T-Mobile vs. Sprint Review

Both have good prices and nice perks, but T-Mobile beats out Sprint on both service and speed.
Best overall
High data cap (50 GB)
Spotty coverage in rural areas
Best for budget
Cheapest of major providers
Slower data speeds
Recent Updates: 2 weeks ago
Updated information regarding Sprint plans and pricing.

OVERVIEW

Sprint and T-Mobile are the low-priced stars of the wireless provider world. Both these companies give you lower plan prices (and often better perks) than the other big-name brands, AT&T and Verizon. But how do they stack up against each other?

It’s honestly an easy answer: T-Mobile takes the win for its superior coverage, super fast speeds, and nice little extras like free in-flight Wi-Fi. But Sprint still has benefits if you want to save some cash.

Sprint and T-Mobile unlimited plan pricing and features

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, 50 GB hotspot, Amazon PrimeView plan
T-Mobile ONE$70/mo.International text and data, in-flight texting w/ 1 hr data, Netflix, 50 GB unthrottled data, mobile hotspot**View plan
T-Mobile ONE Plus$80/mo.ONE + HD streaming, unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi, voicemail to textView plan

* Includes autopay and paperless billing discounts.
** Limited to 3G speeds.
Data effective 10/9/18.

T-Mobile vs. Sprint prices

Sprint technically has lower prices, but T-Mobile’s perks might still make it a better value.

If you want to open your bill every month and see the lowest possible number on that “Total Amount Due” line, then Sprint wins the price game every time. It offers lower-priced plans than any of the other three major wireless providers, so you shell out less money every month.

Sprint and T-Mobile prices per number of lines* for Unlimited Basic and ONE plans

LinesSprint Unlimited BasicT-Mobile ONE
1 line$60/mo.$70/mo.
2 lines$100/mo.$120/mo.
3 lines$130/mo.$140/mo.
4 lines$160/mo.$160/mo.
Learn moreView planView plan

The table above shows base plans pinned against each other. But what about higher tier plans? Well, here you go.

Sprint and T-Mobile higher tier prices per number of lines*

LinesSprint Unlimited PlusSprint Unlimited PremiumT-Mobile ONE Plus
1 line$70/mo.$90/mo.$80/mo.
2 lines$120/mo.$160/mo.$140/mo.
3 lines$150/mo.$210/mo.$170/mo.
4 lines$180/mo.$260/mo.$200/mo.
Learn moreView planView planView plan

* Includes autopay and paperless billing.

But don’t pass on T-Mobile just yet. T-Mobile wraps all taxes and fees into its advertised monthly price, so what you see is what you get. With Sprint, you’ll still see extra costs for taxes and “surcharges” on your bill every month.

Example taxes, fees, and surcharges on a two-line Sprint plan:*

  • Sprint surcharges: $8.09
  • Government taxes and fees: $4.13
    — Total: $12.22

*Exact amounts fluctuate from month to month and vary by area.

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Want a different type of plan?

In this review, we’re just comparing unlimited plans. For more info on prepaid and regular data-capped plans, see our Best Prepaid Plans review or our individual Sprint and T-Mobile reviews.

We’ve also seen T-Mobile offer things like BOGO deals on iPhones, where if you buy one phone, you get a second one free. If you like to lease your phones and pay monthly installments, then a deal from T-Mobile can save you hundreds of dollars on that fancy iPhone X over the course of your agreement.

What about perks?

T-Mobile’s perks may be better, but Sprint may be best for fans of Hulu. 

T-Mobile and Sprint both offer extra perks in two main areas: streaming services and international travel. T-Mobile just does it, well, better.

T-Mobile perks

  • Netflix subscription included with two or more T-Mobile ONE lines
  • Deals like trips and vouchers through the T-Mobile Tuesdays app
  • One hour of in-flight GoGo® Wi-Fi on eligible flights (or unlimited with T-Mobile ONE Plus)
  • Included in-flight texting
  • Included unlimited texting and data in most countries

Sprint perks

  • Hulu Limited Commercials subscription included (restricted to streaming on Sprint devices)
  • Included unlimited data and texting in most countries
  • The Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Premiums plans have a lot more perks, including services from Tidal (music app), Lookout (mobile security app), and even and Amazon Prime membership. The perks get better the higher the plan.
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Note

T-Mobile’s T-Mobile ONE plan gives you one hour of free in-flight Wi-Fi, while the T-Mobile ONE Plus plan gives you unlimited free in-flight Wi-Fi.

International travel coverage

Sprint gives you unlimited data and text in most countries, although you still have to pay extra for voice calls, and your data speeds will be only about 2G. T-Mobile does the same thing and gives you data and text in most countries, but you also get free in-flight Wi-Fi.

