Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sprint follows Verizon and T-Mobile in offering improved unlimited data plans (sorta kind of, again...)

First Verizon announced that it would begin offering a new unlimited data plan. Then T-Mobile upped its unlimited plan to keep up with Verizon. Now, Sprint is getting in on the action with an improved unlimited data plan that’s on par with Verizon and T-Mobile’s latest offerings.

The new Sprint plan costs $65 per month for the first line (or $60, with an optional $5-per-month discount for using Sprint’s AutoPay system). Like Verizon and T-Mobile’s plans, it now includes unlimited HD video streaming and 10GB of mobile hotspot data. That’s somewhere in between its old unlimited offerings — which were a $55 per month plan without HD video — and a $75 per month Sprint Premium option that included HD content.

Like the old unlimited plans, users still have a 23GB per month limit before they begin to experience reduced speeds when the network is busy (for comparison, Verizon’s limit is 22GB, and T-Mobile is 28GB). Sprint is the worst option if you plan to take advantage of the 10GB of tethering, as it kicks users down to 2G speeds once they’ve used up their allocated data, instead of Verizon and T-Mobile’s reduction to 3G speeds.

Additional lines on the new Sprint plan typically cost $45 per month for a second line, and $35 per month for a third or fourth line (again, AutoPay offers a $5-per-month discount). But Sprint is running a rather impressive promotional pricing for new customers until March 31st, 2018, where a single unlimited line with AutoPay costs $50, a second line $40, after which the third, fourth, and fifth lines are all free (At least, until March 31st of next year, anyway, after which the carriage turns back into a pumpkin again and costs go up to the usual prices.) Like most carriers (except T-Mobile), all of those prices include some extra fees and taxes as well.

Still holding out is AT&T, who only offers an unlimited data plan to its DirecTV and U-verse customers, which at $100 per month, per line (in addition the the TV service) remains the most expensive of all the available unlimited plans from major carriers. AT&T also recently raised prices on remaining grandfathered unlimited plans from earlier in the company’s history.

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