Sprint Review

The third-largest cellular provider in the country, Sprint service offers some of the most generous cell phone plans available. While it’s not quite as fast or widely available as AT&T or Verizon Wireless, it’s a strong competitor for anyone looking for a good family plan: Sprint’s introductory offer for its Unlimited Plus plan is $22 a month per line for five lines. As long as your address falls within its coverage area, you’ll be hard pressed to find a carrier that can beat its generous unlimited family plans. Speeds are reduced after 50 GB of data usage for its unlimited plans — a lot more than some competitors’ 22 GB caps, so if you think you’ll be pushing against that 22 GB data cap, consider Sprint instead.

The Claim

Sprint says its download speeds are “faster than ever.”

Is It True?

Yes. With average 4G LTE download speeds of up to 6-8 Mbps, it is a little slower than competitors, but it’s an improvement for Sprint. According to RootMetrics, an independent network testing firm, Sprint ranks third for overall performance after Verizon Wireless and AT&T, respectively. Ranking third among the top carriers is impressive, especially since it isn’t as widely available as Verizon and AT&T. The major areas it lags behind are in network speed and data performance (in these categories, it falls to fourth behind T-Mobile). Sprint’s speeds shouldn’t be a deterrent for most people — they’re still enough to stream video and browse the web.

Product Overview

Best for

Unlimited family plans

Not for

Faster speeds and strong performance

Sprint Features

Price per single line

$40-$70 per month
Available plans
Sprint Forward 4 GB
Sprint Forward Unlimited
Unlimited Basic
Unlimited Plus

Data range
4 GB - unlimited
Data caps for unlimited plans
Speeds slow at 50 GB

Number of states served
RootMetrics overall performance score of 87.7
Standout features

Free Hulu subscription with Unlimited Plus
Free Tidal subscription with Unlimited Plus
$5 AutoPay discount
500 MB-15 GB mobile hotspots on unlimited plans
No credit check for Sprint Forward
Early termination fee
Up to $350 for smartphones and up to $200 for other devices (per line). Prorated by months remaining in contract.

Impressive unlimited family plans

Sprint is one of the best carriers for family plans. At this time, you can get five lines for $22 a month per line on Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan. This is an impressive deal considering its Unlimited Plus plan comes with a lot of bonuses like streaming in HD, a 15 GB LTE mobile hotspot and a Tidal music streaming subscription. At such an affordable price, the Unlimited Plus plan is a great option for families that use a lot of data and love streaming their favorite shows and music.

Free Hulu and Tidal subscriptions with Unlimited plans

If you’re a big TV fan, you’ll like that Sprint’s Unlimited Basic and Unlimited Plus plans come with a Hulu subscription. This gives you access to Hulu’s huge collection of TV shows and its original programming. Plus, if you go with Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan, you’ll also get a Tidal music streaming subscription. Already subscribing to one or both services? Either of Sprint’s unlimited plans would be a good pick — you can save some money and have one (or two) less bills to worry about.

No credit check for Sprint Forward

If you’re looking for a less expensive option, Sprint has prepaid phone plans. Starting at $40 per month, you can get 4 GB of data and unlimited talk and text. For $60 per month for a single line, Sprint offers an unlimited prepaid plan. Even better, there’s no credit check required.

50 GB data cap for unlimited plans

No unlimited plan is truly “unlimited.” This is true across all cell phone carriers. Even if carriers don’t charge overage fees on unlimited plans, they will slow service when you reach a certain amount of data. Both AT&T and Verizon Wireless start throttling data for their unlimited plans at 22 GB (Note: Verizon’s Above Unlimited Plan doesn’t start throttling data until you exceed 75 GB). Sprint doesn’t begin deprioritizing data until you reach 50 GB. This is pretty generous compared to its top competitors. With Sprint, you can enjoy a bit more wiggle room on your data usage throughout the month.

Possible Drawbacks

Reliability and coverage not as strong as competitors

RootMetrics puts Sprint in third place for overall performance with a rating of 87.8. Comparatively, Verizon’s in first place with a rating of 95.0 and AT&T is in second place with a rating of 92.8. There’s a pretty significant drop between AT&T’s rating and Sprint’s when compared to the 2.2 point difference between Verizon and AT&T. This is largely due to Sprint’s not-so-great Network Speed and Data Performance Ratings (77.8 and 87.7, respectively). These ratings put Sprint in fourth place for these categories, behind T-Mobile. Average 4G LTE speeds are around 6-8 Mbps, which aren’t that bad. But if speed and data performance are deal breakers, then you might want to consider a faster carrier.

