Sprint just launched a new promotion that’s a very good deal but also seems like the ultimate Hail Mary throw of desperation. The company is offering an entire year of free service — including unlimited data, talk, and text — to customers who switch to the carrier and bring over an eligible phone. Current postpaid subscribers at Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are eligible for the deal, and it also covers family plans. Here’s the page that explains the offer, and I’m not really seeing any alarming fine print or gotchas. There’s no contract involved. You’ve got to pay a $30 activation fee up front, but that gets refunded within two billing cycles. Also, this is only for new Sprint customers.
But so long as you sign up sometime before June 30th and port over a number from one of Sprint’s main rivals, you get a year’s worth of service that runs through July 31st, 2018. It’s not totally free, mind you. Sprint notes that you’ll have to cover a SIM card and pay taxes and fees each month, and you’ll get hit with other monthly charges if you turn off AutoPay or eBilling. Disabling both AutoPay and eBilling will result in a recurring $7.99 payment each month.
Sprint’s unlimited plan includes:
- Unlimited data, talk and text
- HD streaming:
- Video at speeds up to 1080p
- Music at up to 1.5mbps
- Gaming streams at up to 8mbps
- Unlimited 4G LTE data for most everything else. Data deprioritization applies during congestion.
- 10GB of high-speed data per line to use toward mobile hotspot, VPN and Peer-2-Peer usage.
You must own the phone that you’re bringing to Sprint, as well. So if you’re paying a monthly installment plan, you’re out of luck. Sprint lists the following devices as eligible for the free year of service:
Apple iPhone 5C (Verizon only), iPhone 5S (Verizon only), iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, Apple iPhone 6S Plus, Apple iPhone 7 (Verizon only), Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Verizon only), Apple iPhone SE
Google Nexus 5 (AT&T and Verizon only), Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Pixel, Pixel XL
Motorola E4, Z2 Play, G4, G4 Play, G4 Plus, G5 Plus, Moto X Pure Edition, Galaxy S7 edge Special Edition, Galaxy S7 Special Edition, Galaxy S8 Special Edition, Samsung Galaxy S8+ Special Edition
I’m guessing that “Special Edition” is Sprint’s weird way of referring to the unlocked US versions of the Galaxy S7 and S8 devices, since those are compatible with the carrier’s network. Just make sure you’ll be happy with whatever phone you currently have for another few months. Sprint says:
After 10/1/17, you can upgrade to a new Sprint phone by leasing or purchasing it in monthly installments - you’ll still enjoy your free year of service. Any upgrades prior to 10/1/17 will require a plan change to Unlimited data, talk and text and you’ll lose the remaining free months in your year of free service.
So if Sprint’s network is serviceable where you are, this might be a thing worth at least investigating to see if a year of potentially very significant savings is worth bailing on whichever carrier you’re with right now. Once the promotional period ends, you’ll pay $60 for a single unlimited line or more depending on your family plan situation.