Sprint’s CEO Pokes Hole in His Company’s Ad Campaign

Sprint has been known to claim in commercials that it is the only wireless carrier to offer “truly unlimited data plans.” However, if its own CEO is to be believed, that is, in fact, a false claim.

At an investor conference on Jan. 5, Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse said that the company actually limits the data usage of smartphone customers who consume excessive amounts of data, according to Dow Jones Newswires. “For those that want to abuse it, we can knock them off,” said Hesse. In fact, 1% of Sprint customers who fall under this category of excessive users see their data usage being limited, he continued.

While limiting data usage for such heavy data consumers is a common practice among the major wireless carriers in the U.S., Sprint is the only one that currently airs national ads touting the “true” unlimited nature of its data plan—or, unlimited data without any catches.

Clearly, that is not the case. Was Hesse aware that his statements would amount to a refutation of his company's key branding message? Probably not, and it will be interesting to see how Sprint responds to the inevitable fallout.