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Sprint nixes unlimited 4G data plan for tablets, netbooks

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(Read caption) Sprint is ending 4G data plans for netbooks, notebooks, and tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, shown here.

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Sprint this week announced it would cut unlimited 4G data plans for tablets, laptops, USB cards, notebooks, and basically anything else that isn't a smartphone. In a message posted to the customer support section of its site, Sprint said 4G usage will now be billed – along with 3G service – at three different tiers: 3 gigabytes, 5 GB, and 10 GB. Exceed the limit, and you'll be charged five cents per megabyte.

So what accounts for the switch-up? Well, over at PC World, Stephen Lawson points to a recent Credit Suisse survey, which showed mobile networks in the US were running, on average, at 80 percent of capacity. Carriers, Lawson writes, "have been moving away from unlimited plans as the amount of data flowing over mobile networks has grown dramatically and showed no signs of slowing down."

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