Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is Sprint Worth Twice as Much?

I was updating our Unlimited Wireless Plans Page recently and it occurred to me there was a big difference between the top and bottom priced Unlimited wireless plans. Under the minimum criteria we set for the plans on that page, Sprint just happens to be the most expensive at $100. That's what you pay to get Unlimited Calls and Text to any US phone number. Cricket, MetroPCS and several others are less than half that.

Admittedly, you can pay a little more or less here and there and the numbers aren't quite double, but it certainly has me wondering if the Big 4 are really worth that much more. Now that most under-$50 wireless plans include nearly nationwide roaming, I'm trying to find justification for the extra cost. I don't mean to pick on Sprint, their $70 Unlimited everything-except-calls-to-landlines is a good deal. I'll also add that there aren't really that many of us who can truly benefit from Unlimited service, even data.

As Verizon Wireless kicks off their new 4G network this weekend, you'd think they would make those wide open airwaves available on an Unlimited basis to those brave pioneers who sign up first, and restrict the rest of us later, but they're not. They must remember the first days of AT&T's GSM network.

Over in the low rent part of town, Cricket and MetroPCS keep humming away, happily offering Unlimited everything, most of it in 3G, and some in 4G, mostly for much lower prices. I'm gonna keep asking, "it the more expensive signal worth it?"


CookieMonster said...

You don't mean to pick on Sprint, yet out of the big 4 carriers, they're the only one that you call out in the title of this blog post. It's even more peculiar when one considers that for comparably equipped packages to Sprint's Simply Everything, at&t and Verizon cost MORE. Yet Sprint somehow gets called out. Odd. Sorry, but it's kind of hard to say one when thing when your words paint an very different picture...

Faith Baptist Church said...

1. For a comparable plan, Verizon and AT&T are $20 more than Sprint...okay, $15 for AT&T but you lose unlimited data in the mix.
2. What happened in the early days of AT&T's GSM network? Link to more info? AT&T didn't serve the area where I live until they purchased CellOne/Dobson.
3. If you want to compare between CricKet/MetroPCS and one of the "big four," compare with their prepaid arms. Virgin Mobile uses Sprint's network and is $60 for unlimited everything, $70 if you get a Blackberry. This includes usage with a smartphone (Samsung Intercept), so we're talking literally $5 more than CricKet's unlimited plan. The phone is more expensive but it also has a keyboard, something neither MetroPCS nor CricKet have on the Android side...

annoyed with mountain said...

This site is becoming just like all the others. In the beginning the blog was about how service worked and how networks are improving or getting worse. You've become just another mainstream site just following the crowd. I so wish you would go back to your roots. You don't even take the time to interact with readers that comment in the blog anymore.

Scott W said...

The title of this blog includes "Arguments" so I'm happy you have taken the time to comment. Usually Bill brings up the more controversial topics.

We needed an apples to apples comparison, so we chose Talk & Text plans to any US phone number. To get that from Sprint you need to pay $100, and that is only from their own network. Since they were the most expensive, I chose them for the title.

Why do we need to compare Prepaid to Prepaid? Sprint (and AT&T and Verizon at $90) are all twice as much as Cricket, Metro, etc. and while we observe the difference, do the other millions of other wireless users?

Sprint offers "prepaid" under several different names. Are you getting more by using Sprint than Virgin? The answer would be 'yes' if you wanted a certain phone model or roaming capablilties, otherwise, no.

I agree you get more by using Verizon than Page Plus, but is it worth the difference?" As we state on the Unlimited page, there are lots of ways to make variations of Unlimited features to make one plan better for one individual than another.

Fortunatley for us, Sprint has often been a game changer, and their "Any Mobile Any Time" plan is being copied by other carriers. So Sprint gets kudos for trying new things.

BTW, AT&T offered Unlimited minutes to anyone who signed up for their then-new GSM network several years ago and then had to drop those plans due to capacity problems (and pricing worries). That was a forerunner of today's overuse of AT&T's network by the likes of iPhone users, the main reason the carriers are rolling out more plans with data limits. Deja vu.