Sprint Half-Price Plans: Deal or No Deal?

Sprint is trying to give AT&T and Verizon customers serious incentive to switch. Starting today (Dec. 5), the number-three carrier is giving switchers from those two providers the chance to halve their monthly fees while keeping the same plans. Sprint will also pay your early termination fees.

This means that if you have a four-line, 15GB monthly plan on AT&T's Mobile Share Value and are on the company's early-upgrade service Next, you'd pay $140. If you take your numbers to Sprint, you'll get the same four-line, 15GB package for $70. If you want to add a line (up to 10) to your group after switching, you can get it at the same half-price rates.

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That sounds like quite the deal, but the offer comes with several strings attached. You'll need to turn in your Verizon or AT&T handsets to qualify for the deal, and buy a new device on Sprint's installment/lease programs. If you don't hand over your old phone within 30 days of activating your new device, Sprint will charge you $200 per device. 

Say you got the iPhone 6 on AT&T Next with a 3GB Mobile Share plan ($65 a month) and paid off two of your 24 monthly payments of $27.09. Sprint will shave the wireless fee to $32.50, but you'd have to turn in your iPhone, and buy another one on Sprint (24 monthly payments of $27 on Easy Pay).  Over two years, you'd save $780 ($32.50 x 12), and $725.82 after factoring in the $54.18 you'd already paid for your iPhone in this example.

In general, the amount you eventually save by switching depends on how much you'd already paid for your old handset or whether you choose to hang on to it. Whatever you decide, you could save at least $500 over two years.

Cost isn't the only thing you should consider, though. Sprint's 4G LTE network covers some 540 cities in the nation, but its performance has been lackluster. In our 4G speed tests of the Big Four carrier in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, the network came in last place in the first three. Sprint's enhanced Spark LTE helped the provider finish in second place in Chicago But Spark is available in only 46 cities (as of Sep. 17 2014).

For those looking for a good way to cut down their monthly expenditure, Sprint's half-price plans are a good option if speedy data performance doesn't bother you. But if you want reliable network speeds, you're better off sticking with AT&T or Verizon.

Staff writer Cherlynn Low needs to budget better. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide on Facebook.

Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.

  • Bean007
    So I guess T-Mobile is out of the question?
  • aedahh
    Spark only in 46 cities but none in any Silicon Valley cities! What a disappointment!
    What about cutting your existing customers bill in half, before they leave too due to poor 3G/4G in Silicon Valley cities!
  • Martell1977
    I love how they come out with these deals but always forget to mention the $40 Data Access charge for each smartphone. These plans sound good until you factor in that. 4 phones would add $160 to the bill, on top of the plan price.
  • kenny1007
    I love how they come out with these deals but always forget to mention the $40 Data Access charge for each smartphone. These plans sound good until you factor in that. 4 phones would add $160 to the bill, on top of the plan price.

    Not to mention that they claim to run at 4g but for the past 8 years in Miami all i see it 3g. When you ask them why they claim its 4g when its 3g they say that it's not fully implemented and that it will be in 1 year. That was about 7-8 years ago when they told me. Been with Metro for the past years running at 4g.
  • asabirt
    I went to a sprint store today. I would say it is a scam. Don't waste your time. Here is my video about this experience:
  • AG1963
    I have been with Verizon since 2007. I spoke with them today to reduce my bill and they offered me a higher rate with more data (duh) or $15/month for 30 mins no text no data (did they actually see my usage?). Walked into Sprint yes they really cut my base rate in half and I got a new 6+ for less than I was paying Verizon for my 5S. Oh and up to $350 to pay off Verizon. No brainer. I save $600 a year.
  • gggplaya
    If you live in a major city, this is a good deal. No one needs more then 3-6mbps on a smartphone.

    I've used my sprint phone for years to travel to very remote farming areas of the country on business. Sprint service was pretty good if all you wanted was voice and text. Data coverage was lacking, and at about 300kbps whenever you leave any cities.