It's hard to be Sprint these days. Its LTE rollout is lagging way behind the competition, it's losing subscribers and cash fast, and everyone is making fun of its "Framily" plans. That's too bad, but Sprint isn't going to get back in our good graces by charging money for things we already have or don't need in the first place. That's just what it's doing with the new Total Equipment Protection (TEP) Plus plan.

1 2 3

This new type of phone insurance bumps the cost of the most expensive plan by $2 for a total monthly charge of $13. What do you get as part of the TEP Plus plan? I'm glad you asked.

  • Automatically back up and secure data
  • Identify threats with built-in antivirus and privacy protection
  • Access monitoring and optimization tools to maximize battery life and improve a phone’s overall performance (Android only)
  • Remotely find a phone from the secure web portal using GPS or lock and erase personal information from a missing phone (lock is Android only)
  • Provide one-click direct access to a tech expert for premium support to address any smartphone issue – no matter how simple or complex.

These features are all built into the Sprint Protect app in Google Play. The basic backup and device location features are included with all TEP plans, but you need TEP Plus for the rest. I feel the need to point out that Android Device Manager does all the tracking/wipe stuff, Google+ backs up photos, and Play Services includes malware detection. That's all free and already works on Android devices. Oh, but there's the device tune-up feature in TEP Plus... well, I'm sure that's not snake oil.

4 5

The direct tech support might be of use to some people, but there's no way of knowing what Sprint considers to be an "expert" level of knowledge about Android. TEP Plus also includes all the premium device replacement insurance in the event of loss of damage. You can get that stuff cheaper if you're worried about your phone surviving for two years.

Sprint isn't going after you with the new plan – it wants your mom to sign up. Do your mom a favor and don't let that happen.