During Super Bowl LIII, Sprint aired a somewhat creepy ad about robots laughing at a human person. The ad claims that you can pay half as much with Sprint for less than a 1% difference in network reliability.1 That’s quite the claim, creepy robot.
Sprint is one of the top-four cell phone service carriers in the United States, and it’s definitely the most affordable. But the price doesn’t always make up for spotty service across the country.
While Sprint’s coverage isn’t quite the same as what you’d get from Verizon or AT&T, it has gotten much better in the last few years. But unless you live in a major city or suburb, we still recommend choosing a different provider—one that’ll give you full bars (and fast data) in more places.
Sprint unlimited plans
Compared to other major providers, Sprint’s plans are about as cheap as it gets.
Sprint’s biggest selling point is its plan prices—even for unlimited text and data.
If you live in an area where Sprint also offers good coverage (say, a city), then its pricing makes Sprint a pretty compelling choice for bargain shoppers.
It’s also easy to understand the way Sprint’s plans work. Sprint offers only one unlimited plan, so you don’t have to choose between multiple options. If you prefer a prepaid plan, Sprint still gives you a prepaid option with unlimited text and data, or a slightly cheaper prepaid plan with a data cap.
Let’s say you wanted to get a new Samsung Galaxy 9 with your new unlimited Sprint plan. Keep in mind that these prices will be roughly the same with any flagship phone. Here are your options:
The Unlimited plan also gives you 10 GB of mobile hotspot data per month. That means if your Wi-Fi goes down in the middle of a super important project, you can use your phone’s network to power your laptop’s internet connection.
Plus, Sprint gives you HD video streaming even when you’re off Wi-Fi. (Many providers stream at 480p by default and require a higher-tier plan for HD.)
Data caps and speed throttling
How do Sprint unlimited plans compare to the competition?
Okay, Sprint talks a big game about how cheap it is compared to other wireless providers. So let’s compare unlimited plans.
As you can tell, Sprint ends up being cheaper than most of the other carriers out there. Before you get too excited, remember that the cheap price comes at a cost: spotty service. If you live near a big city, then you’re in luck, friend—but rural farmers of the world, you might want to consider one of the other three major carriers.
Looking for international coverage?
Sprint family plans
This is where Sprint really shines.
If you have a family of phone users and you’re looking for a bargain, you should strongly consider Sprint. You get more data for a much cheaper price. Just make sure your kids understand that the coverage won’t be quite as good.
Heck, just make ‘em watch The Blair Witch Project and remind them they probably wouldn’t have cell phone coverage in that scenario. (We’ll take our parent of the year awards now, please.)
Let’s take a look at how Sprint’s family plans compare to other wireless family plans (like Verizon’s plans).
Sprint firmly positions itself on the more affordable end of the wireless spectrum. You can get cheaper family deals with Sprint than you can with Verizon and AT&T. Heck, you can get unlimited data for your family plan for a more affordable price than some Verizon plans with limited data.
It’s the same trade-off you’ll always find with Sprint: affordable prices, spottier service. It’ll all come down to where you and your family live. If you’re confident you’ll get all the service you need in your area, you can get away with a cheap family wireless bill.
Sprint Prepaid plans
Sprint prepaid plans are a little hazy right now. On its website, Sprint says its prepaid plans aren’t available to new customers. Uncool. But if you’re a long-term Sprint customer you can presumably opt for a prepaid wireless plan.
If you’re looking to start a fresh prepaid plan on a new carrier, you’ll want to check out Metro by T-Mobile. Those guys have some of the best prepaid deals out there.
Looking for a super cheap Sprint plan?
Sprint special features
If you travel a lot, then Sprint’s unlimited plans are a pretty good deal for international text and data. You get free texting and data use in most countries—although your speeds will only be around 2G. You’ll also still have to pay voice calls. Still, free text and data overseas is a big perk.
We personally tested out the international text and data feature in a few different parts of Japan. Our speeds weren’t exactly lightning-fast, but coverage was pretty good and we didn’t have many issues with apps and web pages loading.
Free Hulu Limited Commercials plan and other impressive services
Sprint’s unlimited plans come with a free Hulu Limited Commercials plan. That Hulu plan is normally $7.99 per month, and if you already have it, then Sprint can save you that eight bucks.
The only drawback is you have to sign up on your phone (at hulu.com/sprint), and you can access Hulu only either on your phone or while using your phone as a hotspot.
The Unlimited Plus plan gives you a free Tidal music account and a 15 GB LTE hotspot. Go with the Unlimited Premium plan and you’ll get Hulu, Tidal, Lookout (mobile security service), Amazon Prime, and a 50 GB LTE hotspot.
