How much does a Sprint Pre save you? A lot | webOS Nation

How much does a Sprint Pre save you? A lot 48

by Derek Kessler Sat, 26 Sep 2009 8:21 pm EDT

The cost of smartphone ownership, charted

Sprint has for a few years slowly been gaining a reputation as a discount carrier. While that reputation comes with other stigmas (e.g. why so cheap?), it does come with one significant advantage: saving money. The folks over at PC World decided that they wanted to define just how much it costs to purchase and operate a smartphone on America’s four national carriers. The results are as you would expect, with AT&T and Verizon coming out on top, and Sprint at the bottom by far. The only truly fair way to compare the networks is by looking at their unlimited everything plans, since the features in the lower-priced plans all vary widely in features by carrier. So to go with the top-tier plans, they also pulled out the top tier smartphones pitting the iPhone 3GS 16 GB, BlackBerry Curve 8900, and Nokia E71x on AT&T vs. Verizon’s BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Tour 9630, and BlackBerry Curve 8330 vs. the G1 on T-Mobile vs. Sprint’s Palm Pre (which did not include the recent $50 price cut).

The most expensive? The iPhone 3GS on AT&T, with a starting cost of $235.99 (pre tax) and a monthly bill of $149.99. adding up to $3835.75 over two year contract. At the other end of the spectrum is our favorite, the Palm Pre. It has an identical out-the-door price at $235.99 (including $100 mail-in-rebate, excluding tax) but only has a monthly unlimited bill of $99.99. Total cost of owernership? $2635.75. That’s a savings of exactly $1200, as Sprint pointed out over the summer can add up to a lot of coin.


It's amazing just how many consumers don't do the long term math, instead focusing only on the price of the phone.

Lucky for Apple and AT&T, there's a lot of dumb people out there... (and I mean that in the nicest possible way)

@Precentral: You forgot to tack on GPS navigation... if you really wanna compare features tit-for-tat, tack on another $9.99 per month to everyone else's plans...

So total cost of ownership would be:

AT&T: $4075.51 - 2635.75 with Sprint = $1439.76 savings
VERIZON: $4024.51 - 2635.75 with Sprint = $1388.76 savings
T-MOBILE: $3424.75 - 2635.75 with Sprint = $789 in savings

And include that the Pre only cost $99 now.

Not only that...
but look out my Sprint plan:
First off, its $130.00 for 2 people, which means $65 per phone.

Unlimited data (includes sms/texts, and lots of free video services etc)

1400 minutes anytime (between 2 people, yes)... But Unlimited mobile to mobile (new!) which is huge.

Realistically, i don't know what the use is for the 99 dollar unlimited everything plan. This is what should be pitted against the $150 iphone plan.

Well, it's amazing to me that all the pro-Sprint people are saying that Sprint is "cheaper in the long run". IT'S ONLY CHEAPER IF YOU TALK MORE THAN 450 MIN/MO AND CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT CARRIER-BASED NAVIGATION UNLIMITED TEXTING!! If you don't talk and text constantly on your phone and you have an external GPS/actual map (I know, the two aren't equivalent, but still...), then Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T cost EXACTLY THE SAME PRICE over two years! They're all $70/mo. Yes, getting a few texts in on the other carriers will cost you upwards of $5/mo, but many, many people will never see this incredible $1200 savings over two years that is being talked about by everyone.

Sorry for the rant, but as someone who doesn't text frequently or go over 450 min/mo and can live without carrier-based GPS I feel the need to point out the fact that Sprint is only cheaper if you use every possible feature of the phone a lot.

Deisel, I completely agree with you. There are SOME exceptions, and those people, like yourselves, can benefit of being able to pay just about the same for any phone and service on any carrier.

But for the majority, I do believe they want EVERYTHING they can get from their phone. People don't use smartphones as just phones anymore... They are more like mobile computers, and they text alot (especially the young crowd) and talk alot. Those are some people... I have the 450-minute Everything Data, and rarely go over the 450.... but I DO like the fact that I dont have to worry about the texting, because I get business, personal and service texts that reach into the thousands, and the included GPS and Navigation whenever I do need. I don't use it all the time, it's just great to know that it's there whenever I may need it. That's the bonus...

for about $85/mo, I use my phone to the max, w/o any care in the world about my phone bill going up. And I get great Sprint service, so, WIN-WIN for me.

