The best cell phone plans of 2019

Don't listen to the guy at the mall. How to pick the best smartphone data plan

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The best individual plan


Why you should buy this: Sprint offers a cheap individual plan, and it comes with nice perks.

Read more about Sprint’s plans here

Who it’s for: Anyone who can’t get T-Mobile, but who travels within Sprint’s coverage maps and wants to save money.

How much it will cost:

People Line cost Data Total
1 $60 Unlimited $60
2 $60 + $40 Unlimited $100
3 $60 + $40 + $20 Unlimited $120
4 $60 + $40 + $20 + $20 Unlimited $140
5 $60 + $40 + $20 + $20 + $20 Unlimited $160

Why we picked Sprint:

Sprint typically undercuts T-Mobile prices and offers, but the carrier suffers in network coverage compared to the rest. Sprint comes with fewer perks than T-Mobile’s service, but it’s still a solid option for those on a budget who live in cities and other densely populated regions, where its coverage is strongest.

Sprint has struggled in the past to match the competition’s data speeds — in many areas of the country, you’ll get slower rates than customers on the other three carriers. That’s something to keep in mind before you commit.

Sprint offers three unlimited plans —Basic, Plus, and Premium — tailored to specific streaming, hot spot, or other preferences now that its Unlimited Freedom plan is no longer being offered. There’s no contract, and you have to pay the full, unsubsidized price for each smartphone on the plan. You’ll pay for devices in installments (typically $20 to $30 a month per phone), or you can bring your own phone instead of buying a new one.

It’s worth noting that Sprint’s unlimited plan is one of the most restrictive. Certain categories of traffic — like multiplayer gaming and music streaming — are throttled, and Sprint reserves the right to terminate your service if you exceed your monthly tethering limit.

Still, Sprint’s unlimited plans aren’t a bad option for data hogs who rely solely on cellular for internet access. At $60 for a single line, Unlimited Basic is a money saver.

Perks that come with Sprint plans:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico, as well as the United States. Unlimited text and data at lower speeds is also available in almost 180 countries worldwide, though calls cost 20 cents per minute.
  • Varying LTE mobile-hotspot data.
  • No overages.
  • Lets you lease some phones so you can get a new one every year.
  • Global roaming for more than 200 locations worldwide

The downsides of Sprint’s Unlimited plan:

  • Gaming is limited to 8Mbps.
  • Music streaming is limited to 1.5Mbps.
  • Roaming restrictions: Sprint may terminate your service if you regularly use more than 100MB of data roaming.

The downsides of all Sprint plans:

  • Spotty coverage in rural areas.
  • Once you surpass your data limit, speeds are cut back to 2G.
  • Not as many perks as T-Mobile.
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