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. It offers features such as truly unlimited data, family share plans and international calling. It boasts 4G LTE in 303 markets. And its superb device selection sets it above the lesser-known providers, offering everything from Android phones and iPhones to BlackBerrys and tablets.
Unfortunately, Sprint falls short in other ways. As expansive as it is, the carrier's network is notorious for spotty coverage, even in major cities. It offers true nationwide coverage, and you'll be able to use your phone almost anywhere you go, but you may have to deal with dropped calls, low bars or other connection issues. Sure, you can pay for unlimited data, but at steep rates, and you'll only get access to data speeds averaging 8Mbps – far behind what the other major providers have on offer.
Sprint's plans are as complicated as they are numerous. By default, they all offer unlimited talk and text – a nice feature. The amount of data you get, however, depends on which plan you choose to go with, how many phones you're buying, and whether you want to take advantage of Sprint's new Framily Plan.
The Framily Plan takes the savings often offered to families and spreads them out over up to 10 friends and multiple invoices. If you're on a Framily Plan, you can get your own invoice in the mail, while taking advantage of group-level discounts that get better the more friends are on the plan. If four people work together, for example, each can pay $40 a month for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data. If you get at least seven friends together, however, your monthly invoices drop to just $25 each (not including taxes, fees and the cost of individual phones).
Sprint's Framily Plan replaces its One Up early upgrade option, which was short-lived and is no longer available to customers. If you're currently a One Up subscriber and are looking to switch to the Framily Plan, be sure to read the fine print – the transition process can get complex, depending on precisely when you got your phone, how much you owe on it, whether it's upgrade eligible, and so on.
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; mobile hotspots – all are available, either online or at Sprint stores.
When it comes to coverage and 4G speeds, Sprint's network is the weakest of the four major carriers. In terms of price and phone selection, it's about average. But if you want unlimited data and like the idea of the Framily Plan, it's worth consideration.
Sprint offers truly unlimited data plans that won't throttle you if you go over a preset limit.
Its network is merely adequate, with spotty coverage in some cities and slow 4G LTE data speeds. Thanks to constant changes in its plans, understanding the mayhem can get a bit overwhelming.
Sprint lags behind the other big carriers in terms of coverage and overall quality. Its unlimited plans are truly unlimited, but they're also overpriced, and the new Framily Plan can be difficult to manage.