Jan 23 AT 11:25 PM Taylor Wimberly 30 Comments

BillShrink compares smartphone data plans; T-Mobile comes out on top

BillShrink claims that 8 out of 10 people overpay for their cell phone service. Do you? Sprint and T-Mobile overhauled their calling plans last year then AT&T and Verizon followed suit this month. It is hard to keep up with all the different pricing options, so BillShrink has created The Ultimate Cell Phone Plans Comparison chart.

When comparing plans that included talk + text + web, T-Mobile had the best deal with their Even More Plus plans. I’m not surprised because I am a T-Mobile customer and decided to stay with the company last year when they began offering the no-contract plans.

The upside to the Even More Plus plans is that they provide the most freedom and flexibility. I get the best value by being able to easily switch which plan I am on without any additional fees. I am also free to leave T-Mobile whenever I want without having to pay an early termination fee. If someone offers me a better deal in the future, I have the ability to switch without all the normal wireless contract headaches.

T-Mobile is able to offer the lowest priced plans because they do not add in the cost of subsidizing the price of your phone. This means customers must pay full price for their phone, but it actually ends up being cheaper in most cases versus a 24 month contract. For customers who cannot afford the full price of a phone up front, T-Mobile offers an equipment installation plan that allows them to split up the price into 20 interest-free payments.

For example, let’s look at purchasing a Nexus One phone paired with T-Mobile’s cheapest talk + text + web plan. Customers can get the Nexus One for $179 with a 2 year contract and pay $79 a month for 500 minutes and unlimited text + web. The other option (which I chose) is to pay the full $529 price of the phone and get an Even More Plus plan at $59 a month.

  • Contract: 179 + (79 x 24) = $2075
  • No contract: 529 + (59 x 24) = $1945

The Nexus One might be a bad example since Google wants you to purchase it with a single line plan, but you can see the point I’m trying to make. If someone signs up for an Even More Plus plan and needs more minutes they can easily upgrade from 500 to 1000 (+$10) or unlimited (+$20).

Conclusion

I’m sure some people will hammer me over this article (because they are paying more), so head over to BillShrink.com and test out their wireless service analyzer. If you know your online carrier login, BillShrink can easily import your current account information and automatically compare calling plans in your area. I tried it out and found it was easy to use and extremely accurate.

Are you overpaying for your Android experience?

The big 4 compared. Large version below.

Link to large version. Right click and open in new window.

Source: BillShrink

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • DJ

    I have the sprint everything data 450 with any mobile anytime and im paying 85 a month after taxes and insurance. Its pretty good but I’m gonna call the retemtion center and see what I can get.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      My T-Mobile bill with taxes and fees is 66.97. That is the Even More Plus 500 with unlimited text + web. I’m thinking of bumping it up to 1000 minutes so its likely to change to about $78 including taxes.

      • http://Website Quasar

        I did the same thing and switched to Even More Plus and got my N1 at full price. On my old T-Mo contract plan, I was getting 600 minutes for $39.99. After switching, I now get 1000 minutes for 39.99, unlimited texts for $10 and unlimited data for $20. Had I kept my 600 minute plan, unlimited Android data would have been $30/mo. It’s just a better deal for T-Mo customers not to be on contract anymore really.

      • Bill

        dude, switch to virgin mobile

  • http://Website jim

    I have sprints 1500 everything data family. 2 lines runs me 85 a month before taxes. I don’t care how cheap t mobile is; the service is bad nearly everywhere. That network is very poor

    • http://www.dizware.blogspot.com Diz(WARE)

      I would disagree. I’ve never had any problems with T-Mobile where I’m at…I get 3G everywhere I go, and usually full bars. Of course, I do realize that this is not the case throughout the US but I’m not complaining at all :)

      Plus their Customer Service has always been pretty bomb when I call in. I don’t think they’ve ever put me on hold before and usually only takes 1 phone call to get whatever I need taken care of.

      In response to the article, I still pay about $94 per month for whatever plan I have. Its ridiculous and unnecessary, but I’ve stuck with it for almost 2 years. Probably about time for me to shop around for cheaper T-Mobile plans.

  • http://Website Jaseyn

    hey why dont you just let T-MOBILE fuck you up the asshole already. its not like you don’t suck their dick enough.

    • http://twitter.com/DrJeckyl Dr.Jeckyl

      What’s with the hostility? Were you traumatized by a T-Mo rep?

  • http://TheBartlemans.com Ricky

    I have 2 lines on the unlimited everything plan (text,phone,web) with the Nexus One and my total bill is $140 per month AND no contracts. Can’t really beat that…

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  • http://Website Michael

    OK, but in your headline, I’d say that T-Mobile comes out on top for you — not for everyone.

    For me, Sprint is $2,600 cheaper — backed up by billshrink.