So with T-Mobile, the next time you’re bored at 37,000 feet, you can just pull out your phone and watch Netflix from the comfort of your own screen—and without paying extra for the in-flight Wi-Fi service.

However, if you call other countries from the US a lot to talk to relatives, you’ll still need to consider adding an international plan.

Streaming service offers

Do you prefer Narcos or The Handmaid’s Tale? Arrested Development or Difficult People? Depending on whether you choose T-Mobile or Sprint, you can binge-watch all the Netflix or Hulu shows you want—without paying extra.

If you get two or more lines on a T-Mobile ONE plan, then you also get a standard Netflix subscription included with your plan. So you and your significant other, sibling, parent, or whoever you share your plan with can both watch your favorite shows without paying for a subscription yourself. That saves you a cool $10.99 per month.

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Remember

T-Mobile just gives you the standard two-screen Netflix subscription. If your kids or other family members also want in on the action, then you can upgrade to four screens for an extra $3 per month.

Sprint gives you a similar, albeit more limited, deal with Hulu. You can sign up for a Hulu Limited Commercials plan from your Sprint device at www.hulu.com/sprint and watch start watching shows. But if you go with the Unlimited Premium plan, you’ll get an Amazon Prime membership and can watch shows there too.

The huge downside is you can only watch Hulu from your Sprint phone or tablet, or from another device if you’re using your Sprint device as a hotspot. So you won’t be watching Casual on your TV.

For the record, T-Mobile lets you stream Netflix anywhere, the same way you do with your regular subscription.

T-Mobile vs. Sprint performance

T-Mobile tops Sprint on both coverage and speed all across the country.

Neither T-Mobile nor Sprint wins the prize for best coverage across the country—that award consistently goes to Verizon. But you can still get good service with either one, depending on where you live. And depending on who you ask, T-Mobile even beats out Verizon for best data speeds.

T-Mobile vs. Sprint coverage

Coverage is both T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s weak point. Neither one can beat Verizon or AT&T when it comes to nationwide service.1, 2 You can’t pull out your phone in remote or rural areas and still be reasonably confident you’ll have full bars.

That said, both Sprint and T-Mobile work pretty well in cities and metro areas. And T-Mobile has even better countrywide coverage than Sprint, so if Sprint doesn’t work well in your area, T-Mobile might.3, 4

T-Mobile vs. Sprint speeds

Don’t forget: coverage and speed are not the same thing. Coverage is what you think of as traditional “service.” You can take and make calls and send SMS texts with no problems.

Speed has to do with your data. Do you get 4G LTE all the time and have no trouble streaming a new jam on Spotify? Or do you constantly see that annoying “1X” icon and have a hard time even accessing the internet?

That last scenario is way more common with Sprint than T-Mobile. T-Mobile has some of the best speeds in the country, and some studies even rank T-Mobile above Verizon for fastest speeds.5, 6, 7

If you love to stream YouTube or play games on your phone while you’re sitting in a waiting room—or if you’re bored at that family reunion—then T-Mobile is your best bet for fast, reliable speeds no matter where you are.

T-Mobile vs. Sprint phones

T-Mobile and Sprint offer basically all the same phones at the same prices.

Which top phones do T-Mobile and Sprint have?

MakeT-MobileSprint
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 moreView phonesView phones

Sprint and T-Mobile both carry all the most popular phone models in their stores, minus Google Pixels. You can use Google Pixel phones with T-Mobile and Sprint, but you’ll have to buy the device from Google yourself and take it into a T-Mobile or Sprint store separately.

Recap—Should you choose T-Mobile or Sprint?

For most people, T-Mobile is the best option. But Sprint is still a good choice if you want the lowest possible monthly plan price and you live somewhere where Sprint has decent service.

When should you pick Sprint or T-Mobile?

  • Budgeters: Sprint has lower plan prices. However, T-Mobile’s prices include taxes, fees, and surcharges, and it sometimes offers phone deals.
  • Travelers: Both Sprint and T-Mobile give you unlimited text and data in most countries. But T-Mobile sweetens the deal with free in-flight texting and Wi-Fi.
  • Data hogs: Sprint’s Unlimited plans give you 23 GB of 4G LTE data per month, but that can’t compare to T-Mobile’s ONE plan’s generous 50 GB allotment.
  • Country dwellers: Neither T-Mobile nor Sprint has exceptional coverage, but T-Mobile’s is better than Sprint’s overall.
  • Speed lovers: T-Mobile consistently has higher and more reliable data speeds than Sprint, countrywide.