Sprint vs. AT&T Phone Plans Review

Sprint might have low plan prices, but AT&T offers better coverage, speed, and perks.
Best overall
Better coverage
High price
Best for price
Lower price
Spotty service

Overview

Sprint and AT&T used to have totally opposite benefits. Sprint was super cheap, but it had spotty service, and AT&T was super pricey, but it had good coverage. Now, Sprint’s prices have gotten a bit higher and AT&T has started offering better benefits. So which one is the real (good) deal?

If you want the absolute lowest monthly bill possible—especially for family plans— then Sprint is still your friend. But AT&T will give you more bang for your extra bucks.

Sprint vs. AT&T unlimited plan pricing and features*

PlansPrice*Unthrottled dataMobile hotspot dataLearn more
Sprint Unlimited Basic$60/mo.50 GB500 MBView plan
Sprint Unlimited Plus$70/mo.50 GB15 GBView plan
Sprint Unlimited Premium$90/mo.50 GB50 GBView plan
AT&T Unlimited &More$70/mo.Data may be throttled at anytimeNoneView plan
AT&T Unlimited &More$80/mo.22 GB15 GBView plan

* Includes autopay and paperless billing discounts. Pricing for 1 line.

Sprint vs. AT&T prices

Sprint has lower prices, but AT&T’s Unlimited &More Premium plan comes with a bunch of benefits for TV and music lovers.

If you look at the bare numbers, it might seem like AT&T’s and Sprint’s unlimited plans cost about the same.

After all, Sprint’s higher-priced plan and AT&T’s lower-priced plan are the exact same price. And if your kids and your partner are all on your plan, then AT&T’s Unlimited &More is even a little cheaper.

Sprint vs. AT&T unlimited plan pricing for multiple lines*

Plan1 line2 lines3 lines4 lines
Sprint Unlimited Basic$60/mo.$100/mo.$120/mo.$140/mo.
Sprint Unlimited Plus$70/mo.$120/mo.$150/mo.$180/mo.
Sprint Unlimited Premium$90/mo.$160/mo.$210/mo.$260/mo.
AT&T Unlimited &More$70/mo.$120/mo.$140/mo.$160/mo.
AT&T Unlimited &More Premium$80/mo.$150/mo.$170/mo.$190/mo.

* Includes autopay and paperless billing discounts.

But AT&T is at its best if you go for the Unlimited &More Premium plan. The regular Unlimited &More gives you zero guaranteed amounts of LTE data. That means AT&T can slow down your favorite YouTube video any time the network gets busy.

On the other hand, Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan gives you an impressively high amount of full-speed data per month, which is great if you just want to watch Netflix in the dentist waiting room without waiting for it to buffer every two seconds. Plus you get a mobile hotspot allowance.

Say what about AT&T Unlimited &More Premium?

Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan might look pretty good right now, but don’t sign on just yet. AT&T’s Unlimited &More Premium plan costs more every month, but the extra perks might save you money in the long run.

Money icon

AT&T for the win

If you like watching live TV and you pay for a streaming service every month, AT&T can kill that bill. It gives you access to the WatchTV app with over 30 (pretty good) live channels.

To be fair, AT&T’s Unlimited &More plan also gives you WatchTV app access. But if you pay the higher price for the Unlimited &More Premium, then you also get a single additional premium channel (or music service) included in your plan price.

Extra channel options with AT&T Unlimited &More Premium

  • HBO
  • CINEMAX
  • SHOWTIME
  • STARZ
  • VRV

Music streaming options with AT&T Unlimited &More Premium

  • Amazon Music
  • Pandora Premium

If you already pay for one of those services, then AT&T Unlimited &More premium can save you a bit of money every month. (Maybe even enough to put the Unlimited &More Premium price on par with Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan).

AT&T plans perks and benefits comparison

FeaturesAT&T Unlimited &MoreAT&T Unlimited &More Premium
WatchTV app accessYesYes
Premium channel or music subscriptionYesYes
DIRECTV discountYesYes
DIRECTV NOW discountNoYes*
Learn moreView planView plan

* Discount applies to either DIRECTV or DIRECTV NOW but not both. 

What perks does Sprint offer?

Sprint has a few tricks up its sleeves as well. If you already pay for a Hulu account, then you can kiss that cost goodbye. Sprint includes a Hulu subscription in both its unlimited plans.

Sprint plans perks and benefits comparison

FeaturesSprint Unlimited BasicSprint Unlimited PlusSprint Unlimited Premium
Hulu Limited Commercials subscriptionYesYesYes
Unlimited data and texting in most countriesYesYesYes
Included subscriptionsHuluHulu, Tidal Hulu, Tidal, Lookout, Amazon Prime
Learn moreView planView planView plan

The downside to the Hulu joy is you can watch it only on your phone or a device that’s connected to your Sprint account. That means you can’t just log in to Hulu and stream Last Man on Earth on your TV or tablet, which is a pretty weird stipulation. It’s also the Limited Commercials Hulu plan, which includes ads.

