There's a reason Sprint is one of the most recognized cell phone companies in America. The network it owns and operates is one of the largest in the country, and it offers features such as truly unlimited data, family share plans and international calling. Its superb device selection sets it above lesser-known companies, offering Android phones, iPhones, BlackBerrys and tablets. Sprint is one of the best cell phone providers in the country, though it's not without its drawbacks, chief among them a slow 4G LTE network. For pure value, you won't find a better option, which is why Sprint earns our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
Coverage & Quality
Sprint's weakest attribute is its network. True, it covers more of the United States than T-Mobile, especially in rural areas, but it can't hold a candle to the coast-to-coast omnipresence of Verizon or AT&T. The network is notorious for spotty coverage, even in major cities. You can use your phone almost anywhere you go, but you may have to deal with dropped calls, low bars or other connection issues. Likewise, you only have access to data speeds averaging 4.4Mbps, which is far behind what other major providers offer. Sprint used to be much worse and the company has greatly improved, but if having the fastest downloads and best, most stable cell phone coverage is important to you, other networks are far more capable.
Pricing & Fees
The best thing Sprint has going for it is its pricing. The company's primary single-line plan is $60 for all-inclusive service: You get unlimited talk, text and unthrottled 4G LTE data at the same price point that other providers offer just 1GB or 2GB. It's an incredible value; we didn't expect to find some of the best cell phone plans in the nation at Sprint, so if you're looking for pure bang for your buck, this is the pick for you.
Unfortunately, being a major carrier, Sprint still has its share of fees. Activating a new line can cost up to $36, and should you return a phone, you can be subject to a $35 restocking fee. Early termination fees start at $350, though thankfully they decrease the longer you're under contract or be avoided altogether if you lease your new phone or pay for it with month-to-month pricing.
Sprint's feature list is packed. Whether you're looking for early upgrade plans or classic contracts with subsidized phones, you're in luck. Should you be coming from another carrier, the company will even pay your way out from underneath its competitor's early termination fees, so you can make the switch cleanly.
Granted, should you make the switch, you won't have access to the same plan flexibility offered by other carriers. At Sprint, individuals only have easy access to the one unlimited plan, and while it's $10 cheaper each month if you buy an iPhone, it still forces you to buy unlimited data, even if you don't need it.
Since it's a major carrier, Sprint customers have their pick of phones. Top-of-the-line Android devices from HTC and Samsung, Apple's latest iPhone, Windows phones, BlackBerrys, tablets and mobile hotspots are all are available, either online or at Sprint stores. Sometimes, no matter how a cell phone plan might compare financially, it hamstrings you when it comes time to pick a device. Luckily, that isn’t the case here.
Sprint’s 4G LTE network is the weakest of the four major carriers, but when you consider price and phone selection it's top-tier. If staying under budget is worth slower download speeds and the potential for a few dropped calls, Sprint may well be the best cell phone carrier for your family.