In the past two years, smartphone plans have been shaken up, and have also gotten even more confusing than ever before. Now that carriers are breaking everything down instead of just doing one price for unlimited everything each month. It's part of our job to make sense of all of this, and that's we attempt to do each and every month. You can check out our family plans comparison for July, here.
Verizon's plans haven't changed a whole lot, basically you still pay for the data, then another fee for each device to access that data. And if you are on EDGE, then there's another fee for that device. Confused yet?
For a single line with 3GB of data, that's $75, or $60 if you have EDGE. With Verizon EDGE you are paying $25 in access fees. Just so that phone can access that data bucket. Then your equipment installment fee, which Verizon calls EDGE, is going to cost you up to $33 depending on which device you have. So that comes out to around $100 before you factor in your fee for buying the device on EDGE. On a new contract, the access fee is $40, but you don't have an extra installment fee for your phone. So there's that.
AT&T's plans are very similar to Verizon's. For those of you on a contract, that's $40 per month to access the data, which we'll use their 3GB plan again. That's another $40. So for one line on a contract, that's $80 before taxes. On AT&T Next, it's going to be a $25 access fee. Which means for 3GB of data that's $65, before AT&T Next fees come in. Which again can be as high as $35.
Sprint recently came up with their All-In plan. Which is only for a few devices right now, including the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6. For $80/month you can get unlimited talk, text and data along with that new smartphone. Keep in mind that this is a lease, however.
Now if you choose to do Easy Pay, you are paying around $30, on top of the $60 for unlimited everything. Still not a bad deal when you compare it to Verizon and AT&T. But it is a bit confusing with the many, many options here. For example, a HTC One M9 on 24 Month Easy Pay would cost you about $87 before taxes and fees.
Magenta's individual plans are pretty straight forward. You can get unlimited talk and text with 1GB of LTE data (throttled after) for $50. Or 3GB for $60, 5GB for $70 or truly unlimited for $80 per month. Much like the others here, you also are going to be paying separately for your phone. Depending on what phone you get, that can be an extra $30-35 per month. So for the 3GB plan (as that's the example we used in the Verizon and AT&T sections) that would cost you about $90 before taxes.
With these postpaid plans, you also get all kinds of other perks that T-Mobile have. Including Mobile Without Borders, Music Freedom and many more. These are not available on their prepaid plans.
As always, it's important to check out the coverage for these carriers where you live and work. What use is saving a few bucks if you can't actually use your phone? A good tool that is pretty much unbiased, for finding coverage is Sensorly.com, and they work outside of the US as well.