Choosing the right wireless phone plan used to be pretty straightforward. Choice can be paralyzing, especially when carriers seem hell-bent on making the process as complex as possible, but doing some research can help make those choices work for you. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of Sprint and T-Mobile and the varied plan options on offer. Also, be sure to play around with the handy calculator and rate comparison tool above, which will give you a better idea of how each carrier compares for your purposes.
If you and several of your friends and family are looking to sign up to a Shared Plan, or Family plan, then you’re probably considering either T-Mobile or Sprint; the former because of its excellent reputation for low-prices, and the latter because of its flexible Family Share plans with competitive pricing. But which of the two really deserves your business?
Price aside, there is a key difference between these plans. Sprint plans pool all included data together, so if one family member is a big data hog, they can use some of the data another family member won’t make use of. Everyone is throttled to 2G speeds once the pool is empty. T-Mobile on the other hand doesn’t pool data, each line get 10GB to use and only this user is throttled to 2G speeds when they reach these limits.
Sprint is almost always the cheapest on a base level. That’s largely in part because of their wonky lease deals and attempts at grabbing your attention while the rest of the industry continues to reel in customers. T-Mobile is close behind them in terms of pricing, mostly because of promo deals like their new family plan.
Sprint and T-Mobile offer individual plans that vary wildly in price and data allotments. As a rule of thumb, you’ll spend more for less data on other carriers, while you can get more data for less money on Sprint and T-Mobile. Both Sprint and T-Mobile also offer so-called “unlimited” data, but you have to watch out. Only T-Mobile’s most expensive plan has truly unlimited 4G LTE high-speed data, while lower-priced plans throttle your speeds down after you’ve hit a data cap. Sprint’s unlimited plans don’t have a catch, but its 4G LTE network is the slowest of all the major carriers, and its 3G network is much slower than T-Mobile’s.
Sprint customers have their pick of phones. Top-of-the-line Android devices from HTC and Samsung, Apple’s latest iPhone, Windows phones, BlackBerrys, tablets and mobile hotspots are all are available, either online or at Sprint stores. Sometimes, no matter how a cell phone plan might compare financially, it hamstrings you when it comes time to pick a device.
If new phones are too expensive for you, T-Mobile offers refurbished options that are easy on your wallet. You can even bring your own SIM-card-compatible phone to the carrier, transferring your existing number and taking advantage of T-Mobile’s rates. You are only be responsible for buying a new $10 SIM card so your phone can access the network.
Sprint definitely upped the ante with its incredible Family Share Pack and and has a lot of great offers compared to the rest. Of course, Sprint’s deals come with a lot more data than those of T-Mobile, so if you’ve got a big family that uses a lot of data, Sprint’s the winner here. However, if you abide by our data chart, you’ll find that 20GB of data isn’t really necessary for most people, so the extra data might be a moot point. T-Mobile’s offering of Music Freedom, Data Stash, and Binge On are also valuable offers that definitely tip the score towards them.
Sprint may have been recently overtaken by T-Mobile in terms of the number of new net customer additions. But at least Sprint can claim that it is better than its close rival in one aspect — overall quality and of network coverage, at least according to the results of RootMetrics’ latest survey. But as indicated in RootMetrics’ latest study, it appears that Sprint has made some significant improvements. Major credit goes to the carrier’s Sprint Spark initiative, which has really produced some good results in enhancing the overall quality of its network.