    1) Look at a family plan for 4 with unlimited web/text and 1,500 minutes on BillShrink. Sprint is cheaper by $20 per month or $240 for two years.

    2) With Sprint, Nights/Weekends start at 7pm and any mobile is free — I read that over 1/4 of us don’t have landlines anymore. With these numbers, Sprint’s 1,500 minutes is the same as unlimited for my family. Not so with TMobile.

    3) Add in the cost of the phones. $179 for android with sprint, and $399 for android on tmobile. Tmobile does have an advantage because it’s no contract — but not really. If you want to leave at any time, you pay 200 ETF with Sprint. The 200 plus the 179 is still cheaper than the 399. Sprint phone savings: $220*4 = $880.

    4) If you don’t get a discount of at least 15% on price plans with sprint you aren’t trying. I got 25% and then I got them to knock $50 off of each phone. This led to an extra $1000 in plan savings and $200 in phone savings. Plus two car chargers and two cases. I will note that I think I could have gotten 15% off on TMobile monthly prices, but nothing on the phones.

    Even without the discounts, I end up at over $1,000 less when using Sprint compared to TMobile. If TMobile didn’t match the Sprint discounts, I would have saved a further $1,200 over two years.

    p.s. If you are trying to bargain with Sprint, look up the Sprint EPP on the web. Then print off that plan and bring it with you into the local store. See what they can do to match it. The advantage of matching in the store is that they can also give you additional discounts on the handsets that EPP can’t.

    • http://withoutbren.tumblr.com Brenton

      I agree 100% with Michael, even if T-Mobile has “cheaper” plans you still bet more with Sprint’s Anymobile Anytime feature. Currently I’m on Sprint’s 450 Everything Data Plan for $83 which includes the taxes, fees, surcharges and total equipment protection.. and uhh.. I’m content!

      Being able to talk all I want to any wireless customer on any network without wasting those 450 minutes and without being charged anything extra is great and a big time money saver!

      Besides, Sprint has excellent coverage in areas T-Mobile only wishes it could touch. I travel to Big Bear every so often and I need a provider that works.. T-Mobile isn’t them nor At&t when comparing other carriers. Verizon and Sprint have excellent coverage but Sprint is earing their customers when they say “WE WANT TO SAVE”

      Oh and another great benefit.. Sprint now offers to their customers other opportunity to upgrade their phone every year instead of having to wait (2) two years once your contract is up. They also offer what they call the “early upgrade”.. fee for this yes, but I surely won’t hurt your wallet.

      Oh and 4G. I’m done :]

    • http://Website Zach

      Not to mention that you get contract pricing and when the account goes Premier the main line gets yearly upgrades… it’s a no-brainer to get Sprint for me

  • http://Website Jeff

    Sprint is still the best deal with their Everything Plus Data … same $60/month for 500 voice / unlimited text & data pricing as the T-mob Even More Plus. And you also benefit from:

    - MUCH better 3G coverage than tmob
    - Free voice roaming on Verizon’s network when needed
    - Nights starting at 7 pm
    - Unlimited wireless calls to ALL of the 4 US carriers
    - Extras like GPS nav, Sprint TV and Sprint Music

    With a 2-year contract you also benefit from subsidy so for example the Hero or Moment have a lower TCO:
    Phone Cost: 180 + (59 x 24) = 1620

    So you save $300 and get substantial extra value. The only downside right now is the Hero/Moment are not as nice as the Nexus One, though they will be getting Android 2.1 of course. So keep your eye out for the next big Sprint Android phone later this year (the rumored HTC Supersonic sounds awesome for example).

  • http://withoutbren.tumblr.com Brenton

    I agree 100% with Michael, even if T-Mobile has “cheaper” plans you still bet more with Sprint’s Anymobile Anytime feature. Currently I’m on Sprint’s 450 Everything Data Plan for $83 which includes the taxes, fees, surcharges and total equipment protection.. and uhh.. I’m content!

    Being able to talk all I want to any wireless customer on any network without wasting those 450 minutes and without being charged anything extra is great and a big time money saver!

    Besides, Sprint has excellent coverage in areas T-Mobile only wishes it could touch. I travel to Big Bear every so often and I need a provider that works.. T-Mobile isn’t them nor At&t when comparing other carriers. Verizon and Sprint have excellent coverage but Sprint is earing their customers when they say “WE WANT TO SAVE”

    Oh and another great benefit.. Sprint now offers to their customers other opportunity to upgrade their phone every year instead of having to wait (2) two years once your contract is up. They also offer what they call the “early upgrade”.. fee for this yes, but I surely won’t hurt your wallet.

    Oh and 4G. I’m done :]

  • http://Website UMMMMMM?!?!?