It sounds like it's a great deal for you for sure! Maybe I'm just bitter because Sprint is essentially nonexistent in my area :(

And I have to admit, when I did trial the Pre for 30 days I did find myself sending more texts just because there was no charge. Also, the Sprint Nav was nice to have, though I found that the phone got extremely hot when Nav was running while the phone was plugged in.

I would be really interested to know what percentage of smartphone users are on limited vs unlimited plans. Maybe I really am in the minority.

not to mention free gps which can add up to $10. They also left out blackberry service which other carriers take you to the bank, whule sprint includes it with simply data plans

Even better now. On Sprint you can do the 450 min plan for $69.99, and with Any Mobile, Any Time, you virtually have unlimited minutes for even less than the $99.99--I think it comes out under $80/mo. Even more reason to have a Palm Pre or a Sprint Smart Phone.

It's even less if you get some of the deals out right now...
Palm Pre's out for like $79? Jump on it!

Seriously, it's been blowing my mind how much more affordable Sprint is. And now, they have killer smartphones (Palm Pre, soon to get HTC Hero). I mean, I can understand how people might still get the iPhone -- it still is leader of the pack, but AT&T is so much costlier.

I think Sprint is still dealing with the effects of poor customer service from YEARS AGO -- since even THAT has improved in recent times.

Factor in the electricity to charge the dang thing every 4-6 hours and it might be a little more even. Then, factor in the price of the Touchstone kit... and then an extra Touchstone and charger for the office... and then a charger for the car... and then buying all those apps you're going to want from the for-pay app store...

Well, that might not make up for the whole $1k difference, but you get what I'm driving at. :)

Seriously though, I wouldn't trade my Sprint Everything plan for an iPhone plan... no way.

I, like many people, have had my fair share of bad customer service experiences with Sprint over the years; to the point that I gave serious consideration to leaving for another carrier. But what always kept me from leaving was the much higher cost of all the other carriers. Not to mention that if you don't have a simply everything plan, but instead have an everything data, or in my case an everything data family share plan, Sprint also offers many corporate discounts to lower your bill even more. Some of those discounts are as high as 30% and anyone can qualify for some of them. For my Palm pre and my wife's centro and our 2 other phones, I have a EDFS 1500 plan and get a monthly discount of 25% (a discount anyone can qualify for if you are willing to do a little leg work). Last time I compared to getting the same services on ATT, I am saving $2200 per year. I didn't even figure the number with verizon because it was ridiculous from the start.

Oh yeah, don't forget eprp. Also a better deal anyone can get. Go check out Russ McGuire's blog:

ok, a friend of mine reminds me thatI sometimes sound like a walking Sprint commercial. Lol, I guess I do.

So, fwiw, I would leave sprint in a heartbeat if ATT wasn't so insanely expensive. And they carried the Pre, of course.

i used to have a pre but i went through 4 phones. 3 had bad screens and 1 just died. i just got an iphone 3gs and loving the games on it which is why i wanted it anyways. i do miss sprint but att is no so bad i got hooked up 22% off. i pay $160 for 2 iphone 3gs', unlimited data,texts, and 1400 rollover minutes with 10 free numbers that dont eat your minutes i think its a great deal

I get 27% off with Sprint. i have a Pre and my wife a BB. Unlimited data, texts, 1500 minutes, gps, unlimited calls to any mobil, and insurance on both phones. My total monthly costs...$114. I can have 2 Palm Pres and pay the same. Now do the math again and let me know if your plan with ATT is "a great deal?"

Look pal, I had Sprint for 5 years I know they have great deals I don't need to be schooled about pinching pennies. The palm pre has a great os but it would be better if they work out some bugs and fix their hadware quality. On the last day I had my pre, I was at the beach and tried to take a picture of my three year old daughter but guess what, my pre's camera would not boot up. I tried to close and open the app multiple times. I eventually had to reset the phone and it was very frustrating that i had all these little problems with the pre. My iPhone has ran perfect so far and the battery life is great after a few setting are changed lasts me all 12 hours at work and runs into the evening with heavy use of games and Internet. Besides, my phone bill is a tax write off since I use it as a pager for my job.

