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 525 markets. And its superb device selection sets it above lesser-known companies, offering everything from Android phones and iPhones to BlackBerrys and tablets. Taken at face value, Sprint is one of the best cell phone providers in the country.
Unfortunately, the carrier falls short in other ways. As expansive as it is, Sprint's network is notorious for spotty coverage, even in major cities. 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. Likewise, you'll only get access to data speeds averaging 4.4Mbps – far behind what the other major providers have on offer. Sprint used to be much worse, and the company has greatly improved, but if having the best, most stable cell phone coverage is important to you, other networks are still more capable.
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 incredible value; we didn't expect to find some of the best cell phone plans in the nation at Sprint, but if you're looking for pure bang for your buck, it's tough to beat.
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. Sometimes no matter how a cell phone plan might compare financially, it hamstrings you when it comes time to pick a device. We were happy to see that wasn't the case here.
When it comes to coverage and 4G speeds, Sprint's network is the weakest of the four major carriers. But in terms of price and phone selection, it's top-tier. If staying under budget is worth the likelihood of dropped calls and slow downloads to you, Sprint may well be the best cell phone carrier for your family.
Sprint offers the best all-around prices you can find from a major carrier, and sports truly unlimited data to boot.
The company's network is slower and spottier than its competition, prone to long download times and dropped calls.
It's tough to argue against cheap prices and unlimited data. If your hometown is firmly covered, Sprint offers great bang for your buck; just be wary of frail connections.