I’m not big on amplifying promotions, but this one is for a limited time (said to be days or weeks) and seems big enough to have a deeper look and discussion on, as I’m sure more than a few readers may be interested. I have not been compensated by Sprint in any form for this post and have no ties to the company.
The offer: Sprint is offering a $15 per month “unlimited” talk, text, and data plan (per line), called “Unlimited Kickstart“.
As with all mobile “unlimited” plans, you definitely should read the fine print.
I reviewed Sprint’s new unlimited plan, and here’s what I found:
- Roaming charges do apply – so make sure any data use is only on Sprint’s network (you should be able to control this within your carrier settings on your phone).
- To get the $15/mo. price per line, you need to enroll in auto-pay. Easy enough.
- You can bring your own device. You will want to as there is no discounts on phone purchases with this plan.
- Unlimited streaming is in standard definition at the following speeds: streaming video (up to 480p), streaming gaming (up to 2mbps), streaming music (500kbps). The music streaming speed seems sufficient, but there is no HD video with this plan.
- Shareable data (i.e. mobile hotspot) is not included. This could be a deal-killer for some.
- Data de-prioritization during congestion. I take this to mean that other customers in higher-tiered plans get priority at times of congestion and your speeds could be reduced, or throttled. How big of an issue could this be? Your mileage will vary based on location.
I was still left with a few unanswered questions, however, so I didn’t stop there. I chatted with Sprint customer service to find some additional details (and found both good and bad):
- There is no throttling of data speeds based on monthly data usage. That is unexpectedly good.
- 4G LTE speeds (note streaming limitations above).
- The price remains the same for the life of the plan (it is not promotional pricing). I’d love to believe this is true – but it sounds a little too good to be true. According to a Sprint spokesperson, “Once you’re on the promotion there is no step up. You get in during this limited time window, you are going to enjoy that rate for a very, very long time.”
While there are some clear limitations here, overall this is a fairly unrestrained “unlimited” plan at this low of a price and stacks up very nicely in the cheapest data plan battle, even comparing favorably to most of the cheapest MVNO resellers of access to Sprint’s network (Sprint is one of the 4 big national owners of wireless spectrum that must resell wholesale access to mobile virtual network operators like Google Fi, Tracfone, Republic Wireless, and XFinity Mobile, among others). Most other carriers have some variation of unlimited that has data throttling at certain specified monthly data usage amounts – this plan does not. And at $15/month, the other limitations seem like they can be forgiven, if you’re looking for a cheap data plan.
Current Sprint customers, including those at its Boost or Virgin Mobile subsidiaries, are also not eligible. It’s worth noting that Sprint is in the beginning steps of merging with T-Mobile. If the merger is completed, it is not clear what impact that would have on this plan continuing.
It should also be noted that Sprint’s network is not typically lauded as the fastest:
Or, the most reliable (although Sprint has spent a lot on an ad campaign that lauds “Our network reliability is within 1% of Verizon’s”).
Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Review – Final Thoughts:
If you’ve been happy with Sprint (or any MVNO’s that use their network) or are looking for a cheap/frugal data plan, then Sprint Unlimited Kickstart could be a plan worth switching to. If you haven’t (or if you need a mobile hotspot or want HD video streaming), you probably would be better off looking elsewhere.