I'm on an Everything Data Plan 1500, and have Palm Pre's. With my company discount, i pay only $150/month. With an Iphone i'd be paying 90+ $77 for each phone ($50 data/text + $17 7pm N&W + $10 navigation) + $20 for 2 more lines), that's $398/month!!! I can't imagine paying that much for phone service. And as someone who was a sprint customer, then verizon, att, and now back to sprint, i'm really glad they were able to turn their customer service and quality of service around. Sprint has really turned itself around. Now people just need to get smarter.

The best deal is that I'm paying $50 per month for my unlimited plan. I don't call any landlines regularly, so the Any Mobile feature makes my plan unlimited. I also have a 23% discount on my plan to bring it down from $70.

Just out of curiosity, but how come no one ever uses the 450 minute, unlimited everything else plan in these reviews? With free mobile to mobile on any carrier, you REALLY can't beat the 450 unlimited plan.

Because you need a comparable plan to make comparisons like these. Since nobody has exactly the same plans for their less-than-unlimited customers, it's near impossible to draw conclusions as to which is technically cheaper.

I disagree at least in terms of ATT and sprint. You can come up with comparable packages, you just have to add in all of ATT's extra charges for things like unlimited text, tv, and navigation.

That's exactly right. The differences are even more outstanding when you come off of the top tier of plans. BUT the reason that they don't is that with the iphone you have no choice but the unlimited plan.

You can DEFINITELY get the iPhone with a non-unlimited plan.

Really??? That is a definite change from what it was the last tome I looked. I'll have to go check it out. But if ATT still charges extra for unlimited text, tv, navigation, etc. which are all included with sprint's ED plans, the difference is still MORE dramatic, not less.

Yes they still charge for those (streaming TV isn't available still) but the minimum plan is 450 minutes and data which is $39.99 and $30 respectively adding up to $69.99. I was just simply stating unlimited isn't the only way to get the iPhone.

Lol! You editied your post you sly dog! Make me out to be the bad guy. =) that's alright. Thanks for the info though. Like I said, I wasn't aware of it.

lol. I don't even remember what I edited out anymore. Sorry man.

I think no one compares 450 minute plans because the savings isn't as dramatic. Plus as you stated Sprint has unlimited mobile to any mobile. Also ATT has rollover minutes so unlimited everything is the only exactly the same feature plan to compare.

I was just about to comment on how the Storm is available for $49.99 now but then realized that PC World did this article back in July. Even so Verizon is way more expensive in the long run.

I think Sprint/Pre is cheaper but all of the companies are charging far more then I think they should. What are you getting for the amount you pay. Some of you pay more for your plans then cable TV and Internet combined, and those services are very high also. Corporate America have been forcing us to to buy higher priced plans if we want even a decent level of service. Putting services you want, like one or two children's program networks with a bunch of programing you don't need. Banks charging $35 if you overdraw a debit card. Text messaging for $20 a month that uses very little data. We should stop allowing these sorts of practices. The more we blindly allow these sorts of things without debate the more they will keep effecting our ability to do things like save for retirement; bad for the consumer and the nation.

I love my palm pre and sprint plan!! its cheap and good.

don't forget the rad nfl package which includes live gameday radio.

If you got good-great Sprint coverage in your area, and the Pre will work for you.... AWESOME! Be smart enough to save that couple hundred, and invest it.... take money and make money. That's a REAL baller move, POW! =)

I had one of the cheaper plans on Verizon and I'm still paying less with Sprint and getting more for my money now. I used to have Verizon BB Curve and paid $39.99 for the 450 minute plan + $30 for Blackberry unlimited data/email + $10 for 500 text + $1.99 for the extended warranty. So my total plan was about $88 a month including taxes. I was always ok with the 450 minutes cause most of my family/friends was on Verizon too. And the 500 text was enough because it was also free "IN" text as well. I was very hesitant to switch to Sprint because I heard negative reviews on the coverage & cust srvc. But I wanted the Pre so I switched and I am so glad I did. Not only do I pay less for more, I LOVE my phone and get so many nice extras for free like the Sprint TV & navigation! My husband and I have the 1500 shared unlimited data plan, the $7/each for warranty/ins and have the 10% discount w/credit union so between the 2 of us, it's $140/month including taxes. And no more worries about the minutes anyway since the Any Mobile started. I haven't had any issues with coverage and customer service has been pretty good. I love Sprint and my Pre!!

