T-Mobile, Sprint unveil dueling free or cheap data deals

It wasn’t that long ago that US wireless carriers Sprint and T-Mobile were talking about merging. That didn’t happen… and now T-Mobile is running a new promotion that provides big incentives for customers that convince their friends to move from Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T to T-Mobile.

When you refer a friend who switches to T-Mobile from one of those services both your friend and you will get unlimited 4G LTE data for free for 12 months.

Meanwhile Sprint is rolling out its own unlimited talk, text, and data plan which it says is cheaper than anything offered by its major competitors.

t-mobile friends

T-Mobile’s new promotion kicks off on Friday, August 29th. Customers can use the refer-a-friend service to… refer a friend.

Existing T-Mobile Simple Choice customers who take advantage of the new promotion will get a $10 credit on their account for 12 months.

Sprint isn’t giving away data for free with its new plan. But the company is launching a new unlimited plan that offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $60 per month. The company points out that this is $20 less than T-Mobile charges for the same type of service… which means T-Mobile customers could theoretically save $240 each year by switching to Spring… and there’s no need to convince any friends to come with you.

sprint 60

Update: Sprint may offer unlimited data, but it doesn’t guarantee it’ll be the fastest data available. The fine print explains that the carrier may give priority to customers on “other plans,” when bandwidth availability is tight. 

T-Mobile does have a $60 per month plan, but it only provides 3GB per month of 4G LTE data. After you hit that cap your data connection drops to 3G speeds.

Both companies have plans that are significantly cheaper than those offered by rivals AT&T and Verizon… unfortunately price isn’t the only reason to choose a wireless carrier: Verizon and AT&T have significantly better coverage in some parts of the country than T-Mobile and Sprint… which is probably a big part of the reason the T-Mobile and Sprint continue to duke it out in the battle for 3rd place.

Of course you can also ignore all the latest promotions and find an MVNO with pre-paid data plans that are significantly lower than anything offered by any of the big carriers.

Straight Talk offers unlimited plans on AT&T or T-Mobile’s networks for $45 per month. Ting lets you design your own plan for use on Sprint’s network. Virgin Mobile offers unlimited data plans on a Sprint-compatible network starting at $35. And there are dozens of other companies offering similar plans.

  • rsanchez1

    Sprint has decent coverage in my area and the new family plans are looking really good. I’ll see soon just how much I’ll be saving on my bill but carrier competition means consumers win.

  • Matt

    “But the company is launching a new unlimited plan that offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $60 per year.”

    You mean per month..

    • ldrn

      For $60 per year I would buy multiple T-mobile accounts.

      Err, or Sprint. Anything, really, for that price.

  • tk76

    Unlimited, as in severely throttled after you go past a couple of GB, right.

    • Guest

      No, unlimited as in unlimited, unless you violate the ToS. By using BitTorrent, for example.

    • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

      It depends. T-Mobile’s is unlimited (at $80), Sprint ($60) seems to be (but some of the small print that applies to other “unlimited” plans from Sprint throttle video), MetroPCS ($60) T-Mobile’s discount brand might be (but says “up to” 4G speeds – Legere claims it is though), but for all the other MVNO’s (cheap resellers) unlimited means 2GB – 3GB of 3G/4G data and then 2G only (and very slow 2G at that).

  • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

    Wow — Sprint really doesn’t want you to read their fine print do they? Not only is it tiny (as usual) but it’s light grey on white. This is the fine print for the new “Unlimited” plan:

    $60 Unlimited Plan: Includes unlimited domestic Long Distance calling, texting and data. Third-party
    content/downloads are add’l charge. Int’l svcs are not included. Pricing
    may vary for existing customers. Excludes discounted phones. Plan will
    appear on your bill as $30/Unltd Talk & Text and $30/UnlimitedData.
    Includes unlimited on-network data. Customers under a 1 or 2 year
    Service Agreement and moving to the Sprint $60 Unlimited plan have a
    higher monthly rate of up to $25/month until they reach upgrade
    eligibility. … Usage Limitations: Other plans may receive prioritized
    bandwidth availability. To improve data experience for the majority of
    users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network.

    So there’s still a lot of room there for shenanigans, and you may find yourself throttled if you are a heavy data user.

  • buzz86us

    I pay $15 for 1gb LTE then unlimited 3g from freedompop… the referral offer looked tempting at first but i forgot that their lowest individual “plan” was $50… it appears that the only way for this to be worthwhile is if you have a 4 line family plan for $100 and refer another person…or another family