Sprint also has some extra perks, like unlimited data and texting in most countries, plus a Tidal Premium subscription for Unlimited Plus and many other perks for Unlimited Premium.

AT&T vs. Sprint performance

AT&T has better performance than Sprint on basically every front, including coverage and speed. 

The prize for very best coverage in the country almost always goes to Verizon.1 But second place belongs to AT&T. Sprint, on the other hand, is usually hanging out down in fourth place (out of four providers), so you could say it doesn’t have the best service—and you’d be right.

AT&T vs. Sprint coverage

If you want the best possible coverage, then AT&T is where it’s at. Studies consistently rank AT&T’s coverage nearly on the same level as Verizon’s and definitely better than Sprint’s.2,3

Sprint has been working on its network over the last few years, and its coverage has gotten better—but AT&T’s is still so high above it, it’s not really a contest. That said, Sprint does have some areas where its service works really well, and if you live in one of those areas, then you might not even notice a difference from AT&T.

Drag the cursor to compare coverage from AT&T and Sprint.

AT&T vs. Sprint speeds

AT&T’s speeds are not necessarily as good as its coverage. Studies basically never rank AT&T first for speed,4 and sometimes it’s not even second.5 It may not be the fastest carrier in the land, but it is at least faster than Sprint.

Light Bulb icon

Data tip

Sprint might be slower than AT&T to begin with, but it does give you twice the amount of full-speed data you’d get with AT&T Unlimited &More Premium. Sprint gives you 50 GB of LTE data while AT&T’s higher-priced plan gives you only 22 GB.

Sprint always ranks dead last for speed,6,7 and that probably won’t change any time soon. So if you want phone service that will let you play Super Mario Run without glitching, then of the two, AT&T is your best shot.

AT&T vs. Sprint phones

AT&T and Sprint offer almost exactly the same phones. You can get the top smartphone models from either company. 

Neither Sprint nor AT&T has Google Pixels in its in-store stock, but other than that, their phone offerings are essentially the same. Both have the latest smartphone models, both carry top brands, and both cost about the same.

If you desperately want a Google Pixel or Pixel 2, you can purchase an unlocked phone elsewhere and use it on either network.

Which top phones do AT&T and Sprint have?

MakeAT&TSprint
iPhoneX, 8/8 plus, 7/7 plus, SEX, 8/8 plus, 7/7 plus, SE
SamsungGalaxy S9/S9+, S8/S8+, Note8Galaxy S9/S9+, S8/S8+, Note8
GoogleBring your ownBring your own
Learn moreShop phonesShop phones

*Not a complete list

Recap—Should you choose AT&T or Sprint?

In short: you should choose AT&T.

AT&T’s Unlimited &More Premium plan has better perks, better coverage, and better speeds than Sprint. The only downside is AT&T costs a bit more, but if you take advantage of all those perks, then the price might be even lower than Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan.

AT&T or Sprint?

Best overallCheapest
ATT Logosprint logo
View plansView plans

Sprint works well for people who live in a good service area and want a cheap phone plan that will still give them benefits like unthrottled data and international coverage. But overall, AT&T is an obvious choice.

When should you pick Sprint or AT&T?

    • Budgeters: Sprint’s prices can be lower, but it’s not a huge difference, and sometimes AT&T even comes out cheaper.
    • Travelers: Sprint includes international texting and data in its plans, while AT&T does not. But AT&T does have better global coverage and unlimited talk to Canada and Mexico. If you travel a lot, you may also want to add an international plan.
    • Data lovers: AT&T might have better coverage and speeds, but it can’t beat Sprint’s generous amount of fast LTE data. Sprint gives you more than twice the amount of unthrottled data you’d get from AT&T.
    • Country dwellers: AT&T has much better coverage than Sprint, especially in more rural places.
    • Speed lovers: AT&T outranks Sprint for speed (although T-Mobile is even faster).8

Sources

1. RootMetrics, “Mobile Performance in the US Part 1: Performance across the Entire US – 2H 2017”
2. OpenSignal, “State of Mobile Networks: USA (January 2018)”
3. RootMetrics, “Mobile Performance in the US Part 1: Performance across the Entire US – 2H 2017”
4. RootMetrics, “Mobile Performance in the US Part 1: Performance across the Entire US – 2H 2017”
5. OpenSignal, “The 4G Battle Continues between T-Mobile and Verizon”
6. 1. RootMetrics, “Mobile Performance in the US Part 1: Performance across the Entire US – 2H 2017”
7. OpenSignal, “State of Mobile Networks: USA (January 2018)”
8. OpenSignal, “The 4G Battle Continues between T-Mobile and Verizon”