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Sprint's new $100, 20GB per month family plan: All the caveats and comparisons you need to know

Ian Paul | Aug. 20, 2014
Sprint's got a new CEO and the company is getting serious about catching up to its rivals with a new family data sharing plan. The carrier recently announced the Sprint Family Share Pack that lets you split 20GB of shared data on up to 10 lines for $100 per month. The new shared data deal will be available starting Friday, August 22.

Sprint's got a new CEO and the company is getting serious about catching up to its rivals with a new family data sharing plan. The carrier recently announced the Sprint Family Share Pack that lets you split 20GB of shared data on up to 10 lines for $100 per month. The new shared data deal will be available starting Friday, August 22.

The deal echoes the new promotional offering that former Sprint acquisition target T-Mobile announced in late July. T-Mobile's Simple Choice Family Plan offers a family of four 10GB of shared LTE data for $100. T-Mobile's deal also offers unlimited talk, text and 3G data, but is only taking new sign-ups until September 30, and the plan itself expires January 2, 2016. AT&T and Verizon offer similar shared data plans with various caveats that offer 10GB of shared data for up to four lines for $160.

Not to be outdone by T-Mobile with its new offering, Sprint is also kicking off the introduction of its shared data plan with a limited time offer. Anyone who signs up for the $100 Family Share Pack between Friday and September 30 will get unlimited talk and text, and 20GB shared data. You'll also get an extra 2GB of monthly data per line for up to 10 lines through the end of 2015.

Sprint is also hoping to convince people to switch carriers by offering a Visa Prepaid Card up to $350 to buy out a family contract on a competing network. 

Caveats to consider

Before jumping ship, however, there are a few things to keep in mind with Sprint's deal. First, Sprint tacks on a monthly, per line access charge that can really escalate your monthly bill. Under standard pricing for the new family plan at the $100/20GB level, you pay $15 on smartphones, $10 on tablets, and $20 on mobile broadband devices.  If you sign-up before September 30, Sprint waives the $15 monthly, per-line charge through 2015. It's not clear, however, if mobile broadband devices will be waived too or if you'll be paying $5 per month through 2015.

Those monthly access charges are only if you are paying full-price for your devices. If you sign-up for a two-year subscription with Sprint — an option only currently available to existing Sprint subscribers — those access charges rise to $40 per subsidized smartphone. Tablet and mobile broadband access fees remain the same.

New customers also have to bring their number with them from their current carrier and they have to buy new devices on Sprint's 24-month full-price payment plan, Sprint Easy Pay. Paying full-price for new devices will definitely jack up your overall monthly bill even if the cost is split across 24 months and the $15 per-line device fee for the family plan itself is waived.

 

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