The Competition

Verizon Wireless

Price per single line
$40-$70 per month

$30-$95 per month

$45-$80 per month

$45-$95 per month

Available plans

Sprint Forward 4 GB
Sprint Forward Unlimited
Unlimited Basic
Unlimited Plus
500 MB
2 GB
4 GB
5 GB
8 GB
Go Unlimited
Beyond Unlimited
Above Unlimited
1 GB
5 GB
10 GB
20 GB
Unlimited & More
Unlimited & More Premium

4 GB
6 GB
10 GB
T-Mobile ONE Prepaid
10 GB No Credit Check Plan
T-Mobile ONE
T-Mobile ONE Plus
T-Mobile ONE Plus International
Data range
4 GB-unlimited

2 GB-unlimited

1 GB-unlimited

4 GB-unlimited
Data caps
50 GB on unlimited plans
22 GB on Beyond Unlimited
75 GB on Above Unlimited

22 GB on unlimited plans

50 GB on unlimited plans

entertainment service included

Hulu subscription (with both unlimited plans)
Tidal subscription (with Unlimited Plus)
AT&T WatchTV (with both unlimited plans)
Choice of additional subscription service (with Unlimited & More Premium)

Netflix subscription (with T-Mobile One)

Unlimited talk and text

RootMetrics overall performance score

Sprint vs. Verizon Wireless

When it comes to performance, Verizon Wireless is the best carrier around. It’s strong across the board, earning top ratings in each of RootMetrics’ categories. It also offers an extensive variety of data and unlimited plans, giving you plenty of options depending on your needs. However, Verizon’s plans are more expensive than Sprint’s and it includes a much lower data cap (22 GB) for its Beyond Unlimited Plan. Verizon also doesn’t include subscriptions like Hulu or Tidal with any of its plans. For those who want stellar performance, Verizon is the way to go. But if you’re also interested in entertainment perks, it might be worth considering Sprint.

Sprint vs. AT&T

If Sprint’s included Hulu subscription is a big draw, consider AT&T’s subscription deals as well: its Unlimited & More plans include WatchTV (AT&T’s app that comes with 30+ channels of live TV and over 15,000 on-demand movies and shows). AT&T’s Unlimited & More Premium plan also lets you choose one of seven additional streaming services (like HBO GO, Amazon Music or Starz) at no extra charge. If you’re looking to consolidate your phone and cable bills, AT&T has more to offer than Sprint, though it’ll come at a higher monthly cost.

Sprint vs. T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s overall performance is ranked behind Sprint, but only by a hair (RootMetrics rates Sprint at 87.8 and T-Mobile at 86.8). Also, T-Mobile has the same data cap as Sprint with both slowing speeds when you reach 50 GB. With both carriers being pretty similar it really boils down to what additional features you want. T-Mobile offers additional perks like HD streaming and unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi if you upgrade to ONE Plus or ONE Plus International, but that’ll cost you. Its standard T-Mobile ONE plan includes a Netflix subscription and in-flight texting, plus all taxes and fees are rolled into the prices you see online. Consider which features you’ll need the most, plus which one has strongest network coverage in your area, before deciding between T-Mobile and Sprint.

Sprint FAQs

Does Sprint require a credit check for unlimited plans?

Yes. Sprint requires a credit check for both its Unlimited Basic and Unlimited Plus plans. Credit checks are normal across all carriers and are often used to determine if you have to put money down for financed devices. However, Sprint doesn’t require credit checks for its prepaid Sprint Forward plans. If you’re worried about your credit score, consider one of the Sprint Forward plans as an alternative.

Does Sprint have discounts for veterans and U.S. Armed Forces members?

Yes. Sprint offers additional phone lines on its Unlimited Basic plan at 50 percent off for all veterans, active duty and Reserve members. In addition to a discount, Sprint donates $30 to Fisher House Foundation for new customers who belong to the U.S. Armed Forces. For more information on this discount, check here.

What is Sprint Global Roaming?

If you travel internationally, you’ll want affordable data and device access. Sprint Global Roaming gives you “low-speed data” in 165 destinations for free and lets you make calls for 20 cents per minute. This is helpful for those who travel regularly and need to remain connected at all times.

The Bottom Line

Sprint is best for families who want a solid unlimited plan at a reasonable price and added bonuses like Hulu and Tidal subscriptions. Its Sprint Forward plans also offer solid value and don’t require a credit check — a huge plus if you’re working on your score. Though its performance might not be as good as Verizon or AT&T, Sprint is still dependable and includes enough added features to make it a good choice.

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