The perks just got real, folks!
Sprint cell phones and devices
Which top phones does Sprint sell?
You’ll find (almost) all the most popular phones at Sprint, including iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. Our only real complaint with Sprint’s phone offerings is that it doesn’t offer Google Pixel phones in store.
If you really want a Pixel but also want Sprint, you can buy an unlocked Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL directly from Google and take it into a Sprint store to get a Sprint UICC card for it. (A UICC card is like a newer version of a SIM card.)
Which top phones does Sprint have?
- iPhone X
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XR
- iPhone 8/8 Plus
- iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Galaxy S9/S9+
- Galaxy S8/S8+
*not a complete list
How good is Sprint performance?
Compared to the other three major mobile service providers, Sprint coverage and speed rank pretty low. It generally comes in third or fourth.
Sprint never comes in first for coverage2,3 or speed4,5 across the country. Studies almost always rank it third or fourth out of the four major providers. But if you live in a place with solid cell phone coverage, you’re in luck, friend.
In the last few years, Sprint has improved its network, so it definitely works better in metro areas than it used to. That said, it doesn’t cover rural areas very well, like some parts of the western United States—especially low-population states like Wyoming and Montana.
Sprint customer service
Like most cell carriers, Sprint has some work to do when it comes to customer service.
Sprint isn’t known for having amazing customer service. In fact, studies tend to rank it behind even the other major wireless carriers: Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.6
In our own interactions with Sprint’s customer service, we’ve had a positive experience overall. We got quick responses from Sprint via Twitter, and when we talked with one of its chat representatives, they gave us helpful answers about data throttling (yes, it happens) . Our only complaint was that chat responses were a little slow. (Hurry up, Brad!)
That said, experiences in actual Sprint stores can vary because Sprint stores are franchised. If you buy a phone at one Sprint store, you just can’t take it to any other Sprint store for a return or exchange. The stores have to be owned by the same franchise to work together, and there’s no way for consumers to know ahead of time whether or not they are.
In the future, we’d like to see Sprint improve its chat response times and let customers access the same services in any Sprint store they walk into.
Does Sprint have overage charges or hidden fees?
Sprint charges government taxes and a couple of surcharges on every monthly bill. That’s pretty normal for a major provider.
When you sign up for Sprint, you’ll also have to pay a $30 activation fee per line. That’s also pretty normal for major carrier, and it’s lower than AT&T’s $45 activation fee.
Don’t want to pay the fee?
Sprint waives it if you sign up for your plan and buy your phone online.
Recap—Is Sprint good?
Sprint’s prices are lower than many other big-name providers. As for everything else, there’s room for improvement.
Sprint’s done a pretty good job of expanding its coverage and speeding up its service in metro areas over the past few years, but it still ranks behind other major carriers for coverage, speed, and customer service.
If you want a cheap cell carrier with decent service—and you live in a metro or suburban area—then Sprint is a pretty good choice. But if you live in a rural area, or somewhere else Sprint just has poor coverage, then Sprint’s affordability might not be worth the frustration of spotty service.
- Plans: Sprint’s plans are affordable and easy to understand. Its Unlimited plans are a pretty good deal, especially considering it has free international text and data. And depending on your plan, you get a boatload of free service add-ons.
- Coverage: Sprint definitely falls behind Verizon and AT&T when it comes to coverage, but it’s comparable to T-Mobile.
- Speed: Sprint ranks dead last against other providers when it comes to speed.
- Customer service: Sprint has some major work to do on its overall customer service scores, but our own interactions with it were fine.
Overall: Sprint is affordable and has some winning perks, but whether it’s worth it depends entirely on where you live and if Sprint has good service in your area.
Q: I already own a phone—can I still sign up for Sprint?
Yes. You can most likely transfer your existing phone over to Sprint service as long as it’s unlocked from your previous carrier.
Q: Can you make international calls with Sprint?
Yes, although Sprint’s free international coverage only includes text and data—not calls. If you want to make international calls, you’ll likely need to add international calling to your current plan. Exact rates depend on which country you want to call. You can check plan prices here.
Q: Can I keep my phone number?
Yes, Sprint allows you to transfer your phone number over from another carrier. You just have to provide some information during the checkout process, like your address and your old account number.
Q: Can I transfer my contacts to my new phone?
Yes, you can use a cloud storage service like Google Contacts or iCloud to save your contact information in your current phone and download it onto your new device.
1. OpenSignal, “Sprint Coverage Map”
2. RootMetrics, “Sprint Coverage Map”
3. OpenSignal, “Speed Rankings”
4. RootMetrics, “Speed Rankings”
5. J.D. Power, “2018 Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study”