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Sprint is offering a new plan they’re calling an “unlimited data plan” for only $20 a month. Unlimited data plans have long been the holy grail of power users, some of which found themselves buying phones outright to keep their grandfathered plan rather than sign a new contract. However, Sprint isn’t using this word the way it’s universally understood.

Sprint’s shady little plan offers a paltry 1GB of LTE data, after which subscribers are shoved down onto 2G networks. That’s right: the mobile equivalent of the 28k modem. A technology so antiquated that it’s expected to be shut down completely sometime in the next two years to make room on the electromagnetic spectrum for services that are actually useable.

The desperate mobile carrier isn’t the first to offer low-cost, low-service plans like this – T-Mobile, for instance, has an almost identical one they call “Simple Choice” -but they are the first carrier to try to spin this bug into a feature by using blatantly misleading language.

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As mentioned previously, the data portion of the plan is only $20 a month, but you’re going to fork over another $20 for unlimited calls and texting. That brings this godawful plan to $40. If you want to stay on LTE rather than bump down to 2G, Sprint’s offering 1GB chunks at $15 a pop. This means if you’re the kind of user who actually needs real unlimited data, by the time you hit 3GB, you might as well have just sprung for Sprint’s actual unlimited plan which runs for $70 a month.

The grungiest thing about all this is how deliberately misinforming it is. If Sprint sets a precedent and is able to start calling an extremely limited plan “unlimited” by just kicking you over to dial-up once you pass a threshold, mobile companies may start throwing around loose language all over the place.

What do you think of this development? Is it fair for Sprint to call this plan unlimited since it is technically unlimited, or is this a case of false advertising?

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