's why it's still great to be a Sprint customer" and starts the justification for making things worse for the consumer.

    It seems like the ETF change, to match other carriers, is not as bad as the upgrade fee, which will be "quite a bit higher" than other carriers. They should have gone to a match on that, too. But upgrades only happen every 1-2 years, so it shouldn't be a huge issue. There should be longer term cost savings (and really unlimited data, for now at least), but that up-front price increase on an upgrade is still kind of annoying. As for one-year contracts, I didn't even realize they offered them. Everything seems to require two-year contracts.

  • chris

    uh oh where is dick yarrell who said sprint would never do this. Next will be unlimited data. hahaha

  • Ddgarcia05

    Soon they'll do away with unlimited Internet in prep of the new iphone customers. To bad their network speeds still suck. At least locally they do.

    • Shannon Weirich

      They suck in my recent part of Oregon, and did where I lived in Tenn. So I am sure it is probably a great Sprint trend everywhere.

  • Ted

    Would this be grounds for breaking a contract early without penalty through the "material adverse" clause?

    • Ray

      Very good question. I'm very frustrated that the reason I came to Sprint was the very differential to their competition, which they nearly ERASED with these changes. The only thing left is unlimited data. Did they have to make their service mirror the inferior service of competitors just because the inferior devices (iphones) are coming over along with the throngs of idiots who own them?

  • Ray

    I have been weighing the benefit of buying devices at full price vs. New contracts when upgrading. This definitely pushes me off the fence. I'm not signing a new contract with a carrier ever again. This change shows that they do not have the confidence in their products to keep me based on the merits alone of phone+ service, or doubt that abillity going forward in the face of a changing competitive landscape. I'll purchase my freedom at the device level... That is to say, my freedom to change carriers as I see fit when opponents offer me a substantial reason to do so.

    • Josh

      I understand the reason behind the raises. I work for a competitor of Sprints and understand that with customers getting new devices they also require a lot of 1 on 1 time for learning the new gadgets (upgrade fee). I also understand the raise in the smartphone term fee due to the retail prices on these devices going up and consumers continually wanting everything for free. I mean come on... we have handheld devices that are almost as powerful as our desktop computers 5 years ago (1 ghz dual core and 2 gb ram that also reach towers 5 miles away and transfer data almost as fast as dsl.) On the flip side... to say that they are doing this to match competitors is just dumb. My company does not make you resign contracts when you get new phones... there is no "upgrade fee" and our term fee is not capped at $100.... it can be as low as $7.50 (one month out). They are changing because times are changing and the company is losing money. Instead of standing out and being different they have decided to cut costs and conform. My 2 cents... let me know if you have anything else to add or any questions :-)

  • Crystal from NY

    Me NO like.... :(

  • Armando

    What's the point of buying a phone off contract if the phone only works with the carrier its made for? The only way I can see it being beneficial is if you buy a GSM phone and then you can jump between at&t and T-Mobile

  • http://www.sndplace.com SNDplace

    the fees aren't that big of a deal... And if we didn't call after every upgrade and have them remove the upgrade fee to begin with( me included it this year) maybe they wouldn't have found the need to raise it. I for one will glady pay the fee for my GSII E4GT ...

  • Jack

    I had considered switching. Selected a plan with unlimited data and it turned out that "unlimited data" = NO DATA if you have a smartphone. You have to pay an additional $10/month/phone for any data at all, even though "unlimited data" is included with the plan.

  • SMK

    I was almost about to switch from VZ for the GS2 , but now I'll keep waiting for the Prime on VZ , good luck with getting new customers now Sprint !

  • crunchysoft

    Does the move from 1 year upgrades affect Premier Customers who get offered a full ($150) upgrade on the main line?

  • bob the builder

    Considering there "upgrade" meaning costing people more money is still better then any option in canada.
    Its horrible here compared to these changes.

    Pretty much every cell phone provider if you cancel early for any reason , 20 dollars a month , min 100 , max 400. Data plan is 20 dollars a month as well , max 100 dollars.
    You can only either get a 3 year contract or no contract , but the phone costs 500 plus dollars without a contract.

    Can i get some Spirit up in canada?

  • dc

    can someone explain to me what the "upgrade fee" actually is for? is it nothing? like the installation fee for cable/DSL when there's nothing to do onsite? just a fee for the sake of ripping people off? i understand that someone on the back end has to change MSID associated to the service, but what else? is that alone a $36 or even $18 task?

    they are, of course, making this change just prior to the release of the Galaxy S2 as they did with the original EVO and the new $10/mo smartphone charge because they're about to reap huge sales.

    • Josh

      I believe the upgrade fee is there because many people require a lot more "set-up" time when getting smartphones. Data addition at this point is around 60%. I know where I work (not Sprint).. we pride ourselves in giving a Great customer experience and that typically means answering all questions and answering some that the customer did not even think of. This all takes much more time than upgrading from a basic flip to another basic flip. (although we don't have a $36 upgrade fee :-P ) Associates are also paid commission and hourly and I'm guessing this helps their budget due to you upgrading your phone typically does not bring them more revenue.

  • aj

    Not as big of a deal as giving customers a once a year upgrade, then taking it away by bumping them down to the 'premier silver tier'. THAT was bullshit.

  • Brandon

    When it comes time to upgrade, Sprint should just tell customers that they'll be getting a $110 credit as opposed to a $150 credit. That's if you factor in that silly upgrade fee. I mean why tell us that we'll be getting $150 credit and then rape us with that stupid fee. Ass backwards if you ask me.

  • Murf

    [The upgrade fee is also getting upped from $18 to $36 on 9/9]
    wit a minute... What is the upgrade fee? Im not the sharpest tool in the shed, and am new to this crap. xD so what is this fee to begin with? They are charging us after our contract i up to upgrade our phone? I dont even know what your talking about here lol.. I do know that because they are releasing the stupid iphone 5, they will use this unlimited data plan to attract customers and then like the other ones, will cap it. Im paying for 4G right now and there isnt a single 4g antenna in my half of my state! In the next 3 months there are no new networks with 4g going up around here anyways, yet they use this 4G as a selling point and dont say there is no actual 4g here!

  • http://www.123bargains.com Jen @ 123bargains

    Does this change in terms of the contract allow the current users to get out of the current contract?

  • Angela

    Is it legal for them to change our contract terms in mid contract? I don't see how it is. I'm also not happy with no notification of these changes. I would have cancelled before the hike in early termination costs. Not to mention, I wouldn't have upgraded to the Evo Shift had I known that I wouldn't be able to upgrade the following year.

  • Ravyn Parrish

    So If Your Trying To Upgrade Your Phone Early All You Have To Pay Is $36 ?

    • $55185754

      well if you get a free phone which is usually an older outdated model, all you would pay is 36. but if you are upgrading to get the latest phone lets say it is 500, the upgrade would make it 200, plus 36, plus tax- around 15-20 dollars.