Sprint vs. Verizon Phone Plans Review 2020

The choice between Verizon or Sprint depends on whether you want reliable service or a low-cost bill every month.
Best Overall
Excellent coverage
More pricey
Best for the Price
Affordable plans
Weaker coverage
Recent Updates: 3 months ago
The Sprint and T-Mobile merger is complete (RIP, Sprint)! We’re digging into how Sprint’s ride into the sunset affects its current customers, but for folks who wanted to switch to Sprint, you can read our T-Mobile review to learn what we think of T-Mobile, post-merger.

Verizon and Sprint are two big-name providers in the US wireless world—you’ve probably heard of them both before. But people choose either Verizon or Sprint for totally different reasons.

If you never again want to pick up your phone and see that dreaded “No Service” icon, then Verizon is a pretty good bet—it has the best coverage in the country. But you might not feel so great when you see your monthly bill. You’ll like Sprint’s monthly bill much more.

Verizon and Sprint price comparison

Sprint has the lowest prices among the four major cell carriers. Verizon has the highest. 

It’s easy to see that Sprint has lower pricing than Verizon—and affordability is definitely the biggest perk for choosing Sprint. At every level of service, Sprint’s unlimited plans stand at least $10 cheaper than Verizon’s.

But Verizon’s cost does start to look more reasonable when you look at its first-rate network performance and plan perks.

How do Verizon and Sprint unlimited plans compare?

To be fair, Sprint’s service used to be notoriously terrible, but it’s gotten much better in the last few years. Nowadays, if you live in a city or a big suburb, Sprint will probably work fine for you.

Still, for many people (especially those in rural areas), Verizon’s premium network will be worth the extra cost.

Data allotments with unlimited plans

Both Verizon and Sprint offer unlimited plan options, and both their unlimited plan options have data allotments.

Light Bulb icon
They’re more like . . . guidelines
If you go over your allotment, your carrier can throttle your speed, which means watching The Witcher on your phone in your dentist’s waiting room will be an even less pleasant experience than getting that cavity filled.

Sprint and Verizon have pretty similar data allotments. In almost every case, both companies cap your full-speed data usage at 50 GB (which is enough to stream video for almost three days straight—so plenty for most folks).

The exception is Verizon’s Get More Unlimited Plan, which will give you a ludicrous 75 GB of unthrottled data.

Additional fees

Verizon and Sprint both charge the same activation fees for every device you add to your unlimited or family plan. Peek at the table above and whatever the upfront cost is below the price tag is what you’ll pay in activation fees. Expect something in the neighborhood of $30.

These are just one-time fees, and Sprint waives the fee if you purchase your plan and phone online. You can’t dodge the Verizon activation fee—unless you choose a prepaid plan and phone.

Info Box icon
Want to know more about prepaid plans?
See our Best Prepaid Plans review for the low-down on the top options.

Discounts

If you want to save some money and never worry about forgetting to pay your bill again, then good news: Verizon and Sprint both offer autopay discounts—and for the same amount.

  • Verizon autopay discount: $5 per line
  • Sprint autopay discount: $5 per line

However, there is one caveat to Verizon’s autopay discount:

You can’t use a credit card.

Sprint has no such restrictions, and Verizon’s debit-card-only rule is a pretty big bummer if you’re like us and love to collect credit card cashback points or frequent flyer miles from your regular bills.

Verizon and Sprint plans

Verizon and Sprint each have their own, unique plan structure.

Verizon offers customers a variety of plans—both prepaid and postpaid—with different data allotments and perks. Meanwhile, Sprint offers almost exclusively unlimited data plans, and virtually no prepaid plans.

So let’s start with the easy comparison: Sprint’s unlimited plans versus Verizon’s unlimited plans.

Unlimited plans

Sprint and Verizon unlimited plans

As you can see, both companies sport four different unlimited data plans. Whatever unlimited plan you choose between Sprint and Verizon, you can expect some things to be consistent:

  • Verizon will have better coverage
  • Sprint will generally be cheaper
  • Verizon will stream content better
  • Both companies will give you about 50 GB of unthrottled data (except Verizon’s Get More Unlimited, which comes with 75 GB)

Limited data plans

Sprint doesn’t have many limited data plans to choose from. And by that we mean it offers only one. Rejoice, my fellow decision-fatigued consumers!

Sprint Single Line 2GB plan

On the other hand, Verizon has about a bazillion (. . .or eight) limited data plans to choose from. Here’s a look at five of them.

Verizon limited data plans

Both Sprint and Verizon limited data plans can save you some money if you (and your family members) don’t use a lot of data per month. Verizon will get you better coverage and speeds than Sprint,1,2 but you can save even more money going with Sprint’s 2 GB plan.

Just keep in mind, if you or your family do a lot of things that use a lot of data (looking at you, teenagers), then an unlimited plan is definitely the better way to go.

Wireless activities that use a lot of data:

  • Streaming video
  • Playing games
  • Using data-heavy apps (like YouTube, Instagram, and Netflix)
  • Streaming music and podcasts

Verizon and Sprint speed and coverage

There’s no question that Verizon has better speeds and wider coverage than Sprint—and everyone else.

