... you cannot look at a wireless advertisement or walk into a wireless retail store nowadays without being bombarded with the term 4G and if you walk into a T-Mobile store, all you see is "unlimited 4G" and last I heard, T-Mobile was finally beginning to add subscribers just as Clearwire has been doing better than Verizon all year using EXACTLY the same marketing terminology.
You can talk about I-phone, LTE, HSPA+, etc. all you want and all you'll do is muddy the water in the mind of the average handset buyer who DOESN'T have the depth of knowledge that the average poster on this board has. All the data supports the notion that "unlimited 4G" is the terminology that's selling.
The only bad thing for sprint is that Dan Hesse has been eliminating unlimited 4G for all devices except handsets...
... The only explanation for THAT would be that Dan Hesse is taking under-the-table payoffs from Verizon.
Its apparent to me that the variable costs for unlimited data to devices that can consume so much data cost Sprint too much.
If the customer wants all you can eat 4G only data, Clearwire is the choice with its now no-contract plan. The variable cost for them to offer unlimited data is less because their costs are pretty much fixed for a wide range of total data used on their network.
Sprint is trying to improve operating margins. They cannot improve margins by catering to customers that cost more than the revenue they provide.
... are not that punitive. Average use on WiMax via sprint was running somewhere just north of 7Gigs last I saw and the "volume" charges on that to Clearwire amount to very little relative to the overall cost of what Sprint charged for unlimited 4G plans.
I suspect that Hesse was looking at other things besides volume charges. Formost among them was that he doesn't want the aggregate of his 4G subscribers to be inclined to use more data than his wholly-owned LTE solution will be able to accomodate on sprint's skimpy spectrum bands... especially if he's unable to re-allocate the nextel bands in a timely fashion relative to his FD-LTE launch. If all of his 4g subs are data hogs, they'd more likely either have to stay with WiMax where the capacity is ample or they might move to a competitor... and there goes re-capturing the subsidy on the devices where it's applicable.
If Hesse's goal was to work side-by-side with CLWR to achieve success, he would do what it takes to grow the subscriber base and offer clear, fast, high-capacity, wide-band solutions to the oncoming rush of 4G subscribers...
... either he's unable to see that as the winning trend of the future just as it has been in 2011 (less likely) or he's so busy fighting like a child with Clearwire that he won't do the deal and kick Verizon's @zs with a superior, overall solution for the 4G market (most likely).