Today Sprint announced a new deal involving its family share plans. For $90/month customers can now get unlimited talk, text, and 12 GB of shared data for up to 10 lines. Using its magic wizardry with numbers and slick wording, Sprint claims this is "the best family share plan available among all the national carriers." On the surface it is, that is until you read Sprint's fine print, which there seems to be fine print every time they make one of these announcements. While I applaud Sprint for attempting to lower prices, if they really want to impress and attack their main rival at this point which is T-Mobile, they need to lose some of those stipulations. One such stipulation is that in order to qualify for this deal which does in fact undercut the other big 3 carriers, is that you must be a new customer porting your number over from one of the other aforementioned big 3 carriers. If you're a current customer though you must pay an additional $15 per handset that is active on the family share plan. Huh?! That means you'll be paying $150/month if you're a current Sprint subscriber! Why is it that long time loyal customers are getting the short end of the stick? I suppose many of you who are current subscribers are asking the same question. I surmise Sprint will be receiving a lot of phone calls over this issue, and perhaps the issue gets resolved for some out of contract Sprint customers who threaten to leave their network over it. Sprint claims it's already throwing current customers a bone by lowering the monthly line access charge from $25/month to the previously mentioned $15. As you can see in the misleading infographic from Sprint, T-Mobile charges $100/month for a family of 4 where each plan member gets allotted 2.5 GB/month. The infographic fails to point out however, that whether you are a new customer or old, you are still eligible for the plan. On top of that there is no line access charge for current customers. This is how Sprint should have laid out their plan in the first place, one plan for all, particularly if they are interested in customer retention.
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Now, some of you may have noticed that Sprint is offering this deal for up to 10 lines. That should mean that Sprint is offering the best deal in some circumstances without stipulations right? Well, I'm not going to go over every single one because there would just be too many, but lets see how Sprint's new family share plan compares to T-Mobiles's plans when 2 and 3 lines are involved. Below is a summary of each carriers plans for 2 and 3 lines.
Sprints Promotional Family Share Plans
All plans include 12 GB of shared 4G LTE Data
- 2 lines, new customers $90, current customers $120
- 3 lines, new customers $90, current customers $135
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T-Mobiles Simple Choice Family Plans
- 2 lines unlimited 4G LTE data $100, limited time only
- 3 lines, 3 GB 4G LTE data/line $120
So who exactly here is offering the best value between the two carriers now that we have this breakdown? For me, for two lines , the choice is pretty clear, T-Mobile hands down whether you are a new or old customer. For four lines, the clear winner is also T-Mobile whether you are a new or old customer. Although Sprint offers slightly more data on average per line (500 Mb more) for a family of four, the fact that T-Mobiles plan offers unlimited streaming of select audio apps/services that don't count against your data cap, as well as data carryover if you don't use up all of your data, more than compensates for the 500 Mb of less data that T-Mobile is offering compared to Sprint. When three lines are compared, things seem to get a little murky. For customers considering making a switch over to Sprint, you'll likely find better value with Sprint unless you and your family members stream heavily from the music providers T-Mobile doesn't count against its data cap. If your a current Sprint customer though, and Sprint is unwilling to lower your price, you're better off switching over to T-Mobile. So to me, after this analysis, it seems that Sprint's claim of having "the best family share plan available among all national carriers" is more full of hot air than actual fact. How about you? What do you think of Sprint's new offering?