If you want reliable coverage and fast speeds across the country, then Verizon is an easy choice, regardless of the cost.

Every coverage study we’ve seen gives Verizon first place for countrywide service and first or second for overall speed,3,4 which means whether you’re in your living room or your uncle’s cabin in the woods, you’ll probably have decent service.

Sprint coverage, on the other hand, can be spotty. Its service works best in super populated areas (like cities), and we wouldn’t recommend venturing out into the country expecting your phone to still work. Sprint’s speeds are also consistently rated lower than Verizon’s (and the other top three wireless providers as well).

Verizon service isn’t 100% perfect, but If you live in a rural area or you leave the city often for road trips and hiking trails, then Verizon is an easy choice over Sprint. The cost is worth it if it means your phone will (almost) always have good service.

How might the Sprint/T-Mobile merger affect you?

Sprint and T-Mobile are the hot new couple in the telecommunications industry. And it looks like they might make it official by “tying the knot” (A.K.A. doing a corporate merger).

This merger is still in the works, and it might get held up by lawsuits. But that doesn’t mean Sprint and T-Mobile customers don’t want to know what will happen to their service. Here are a few predictions.

Prices will likely go up, but not immediately. Meanwhile, experts think that users of both Sprint and T-Mobile will get better coverage, increased speeds, and a faster 5G rollout.

If this makes you nervous, you can always take your money to Verizon, but we think that it might be worth waiting to see how the merger plays out.

Devices and phones

Both Verizon and Sprint can hook you up with the latest phones.

Did your old iPhone 6 fall into your bowl of ramen? Or are you just ready to upgrade to the wireless charging, face ID, and longer battery life that newer devices offer? Whatever your reasons are for wanting a new device, both Sprint and Verizon can hook you up.

What top phones do Verizon and Sprint sell?*
MakeVerizonSprint
iPhoneiPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone XS
iPhone XR
iPhone X
iPhone 8/8 Plus
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 11
iPhone X
iPhone XS
iPhone XR
iPhone 8/8 Plus
iPhone 7/7 Plus
SamsungGalaxy Note10+
Galaxy S10
Galaxy S9/S9+
Galaxy S8/S8+
Galaxy Note 8
Galaxy S10/S10+
Galaxy S9/S9+
Galaxy S8/S8+
Galaxy Note 8
GooglePixel 4/4 XL
Pixel 3a/3a XL
Pixel 3/3 XL
Pixel 2/2 XL
Pixel 4/4 XL
Pixel 3a/3a XL
Pixel 3/3 XL

*Not a complete list

Special features

Verizon offers internet bundling options, while Sprint throws in a few extra perks along with its service.

Sprint sweetens its service plans with a couple of perks:

  • Sprint offers free access to Hulu Limited Commercials on your phone
  • Sprint includes international data and texting in over 100 countries
    Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan includes a subscription to Hulu and Tidal (music app)
  • Sprint’s Unlimited Premium plan includes a subscription to Hulu, Tidal, Lookout (mobile security service) and an Amazon Prime membership. Whoa!

Verizon offers . . . not as much. But it does have some good internet bundling deals with its Verizon Fios service.

If you already pay for Hulu Limited, then Sprint’s offer can take that $7.99 monthly bill off your plate. And since we love to travel, we love that Sprint gives us free international data and texting. We even tested it out in Japan and it worked pretty well!

Verizon bundling deal

If you have a Verizon Fios Double Play or Triple Play plan and you sign up for a Verizon unlimited wireless plan (or even if you already have one), Verizon will give you $10 off your phone plan and $10 off your Fios bill.

Recap: Verizon is our best overall choice

Verizon logo

There’s no question when it comes to speed and coverage (especially coverage): Verizon is the best wireless choice you can make.

With Verizon, you can go almost anywhere in the country and still be reasonably sure your phone will work (and work well). Sprint really can’t beat that.

But what Sprint can beat is Verizon’s price and perks. Sprint plans are cheaper than Verizon’s, and if you live in an area with good Sprint coverage, you might not even notice a difference in service.

Sprint also throws in a free Hulu Limited Commercials subscription and free text and data when you travel internationally. Verizon doesn’t have to work as hard to win your business, so it offers fewer perks. But you can get some bundling deals with Verizon’s Fios service.

Do you use Sprint or Verizon Wireless? Did you switch from one of them to the other? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

  • Maria Hansen

    Updated to: “That said, the pricey Verizon bill might seem worth it if you live outside a city or metro area. Sprint’s service doesn’t often work well in rural areas.”

  • KAHLER

    Verizon’s Auto-Pay discount is actually $10 per line as of now

  • Opal Dyer

    Verizon SUCKS! I hate their service and their contract.. I’ve been with them since September 28, 2019, and have had NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS EVERY MONTH! Wish I could get out of the contract, cause I don’t even get signal at my house, and why am I paying $127 a month for the same thing that a prepaid service gets for $50
    A month? Crazy!!!