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Old 01-14-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
thesonofgray
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RIM FAQ: BlackBerry Data Plans

If you have any questions about BlackBerry Data Plan options not answered here, please post them in the BlackBerry Forum. All information listed below is current as of January 2008.

Important Terms and Acronyms

BB = BlackBerry
PAM = Phone as a Modem - the ability to use your BB device to connect to the internet on your computer
BIS = BlackBerry Internet Service
BES = BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Most common BlackBerry questions:

Can I get a BB unit as a phone only without a BB data plan?

Yes. Using the voice feature on your BB device (sending and receiving calls) does not require a BB data plan or any Sprint data plan. This type of usage, however, is not officially supported by Sprint and you may be required to add a BB data plan onto your account when purchasing or activating the device. Most users who want a BB device without a data plan, however, have had little trouble doing so.

Which features will not work on my BB without a BB data plan?

The BB data plans, first and foremost, allow you to receive "push" email to your BB device. This feature, along with BB Pin Messaging and the BB Web Browser will not work without a BB data plan.

If you have a regular data plan on your account, many users have been able to access the internet on their BB using a 3rd party browser such as Opera Mini. "Over the Air" downloading is not possible though, so any programs or files you'd like to download off the internet and have on your BB will need to be downloaded on a computer and then synced with your BB device using the included syncing software.

Are the BB data plans compatible with SERO?

Yes, but many Sprint customer service reps not familiar with SERO or BB data plans might have trouble joining the two together. This is due to the fact that Power Vision (PV) is included in both plans and the PV codes can not overlap. It is possible, however, to remove the PV option from SERO and then add the desired BB data plan. A knowledgeable service rep or BB support technician should have no trouble doing this.

Who do I call if I have questions or problems with my BB?

If you have questions regarding adding or removing a BB unit or data plan to your account, you should contact regular customer service (*2 from your Sprint device). If you have technical questions regarding your BB unit or plan, you should contact Sprint's BB Support @ 877-654-9111.

What is BIS and BES?

BIS is the "consumer" option for BlackBerry service. Its main feature is push email from up to 10 ISP's such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc. BES is the business option for BlackBerry service and allows business users to receive push email for their corporate email accounts. If you didn't know what BES was before reading this, you probably won't need it.

I have a Simply Everything Plan; do I need to add anything else to get my BB working?
Simply Everything Plans include BIS, therefore basic BB use (including push email) is included in the price of your plan. BES access, International Data Roaming, and PAM are not included in the plan. If you need any of those features, please contact Sprint to determine the additional charges required to add them to your Simply Everything Plan.
Click here for the Simply Everything Plan FAQ

More answers to common questions continue below...

Sprint BlackBerry data plans currently offered:

Power Vision BB Pack (PVBB)
  • Currently $30 /month
  • BIS
  • No BES
  • Unlimited web browsing
  • Unlimited domestic text messages
  • Unlimited Sprint Navigation
  • Sprint TV (Exclusive for BB 8130)
  • $0.99 wireless music downloads (Exclusive for BB 8130)
  • PAM for $15.00 additional per month
Unlimited BB Email and Web (Unl BES)
  • $49.99 /month (Currently on perpetual sale for $39.99 /month)
  • BIS
  • BES
  • Unlimited domestic text messages for additional $10.00
  • Includes PAM
10MB BB Email and Web (10MB BES)
  • $39.99 /month
  • Same as Unlimited plan but limited to 10MB data transfer
  • $0.001 for each KB of usage over 10MB
Worldwide BB Data Plan (WW BES)
  • $69.99 /month
  • same as Unlimited plan but includes international data roaming
  • PAM included
Brief plans comparison:
  • Unl BES vs. 10MB BES. Only differs in data transfer restriction. Unl BES is currently offered at the same price as the 10MB BES.
  • Unl BES vs. WW BES. $30 more per month and you get international data roaming for no additional charge (you still get voice roaming charges). Also, PAM is definitively included in the WW BES plan.
  • Unl BES vs. PVBB. Unl BES is geared toward business/corporate users with BES and PVBB is geared toward normal consumers. You save $10 on PVBB but you lose BES capability. But with PVBB you gain unlimited text, Sprint Navigation, and, for 8130 users, Sprint TV and Music Store.
Other Common questions concerning BB data plans:

Which Blackberry with which data plan?
You are actually allowed to pick and match any BB unit with any BB data plan. However, if you choose the $30 PVBB plan, the features under "Exclusive for 8130" only apply if you get the plan with a 8130. Those features are simply not available or supported on other BB units.

Sprint Navigation problem?
Technically, all BB units from Sprint have GPS enabled and Sprint Navigation should work on them. Some users have reported problems using the service (such as being asked to pay for it when it is included in the BB data plan), but a call to Sprint's BB Support should help resolve the issue.

Can I get a BB unit with a data plan only but no phone service?
Yes. With the exception of the Power Vision BB Pack, the plans outlined above can be purchased without a voice plan. Voice usage on a BB with only a data plan is charged as follows:
* Voice Usage is $0.20 per minute
* Roaming is $0.69 per minute
* Long Distance is $0.25 per minute
* Direct Connect is $0.20 per minute
Prices for the data plans and the voice usage may vary than those listed above, so contact Sprint for more details.

Which plan should I get?
Question #1, do you need BES? If you answer is yes, PVBB is not an option. 10MB BES is same price as Unl BES so Unl BES is the smart option. If you do not require international data roaming, Unl BES is again the smart option. If you do not need BES, then PVBB is the best value.

I like the PVBB features but which unit should I get?
  • If you want/need Sprint TV and the Sprint Music Store, it is only supported on 8130.
  • For those who frequent court houses, state and federal buildings should opt for the 8830 as it has no camera.
  • For light weight and multimedia usage, choose the 8130.
  • For good price, the 8703e or 7130e are recommended. Those are older units and you should be able to negotiate a good price.
  • The BB 7100i is the only choice if you belong to the Nextel group.
  • The 8830 and 8703e have full QWERTY keyboards while the rest use a 20 button SureType predictive text input method.
Is Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) included and can I do MMS on any of the BB units?
Not at this time. Sprint has disabled this feature from its smartphone devices and doesn't appear to have any plans of changing that. You can, however, attach pictures and files to emails using your BB and any of the BB data plans.

Do I need BES?
Unless your IT guy at work says you do, no. If you don't get your email through an Exchange server then no.

Can I get discounts on BB Data plans?
This is Sprint. Nothing is impossible. But nothing is consistent either. It doesn't hurt to ask for a discount but, generally, Sprint does NOT discount their BB Data Plans.

---

*Thanks to aau007, blinky1979, and everyone else who contributed to the FAQ.

Last edited by NINO63004; 04-08-2008 at 08:27 PM.
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