Sprint is currently the third largest carrier in the US, connecting almost 56 million Americans at the end of 2012. The carrier as it is today exists due to a 2005 merger between the original Sprint Corporation and former wireless company Nextel Communications.
While Sprint was the first carrier to launch a 4G wireless service in the US, unveiling its 4G WiMax network in 2008, it was only the third to introduce 4G LTE to customers, which began operating in July 2012. As such, its LTE network isn’t the widest or fastest available, though the company is making great strides to catch up to competitors such as Verizon and plans to expand its current LTE network to more than 100 new markets throughout 2013, as well as improve its existing 3G network. Its 4G WiMax network is available much more extensively than LTE and, although not as fast as LTE, average WiMax download speeds are still three to five times faster than the average download speeds achievable with 3G.
What Sprint does offer is standard voice and data plans, as well as Family packages for up to 5 lines. Alongside T-Mobile, it is one of the few carriers to currently offer truly unlimited data through its Simply Everything Plan, with no throttling or slowing of speeds. The Simply Everything Plan was one of the first unlimited text, calls and data plans promoted by a US carrier, and although it’s one of the pricier plans that Sprint sells, it’s still great value when compared to similar offerings from AT&T or Verizon.
While Sprint formerly only offered post-paid plans, handing over prepaid options to its subsidiaries Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, as of January 2013 the company has launched its Sprint As You Go prepaid brand. Unfortunately, Sprint’s prepaid services are only available at Sprint stores and through authorized distributors, and can’t be purchased online. Rumour has it that once its LTE network is more established, Sprint will be repositioning its WiMax network to service prepaid customers exclusively.
Sprints’ selection of devices is standard, and includes smartphones running the Android and Windows Phone platforms, Blackberry phones and the iPhone (although its range of basic cell phones is quite minimal). Being a CDMA carrier, Sprint may not be the best option for customers who travel frequently, although they do offer dual mode CDMA/GSM handsets.
In terms of customer service, Sprint offer lots of website troubleshooting and online support including live chat and email, as well as a large network of retail stores.
If you’re looking for a reliable carrier with good speeds that won’t break the bank, you may find Sprint a much more affordable option the Verizon or AT&T. Although its 4G network isn’t yet as extensive as that of Verizon or AT&T, it’s available in most metro markets, and Sprint offer extremely competitive plans with the added bonus of no data throttling to slow you down.
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