    Sprint MAY be cheaper for some people, but NOBODY can compare the service that Sprint gives compared to T-Mobile. The customer service is FUEGO, and plus T-Mobile has MUCH better 3G connection, may not have its 3G as big as Sprint, but the 3G stays with you wherever you go. Plus T-Mobile has MUCH better coverage with calls, and NO dropped calls. My dad currently owns Sprint with a Hero, and he gets dropped calls ALL the time and he loses 3G. I have T-Mobile with a G1 and i NEVER drop a call, and i NEVER lose 3G.

    P.S: Sprint’s 4G may be coming, but probably in ONE state. Its not going to spread out over the U.S soon. And it must suck anyways because its a new technology and a CRAPLOAD of difficulties will come along with it. My dad is switching to T-Mobile soon because its the best, and im not leaving T-Mobile anytime soon, ESPECIALLY with the pricing and the phones they have :)

    Oh and EXTREME speeds with 3G. I’m done :]

    • http://Website Jeff

      I can respect Tmobile for their great support of Android and keeping up with the current phones, and I also love that they are so competitive on price — we need competitive pressure like that.

      That’s cool that Tmobile works so well for some of you guys.
      Unfortunately they are very spotty in my area and looking at the 3G coverage maps directly from the carriers, they just haven’t placed a priority on 3G coverage nationwide. Hopefully they will build it out, but currently when you compare the national maps they are severely lacking:

      http://www.cellularmaps.com/3g_compare.shtml

      As for Sprint 4G, it’s currently already up and running right now in 30+ cities in 10 states … they have the data cards but of course we are still waiting on the handsets.

      http://www.sprint.com/en/stores/popups/4G_coverage_popup.shtml

    • http://Website Jeff C

      I disagree on the customer service aspect. I am a new Sprint customer coming Tmobile. Tmobile was very good. I have needed to use Sprints customer service several times so far and have been very pleased. Also my coverage with Tmobile was never good, for me anyway Sprint has been much better. I have the 1500 Everything Data Plan with 5 lines. When I did the comparison I got more bang for my buck and better service with Sprint. Also night and weekends start 2 hours earlier and unlimited mobile to mobile with ANY mobile was big for me as well.

  • http://nexusonederful.blogspot.com/ n00b

    Did the same thing – unlocked N1 with the 500 min Even More Plus plan. Love the freedom of an unlocked phone, Android, GSM, and no early termination fee. Overall, an amazingly easy experience to purchase the phone and switch from AT&T to TMobile.

    The one surprising bit for me was that T-Mobile gave me a AAA discount. Even if you don’t work at a large company which gets a corporate discount, almost everyone’s with AAA, so remember to bring your AAA card and ask for a AAA discount when signing up with TMobile.

  • http://Website abi

    all i have to say is…. people who talk bad about t-mobiles 3g network need to seriously try it out before talking. t-mobiles 3g is fast reliable always on never drops down plus there new upgrade to 7.2mbps and upcoming hspa+ 21 will be even better. now for voice are u people serious they have the best voice quality and not one not one droped call. need to try it before u knock it. it aint the old tmobile network from years back. its better and the prices are better by far even if it is a few bucks. few bucks added more and more go a long way

    tmobile is hitting back and hitting hard watch. seriously try it then talk

  • http://Website Chris

    I like how it showed the price comparison and T-mobile came out on top, but the comparison should allow for some additional options too. Such as Insurance and add on’s too.
    One Major factor that has held me to T-mobile for 3 contracts is there international calling and international coverage. I travel frequently to Mexico and place calls from and to Mexico as well. If it wasn’t for T-mobile’s international calling plan for an additional $4.99 and $0.025 a min, my bill would be outrages on other carriers.
    add On’s can also be a deal breaker too. My 2 cents.

  • http://Website Jonah

    Virgin Mobile has 300 anytime minutes + unlimited Text/Web on Sprint network for only $25 bucks a month inclusive, no-contract. Thier addmittedly suckier smartphones start at $69 and go up to $299 for a Blackberry Curve.

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  • http://Website Tim

    “BillShrink claims that 8 out of 10 people overpay for their cell phone service.”

    8 out 10? Try more like 10 out of 10.

    People have gotten so dumbed-down — conditioned into believing that $70/month for a cell phone plan w/data is a decent deal simply because it’s common. . . simply because “that’s what everyone else is paying.”

    I wish more people would stop and think.

    These companies are wringing money from you like a sponge.

  • http://koowie.com Koowie

    T-Mobile has the best prices but they don’t have the best service or the best phones.

  • Cheapoguy

    I still think that the prepaid plan from Tmobile is the cheapest. I went from paying $60 a month to $30. You still get 5 GB of data which is pretty decent. I can stream music, use my GPS, watch videos, surf the web, send email, etc. The best part is that I don’t have 2yr contract. There’s a page set up here which shows how to set it up http://bit.ly/yv1y4r