Explain the EVO 4G $10 fee?

Many members of the press were initially confused when Sprint officially announced the HTC EVO 4G launch date and plan details. Sprint revealed that every EVO customer would have to pay an additional monthly fee of $10 for what they called a "Premium Data add-on".

But what about the customers outside of Sprint's 4G coverage? Should they have to pay the $10 fee if they can't physically access the 4G network?

At first we attributed the extra fee to the 4G data usage, but we later learned the charge was for the device's high-end features like HD video recording, front-facing camera, 4.3" display, 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, and 3G/4G capability. As Sprint puts it on their site, "Because we've boosted your data experience with this phone's amazing services and features, you'll need our $10/mo. Premium Data add-on".

In other words, the EVO can potentially eat up a lot of data and Sprint wants to charge you $10 per month (or $240 over 2-yr contract) for that possibility.

One outspoken customer thinks the fee is unfair and he launched the site Explain the Fee! in order to lobby Sprint to make the add-on optional for those without access to the 4G network. The site suggest different ways that customers can voice their concern like calling Sprint, posting on their forums, and signing an online petition.

The site also documents correspondence between customers and several Sprint reps as they try to explain the fee. One example compares the Premium Data add-on as a first-class seat on an airplane.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but think of this charge as the price for paying for a first-class seat on an airplane. The rich data
experience that comes with EVO ownership puts users in a class by themselves.

With a 4.3" screen, advanced processor and an 8MP camcorder/camera; these features provide capabilities that were previously never available on a wireless device.

This device provides a premium experience like no other and is truly second-to-none. Customers will enjoy unlimited 3G or 4G data with EVO.

Even though some customers are upset with the fee, it does not appear to have slowed down sales one bit. The EVO broke Sprint's single-day sales record and it continues to be sold out everywhere.

Do you think Sprint's $10 EVO fee is justified? Even with the additional charge, Sprint's unlimited everything plans are still cheaper than comparable options on AT&T and Verizon. Should Sprint make the charge optional for customers who use less data or should they maybe switched to a tiered option like AT&T? Should a carrier be allowed to charge a monthly fee for hardware features?

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