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Losing ground to T-Mobile, Sprint gets aggressive with $90 12GB data plan

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At this point it seems inevitable that T-Mobile will soon surpass Sprint to become the third-largest US mobile carrier — assuming it hasn't happened already. Sprint's been doing its best to prevent that under CEO Marcelo Claure with cheaper data plans and a tempting promise to cut your Verizon or AT&T bill in half. And today, the company claims it now offers "the best family share plan" among all major carriers. For $90 each month (plus $15 for every smartphone added to the plan), Sprint will give you 12GB of data to split between those lines any way you'd like. A maximum of 10 lines can be part of the 12GB plan.

It's really only a good deal if you're switching

Is it a spectacular deal? Not necessarily. Add in four phones, a pretty common scenario for most families, and you're already up to $150. That's not too special compared to what the competition is offering. But if you're willing to switch to Sprint from another carrier, the company will waive those annoying smartphone and tablet access fees for one year — so long as you buy said devices through Sprint Easy Pay. In that case, you'd be paying the flat $90 plus surcharges and taxes, and Sprint's offer gets a bit better. It will only be available through March 12th, 2015.

Still, Sprint's in a real bind these days. T-Mobile is the obvious choice if you're trying to save on your monthly bill, and its Uncarrier perks have become a real draw. If service reliability and LTE coverage is your main concern, Verizon and AT&T are still tops. Sprint's rapidly working to improve its network, but it can't yet match those two. Nor is it shaking things up to the same extent as T-Mobile.