Sprint vs. Verizon Phone Plans Review

Whether you choose Verizon or Sprint depends on if you want reliable service or a low-cost bill every month.
Best overall
Best service/speed
High price
Best for price
Low price
Spotty service
Recent Updates: 1 month ago
Updated information on pricing and plans for both carriers.

Overview

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

Sprint Unlimited Basic vs. Verizon Beyond Unlimited price comparison*

LinesSprint Unlimited Basic priceVerizon Beyond Unlimited price
1$60/mo.$85/mo.
2$100/mo.$160/mo.
3$100/mo.**$180/mo.
4$100/mo.**$200/mo.
5$100/mo.**$250/mo.
View PlansView Plans

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.
** Sprint currently lets you add lines 3–5 for no additional charge until 6/30/19.

If you never 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.

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.

But if you like the city (or suburban) scene, then you might love Sprint’s low plan prices that still let you afford a fancy dinner every month.

Note: After this video was made, Sprint updated plan names and prices. The article is current.

Sprint vs. Verizon prices

Sprint has the lowest prices among the four major cell carriers. Verizon takes first place for most expensive provider.

It’s easy to see that Sprint has lower pricing than Verizon—and pricing is definitely the biggest perk of choosing Sprint. Sprint has only one unlimited plan, and it’s way cheaper than either of Verizon’s unlimited options. But Verizon’s cost might actually seem like a good deal if what you really want is super reliable coverage and speeds.

Sprint vs. Verizon plan comparison

Sprint Unlimited Basic vs. Verizon Beyond Unlimited price comparison* for 5 lines

LinesSprint Unlimited Basic priceVerizon Beyond Unlimited price
1$60/mo.$85/mo.
2$100/mo.$160/mo.
3$100/mo.**$180/mo.
4$100/mo.**$200/mo.
5$100/mo.**$250/mo.
View PlansView Plans

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.
** Sprint currently lets you add lines 3–5 for no additional charge until 6/30/19. 

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.

It’s still not the most reliable option—we had some disappointing Sprint service moments in downtown Chicago. But for the price, it’s not too shabby.

We admit Verizon is expensive, but it’s also way more likely than Sprint to give you good service wherever you go.

Sprint Unlimited plans vs. Verizon Unlimited plans price comparison*

PlanPriceFeaturesLearn more
Sprint Unlimited Basic$60/mo.International talk and text, HuluView Plan
Sprint Unlimited Plus$70/mo.Unlimited Basic + Tidal, 15 GB hotspotView Plan
Sprint Unlimited Premium$90/mo.Unlimited Plus + Lookout, Amazon Prime, 50 GB hotspotView Plan
Verizon Go Unlimited$75/mo.Unlimited talk and text, SD streaming, Apple Music for 6 mos.View Plan
Verizon Beyond Unlimited$85/mo.Go Unlimited features + HD streaming, 15 GB LTE hotspotView Plan
Verizon Above Unlimited$95/mo.Beyond Unlimited features + unlimited (throttled after 20 GB LTE) hotspot, monthly travel passes, 500 GB storage on Verizon cloudView Plan

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing. Taxes and fees not included.
Data effective 10/9/18.

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Sprint's pricing for additional lines

Sprint currently lets you add lines 3-5 at no additional charge until 6/30/19. After that date, each additional line after 2 is $30.

Additional fees

Verizon and Sprint both charge the same activation fees for every device you add to your unlimited or family plan.

Verizon activation fee: $30 per line

Sprint activation fee: $30 per line

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, and then Verizon doesn’t charge a fee.

Line access fees

Sprint doesn’t list any access fees for any of its plans, which is nice. Verizon doesn’t advertise any line access fees for either of its unlimited plans, but for its “New Verizon Plan” family plan, Verizon does charge a $10–$40 access charge per line, (depending on what type of device you have)

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.

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Deal alert

Sprint currently has a pretty big discount offer where it’ll give you lines 3–5 on a family plan for no additional cost. The deal goes only through June 30, 2019, but after that date, you’ll have to pay the usual cost of $30 per line.

Verizon autopay discount: $5 per line per month

Sprint autopay discount: $5 per line per month

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.

Data allotments with unlimited plans

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

These allotments aren’t limits—they’re more like guidelines. If you go over your allotment, your carrier can throttle your speed, which means watching This Is Us 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, but you get just a little more data with Sprint. Verizon gives you 22 GB per month (on its Beyond Unlimited plan), while Sprint gives you 23 GB before it starts to throttle your speeds.

Devices and phones

Both Verizon and Sprint have all the most popular phones. but if you want a Google Pixel 2, you’ll have to look outside of a Sprint store. 

MakeVerizonSprint
iPhoneiPhone X, 8 and 8 plus, 7 and 7 plusiPhone X, 8 and 8 plus, 7 and 7 plus
SamsungGalaxy S9 and S9+, S8 and S8+, Note8Galaxy S9 and S9+, S8 and S8+, Note8
GooglePixel2/2XLNone, but you can bring an unlocked version
Shop phonesShop phones

*Not a complete list

Whether you want the latest iPhone or the newest Samsung Galaxy, both Sprint and Verizon will probably have the phone you’re looking for. That is unless you want a Google Pixel.

Verizon sells Google Pixel 2 phones in store, but if you want a Google Pixel with Sprint service, you’ll have to bring your own. You can buy an unlocked Pixel directly from Google and take it into a Sprint store—it’s just a bit more work than Verizon’s one-stop shop

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:

  • Free access to Hulu Limited Commercials on your phone and
  • Free 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

There’s no question when it comes to speed and definitely 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, free text and data when you travel internationally, and many more perks depending on the plan. 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!

Sources

  • 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.”