Thursday, July 19, 2012

US Carrier Smartphone Prices

With the recent AT&T announcement that they're going to have similar data share plans as Verizon, I've decided to take some time to figure out how much each of the four national carriers would cost for family share plans.

Some things to note:
  • Even though AT&T will retain their current family share plans prices and not force you to this new data sharing plan when you sign a new contract, I have not included their current pricing in this comparison chart.
  • T-Mobile's data plan is actually "unlimited"; that is to say, you can use more than the 2GB limit in your billing period and won't be charged extra, however, your data beyond 2GB will be throttled (slow).
  • T-Mobile's non-contract prices should be lower. I did not check what they would be, however.
  • Under the new data share plans for both Verizon and AT&T, text and talk are both unlimited. So technically, the equivalent plans for T-Mobile and Sprint are their "unlimited talk" plans. However, Sprint offers "any mobile"--That is to say, with Sprint, you can call any cell phone number in the US (or receive calls), and talk for however long you want, and those minutes will be free and not part of your allotted "any time" minutes. So unless you make a lot of calls to landlines, you won't need that many minutes, making it almost the same as unlimited talk. YMMV.
  • These prices are for smartphones only. Since we're mainly concerned about the cost of data, non-smartphones need not apply. I'm also not taking tablets into account.
  • Verizon's data share plan also includes "free hotspots"; I don't know if AT&T's new plan does the same, but Sprint and T-Mobile both charge extra if you wish to turn your phone into a mobile hotspot.

P.S. I don't know why the header has "pHones" instead of "Phones"; I swear they were fine when I created the file in Excel. Somehow in the conversion to Google Docs, they decided to change which letter to turn into upper case. Don't know how that happened.