When service plan details were announced for the HTC EVO 4G and Sprint confirmed that its $10/month premium data add-on would be required to use the handset, regardless of whether customers lived in an area with 4G coverage, many people were outraged. Some complained in forums, some put their email conversations with Sprint online, and others created petitions. While these acts of protest are unlikely to cause Sprint to change its mind about the fee, it's clear that many prospective EVO buyers are unhappy and may not buy the device unless the add-on only applies to people who live in 4G areas.
And now AndroidGuys has added fuel to the fire by revealing that Qik's video chat feature could cost an additional $5 per month [Update 5/29: Video chatting will be free]. Qik isn't the only app with video chat functions, of course, so it should be an optional charge (like the use of the Sprint Mobile Hotspot). Even so, the HTC EVO seems to be following the path laid out a few years ago by Archos, who began selling plug-ins for features that most agreed should've been included on its portable media players.
What do you think of the mandatory and optional monthly costs associated with the HTC EVO?
A friend of mine (and a fellow HTC EVO owner) had this to say about the premium data add-on and mobile hotspot plan:
"It's amazing how many people are crying over the $10 charge for data on the EVO when it gets you the only true uncapped 3G and 4G service in the US. For $40 a month, you can get a completely unlimited-use mobile broadband hotspot that would normally cost $60 a month on an OverDrive, and even then the 3G option would be capped at 5GB."
Another friend (and not an HTC EVO owner) said this:
"Sprint may as well have given the phone for free if they're going to make you pay for all of that. If they're going to gouge customers like that, then they should've made the phone free with a contract. Then people wouldn't complain too much. It's really unfair for people without 4G to be forced to pay an extra $120 per year for something they can't ever use."
Before I bought my EVO from eBay and ended up with a month of free service, I had always intended to buy the phone off-contract and use it as a WiFi-only MID. I'm already using it on WiFi most of the time anyway, so even when the free service period expires, I don't think I'll end up having to deal with any of this.
To me, fair or not, the pricing scheme is what it is. If you want the EVO, then you need to accept the costs that come with it. I think that if Sprint called the premium data add-on something else, then fewer people would be up in arms about it. As my first friend said, that $10 monthly fee gets you truly unlimited 3G and 4G data. Even if you don't live in a 4G area, getting unlimited 3G on your phone for an extra $10 isn't a bad deal.
What do you think?