The wireless industry hasn't seen this much competition in years. The four major carriers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon – have all been rearranging their plans and adding in new features. And really have just made choosing a plan or even a carrier even more confusing. We're here to chew through those buzzwords and see what the real price of these plans are.
AT&T is one of the only carriers that still does contracts. So you can still get a subsidized smartphone. Now with a contract, you can get 3GB of data for $80/month. Or if you're looking for a family plan for four lines, you can get 10GB for $260 per month.
Now on AT&T Next, you'll be paying nothing up front. However you will be paying for your smartphones each month. And those fees can be as high as $35 per month on top of your regular plan rate. With Next, you are paying $40 for each device to use data in your pool, if you have a data plan over 6GB, that drops to $25. So, for 3GB of data on AT&T Next for a single line, you're looking at $65. However you still have the amount your paying for your phone on top of that. And if you are using a Galaxy Note 5, that fee starts at $24.67 per month. On top of that $65. For a family plan, it gets a bit more confusing. For 10GB of data, we're looking at $160. But again, you still have to factor in the cost of those phones. Which can be up to $35 each.
Sprint's latest plan is the All-In Plan. This plan gives you unlimited talk, text and data for $80. It's important to note here, that this is a lease, so when you decide to upgrade, you'll need to turn that phone in as well. There is another option, with Easy Pay. You get unlimited everything for $60 with Easy Pay, plus up to another $30 for the device you buy. That cost depends on the device that you are buying, however. If you're looking for a family plan, you can get 4 lines with a pool of 20GB of data for $100 per month though. Which is actually a really great value.
T-Mobile's plans are pretty straight forward. There are no overages or shared data here. For single lines, you can pay between $50 and $80 per month. Depending on if you want the 1GB, 3GB, 5GB of unlimited data plans. Family plans are basically priced the same as well. Now you can get 4 lines as low as $100 per month. That gives each line 1GB of data. However, they do have a promotion right now that gets you 4 lines for $120 per month and 10GB of data for each line. That's 40GB total.
Those prices sound pretty low too. But remember, you also need to pay for your phone each month, unless you buy it outright. Smartphones can cost up to $30 per month in addition to your rate plan. So keep that in mind when picking out a smartphone.
Verizon recently got rid of contracts, and is going all in on Verizon Edge. So now you're paying around $20-30/month for a flagship device on top of the $20 for your device to have access to your data pool. Their new data plans start at 1GB for $30, 3GB for $45, 6GB for $60 and 12GB for $80. So for instance, if you want 3GB of data and the new Droid Turbo 2. You'll be paying $26 for the device, $20 for the line to have access and $45 for data. Which comes out to $91 before taxes. Now if you want to add additional lines, it'll be another $20 for that line plus the cost of the device. So if you get 4 Droid Turbo 2's that would be $264 for the 12GB plan (closest to the comparable plans at the other carriers).
We've said this many times before. There's more into picking a carrier than just the price, or the phone selection they have. The most important reasoning is in the coverage of that carrier. And coverage maps on carrier websites can sometimes be less accurate than they are in real life. Usually because they haven't been updated recently. We recommend checking out Sensorly, who provides bias free coverage maps. As the data is crowdsourced from people like you and I.