Three of the nation's Big 4 cellphone carriers have announced rate cuts, and they represent the most historic pricing drop in almost 20 years! Here's your guide to saving money on wireless service.
Huge new rate cuts from 3 of the Big 4
- T-Mobile changed the market for the big guys with its Uncarrier strategy. Now they've expanded their family plan to support up to 10 people. You sign up no contract and pay a real price for a phone.
UPDATE: T-Mobile cut prices again, effective Aug. 27. It is a simple change this time around. A family plan can now include 10 lines, as I reported last week. But the price has dropped and the deal's been simplified. The first line is $50 per month. The second line is $30 per month. Lines 3 through 10 are $10 per month. And each line comes with unlimited talk, text and 2.5 GB of data through 2015.
Remember, T-Mobile will pay termination fees for you if you leave any contract carrier and come to them. And there are no overages on T-Mobile either! If you go over your data limit, you get throttled until the next billing cycle. But you never get that bill shock, when you open up your bill and its hundreds more than you expected!
- Meanwhile, if you're an individual, T-Mobile charges $80 per month for its unlimited data plan.
- Sprint has a new offer at a jaw-dropping low price: You can have up to 10 people on your plan for a flat $100 with the Sprint Family Share Pack. That includes unlimited talk, text, and 20GB of data to share among the 10 lines. (There's also an additional 2GB included per line to avoid any overages!)
Like T-Mobile, Sprint will also pay your early termination fees if you leave another carrier.
Although this is a limited-time offer, the Sprint Family Share Pack is hands down the best offer for family plans as of now. Current Sprint family plan customers who want to get this amazing deal must meet one of these conditions:
1. One Sprint Easy Pay phone transaction on your account.
2. One line is upgrade eligible on your account.
3. By adding a new line of service to these plans on your account.
For individuals, the company also has new lower-priced plans too. $60 per month will get you unlimited talk and text with unlimited data.
- Verizon has just announced a rate cut for Edge customers. What they used to charge $110 for will now be discounted to $60 a month. That includes unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of data.
- 2GB will be enough for most people. But if you're a real data hog, that's not going to be enough for you. What you don't want is bill shock when you get hit with those overages!
- Meanwhile, the Verizon offering certainly isn't the best deal for single individuals. But it's worth noting because Verizon has historically been reluctant to discount.
- If you're looking for the best and cheapest deal for individuals with unlimited everything, check out this $25 a month option from a smaller player in the wireless world.
- Finally, AT&T and Verizon no longer offer unlimited data.
As with most discounts, you have to ask for these to get them; if you don't ask, you don't get! And if you're intent on staying with any of the Big 4, take a look at WhistleOut.com. The site makes it easy for you to find the best plan to meet your needs with a free comparison shopping tool.
For a full list of all pricing in the market from a variety of carriers, see my Smartphone and Data Plan Guide for 2014.
Here's a quick visual representation of who is offering what:
* No overages; if you go over your data limit, your connection speed will be slowed to a crawl (aka "throttled") until the next billing cycle.
**Overages are possible, so beware of bill shock if you are a heavy data user! Includes a subsidized phone with a 2-year agreement.
|Wireless Carrier||Price||Number of lines||Talk||Text||Data|
|T-Mobile||The first line is $50 per month. The second line is $30. Lines 3 through 10 are $10.||Up to 10||Unlimited||Unlimited||2.5GB per line|
|Sprint||$100*||Up to 10||Unlimited||Unlimited||20GB to share among all 10 lines, and an additional 2GB included per individual line.
* There's also an additional $15 per line fee.
|AT&T||$160||4||Unlimited||Unlimited||10GB in total|