I am having a similar experience, phonephetish. Like you, I was with Verizon until I switched to Sprint for the Pre. I now have the everything data plan, and because I am a corporate customer, when I was concerned that I wouldn't go over the 450 anytime minutes, Sprint agreed to add 60 minutes to the plan. All of that, of course, was before the bonus Any Mobile which blows the anytime minutes out of the water. Also, the unlimited minutes start at 7pm vs. 9pm with Verizon. So, I am paying over $30 less than their cheapest comparable plan with data, in addition to navigation, NFL app and now no worries about going over the anytime minutes. After the corp. discount, I am paying slightly over $55 a month. I had the same corp. discount with Verizon and paid between $80-$90 because I needed at least 900 anytime minutes due to their restrictive hours. Very satisfied, and love the pre, too.

1st) Thank You rlopin for beginning this subject to the forefront. About time, we have some reflection and sharing on the issue of "cell/smartphone charges"!
2) Netwere: U make a good point, but the only method that will cease what providers are doing will be a humongous rising from customers nationwide - - which frankly, 'AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN - not in this or the next generation - truly sorry to say! But: there is still yet another way - ( hey, everyone really think and you might figure it out. More on that at a much later time and place).
Proceeding onward:
3rd) Thanks to ALL of you on the uptic regarding plan comparisons - which is a 'REAL' and complete "PITR" (pain...rear), absolutely 'grueling'!!

But the Unltd. plans are the most desirable, while Sprint's 450 is also a 'good/great' deal.

4th) But as DieselDonkey pointed out: For users who use less than 450min/mo - well, it would be quite profitable if provider's would dvlp. a more affordable plan for them (albeit it will most likely be ltd. in minutes/services).

5th) & Final!
The absolute truth of the matter is that the Customer is on the losing end in this. Now why do I say that, you blurt? As technology advances, businesses change methods of communicating with the public (customers) which forces customers to strive to keep up just to take care of their daily business (+ entertainment, etc.), which in turn opens an opportunity for manufacturers and providers to keep fueling the fire (or war, or game) with more products/services at higher prices.

So, whatever plan you can afford is more apt to be a savings to your income. And as dellibedaboss stated: Take the savings and Invest it -- Take Money & Make More Money.

P.S.: I do not like any of the providers, but nice to know what to expect WHEN I switch (currently: ERTHLK, 250min/$29.95 mo. incl. unltd calls (no roam chrgs)/unltd data/FREE txt/no gps/edit,vu & sync Word,Xcel/IM/unltd contact d-base with multiple #'s,addr & URLs/cam-camcorder,calendar,blu,voice mmo,voice dial,email + 10-anonymous/world clock/multimedia-music/games/ringtones/mobilesecurity, etc all on an old T-650) -- which I have to give up soon as ERTHLK will no longer be servicing wireless phones. AARGH!).

But with this conversation, I will probably go to Sprint myself. Hate VRZN, scared of AT&T, can't get others in this area of #2 city-CHI. But (my) BUSINESS DEMANDS I have to go with some provider - - so off I go into the wild TO DEAL FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH THAT ignoramous 7:00pm - 9:00am N&W crap-o-la! GEEZ! Definitely not looking forward to that, but here I go!

Wish me luck! (if you care to)

P.P.S.: Please forgive my looonng-winded(ness) above!

I would like to add this info to the play field. If you take the cheap ED plan for sprint and compare to att only there are draw backs for goin to att IMO.

Sprint 450 ED 69.99
Unlimited mobile to mobile
Unlimited text
Unlimited data (ie web, sprint tv, emails, ...)
Unlimited night & weekend startin at 7:00 pm ends at 7:00 am.

Now I won't put all the features but these are some, now for att

ATT 450 minutes $39.99
Unlimited att to att minutes
Unlimited calling to 10 numbers
Limited nights and weekend 5000 minutes
Unlimited text ($20)
Unlimited data ($15 for non pda and 30) for pda
Gps ($8.99)
Early nights and weekend($9.99)

Total: around $100 for non pda and $110 for pda.

