As predicted, US wireless service Sprint rolled out a new upgrade plan for customers just in time for the release of the iPhone 5c and 5s. Called One Up, Sprint's plan gives the company an alternative to similar programs offered by competitors Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Is it worth the money? Let's take a look.
Under the One Up plan, you buy an eligible smartphone (or tablet, including the iPad) and agree to pay for it in 24 monthly installments - subject to credit approval (which affects the finance rate at which you can get the device). After 12 months, you're eligible to upgrade to a new device once you trade in your old one. One Up is also available to some Sprint customers if they meet eligibility requirements (including those who have had their current phone for 12 months).
Sprint is making an aggressive play to woo customers away from Verizon and AT&T by offering inexpensive unlimited service plans and a guarantee of unlimited talk, text and data for the lifetime of the service. There are a couple of provisos to Sprint's claim of unlimited data, however: Sprint limits streaming video speeds to 1 Mbps, and reserves the right to offer "prioritized bandwidth" to other plans.
Sprint's "Unlimited, My Way" plan is normally priced at $80, but enrolling in One Up makes you eligible for an "introductory" rate of $65, so the company's offering some savings to customers who take advantage of the upgrade program.
For subscribers, Sprint is squarely in third place behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T. With about 55 million customers, Sprint has about half the customer base of AT&T, though it's squarely ahead of T-Mobile.
In the end, Sprint's upgrade plan can make it easier for you to get a new phone every year, and an annual program is probably the best sort of plan to be on if you're an iPhone user, since Apple pretty much sticks to a new phone model every year.
I'm a big believer in paying for phones off-contract, but getting a good value from doing so requires you to avoid paying a carrier subsidy. AT&T and Verizon do that even if you participate in one of their upgrade programs, which makes those programs a complete waste of money. So Sprint and T-Mobile both offer attractive alternatives - both offer fairly inexpensive plans, especially when you get into a shared plan between multiple family members.
Years ago Sprint bet on the wrong pony in the race for next-generation high-speed cell data networking: Wimax. Now it's playing catch up as it builds out a 4G LTE network, but it's woefully behind Verizon and AT&T. Anecdotally, Sprint customers who complain on social networks and forums like ours usually point to Sprint's inadequate coverage as the major issue. Sprint's network upgrade is in overdrive, and they've made significant progress: they anticipate having 4G LTE coverage for 200 million people in the U.S. by the end of the year. That improved coverage, combined with an easy way to afford expensive new smartphones, may drive customers their way.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Twitter opens up voice tweets to more iOS users
After letting a limited group of people test voice tweets in June, Twitter is now opening the option up to more iOS users.
Microsoft testing Word and Excel trackpad support for iPad
Microsoft has rolled out testing for trackpad support within its Word and Excel apps for iPad.
iPhone 12 64GB model incoming, says leaker, shipments start next week
Leaker Jon Prosser has confirmed that the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 will both feature a 64GB storage option, despite previous reports Apple would be ditching the smallest configuration this year. Apple's iPhone 12 Pro lineup will start at 128GB.
All the limited and special edition Nintendo Switch consoles you can buy
Don't want your Nintendo Switch to look like everyone else's? These limited edition Switch consoles will stand out in a crowd—and you can buy one today.