Sprint lowers data prices for non-phone gadgets

Sprint Nextel tweaked the cost Monday of its mobile data plans — not for smartphones, but for the other gadgets that hitch a ride on its network.

The Overland Park-based carrier had previously charged $60 for 5 gigabytes of data a month. Now it’s charging slightly less for slightly more data: $50 a month for 6 gigabytes. For 10 gigabytes, the company had charged $90 for 10 gigabytes. Now it’s charging $80 for 12 gigabytes of data.

For tablets, which can be signed up for smaller data packages, Sprint had been charging $20 a month for 1 gigabyte. But that was for 3G, or the carrier’s third generation network. only. The new plans all apply for access to both 3G and 4G networks, assuming a consumer’s devices is compatible with both, and is available only for electronic tablets. One gigabyte still goes for $20 a month.

Finally, Sprint now offers 3 gigabytes of data a month — a plan available for tablets and mobile hotspots, but not netbooks or plug-in devices for laptops — for $35 a month. Previously, a comparable plan ran between $35 and $45 depending on whether a customer had a Sprint phone.

The changes do not affect charges for data plans on smartphones. Sprint remains the last national carrier with data plans that allow unlimited data on its own network. Sprint touted the new pricing as less expensive than its chief competitors, Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Sprint’s prices tend to run cheaper than its rivals, but picking out the least expensive option can lead consumers to different carriers depending on their usage.