Att clearly offer less for wat sprint offers for a cheaper price. At the time att makes money for not bundling these features together, and this is wat hurts them. Sprint does offer these features optional but in reality if you are better of takin the bundle they offer. With att no bundle offer at all.

I have to say all the unlimited stuff is a bonus for me. At verizon, after employee discounts, I was paying $120/mo for four phones, 700 shared minutes. No data whatsoever, but unlimited messaging. And yes, it is "worth" it in the sense I use it more than the non-unlimited plans. After tax price

I've come to the point where data would be useful for me on the run, as so my brother. So add ~$70 (after tax) to that to get two smartphones. Not to mention I'd be stuck w/ a BB with no wifi (at the time) or a shitty WinMO phone.

Sprint... I now pay about $185/mo after taxes for 4 phones, all of them have unlimited data leaving room for my sister to get a smartphone if she wanted.

Sprint was a no brainer when I factored in the data plans. And I can roam on verizon? It's a near win-win solution for me, and aside from them not giving me a free airave (which they said they would, so it's more of a complaint on the CS side) and the shitty store I bought the Pre's from, it's been good.

I didn't go through every post. Did someone mention yet that Sprint's new anytime plans includes Mobile to Mobile to anyone, no matter the Cell Phone Company. So as Sprint Anytime Plan Customer, I now can call anyone's cell phone no matter what service (ATT, T-MOBILE, VERIZON) and have unlimited talk time. Correct me if I'm wrong.

By the way that NEW mobile to mobile feature is included with all anytime plans including the Sprint $69.00 450 min anytime plan. So, if you only call cell phones you can talk as long as you want.

To my friend - mikec - take note. This is how you properly qualify an article!

Nicemarmot thank you for your view of the situation also.

We have the ability to voice our concerns and have them heard, possibly even acted on through policy and legislation. If the government is going to spend over $100,000,000 to map the Internet then they are probably also interested in anything inhibiting our ability to communicate because this effects our Gross National Product. Limiting customers by overcharging, and attaching a phone to a specific carrier seems to go against this nations policies of increasing our connectivity.

Here is what I wrote the FCC:

"I have just purchased a used "Palm Pre". Sprint and Palm have designed the phone so that it can't e used unless activated. The OS is web centric but it has WIFI and should be operate without a Sprint connection. Sprint wants to charge a huge premium, about $70 a month though I already have a unlimited data plan and smart phone. The government is spending hundreds of millions on an Internet survey and it should be just as concerned about
carries doing business in such a way as to limit consumers fair use/price of wireless connected devices. Sprint/Palm are now following AT&T/Apple's poor practices".

Reference: 100 Mil + to map internet:

Reference: Locking handsets to carrier:

Hey Derek, my name is BJ DeHut and I am a representative for Sprint. I have seen a lot of phone carrier and device comparisons but none that really drive it home like this. Adding up the true cost show the true value, great article!

I bought my palm pre for 200 bucks 3 weeks after it came out from radio shack. My 2 yr contract had just ended so I renewed it with sprint. I pay 70 dollars a month for unlimited everything with 450 minutes free nites and weekends at 7...also any mobile any time...I use about 50 anytime minutes no matter what. I think if anyone needs more minutes than that for themselves is ridiculous. Unlimited text picture mail internet...can't beat it

This is definitely a big price difference here. This is so amazing how big of difference this is.

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I have been with sprint for many years. Sprint has basically unlimited plans that are UNBEATABLE by anyone else. The limitation comes in the land line calls. Everything else is unlimited and I mean unlimited.

The 450 minutes plan for $69.99 is basically a great plan and unless anyone is planning in calling a land line for longer than 450 minutes is basically unlimited. \

Also Sprint has forgiveness minutes(I do not know if forgiveness is the right word) but if you exceed the 450 minutes you can purchase for 5 dollars 100 minutes more (RETROACTIVE) so if you exceed the limit you can purchase 100 minutes blocks for 5 dollars until the cows come home.

And by the way they never expire so if you purchase 100 minutes and you exceed 50 you will have another 50 at your disposal remember the 50 minutes are only for LAND LINE and roaming.

Now the service used to suck but they have come a long way in that department and now is actually pretty decent.

The plans are good in all USA and PR

p.s. I am not related in any way shape or form to anyone that works or is associated with SPRINT.