Now that the iPhone 4S is available on Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, the question many people will be asking is which carrier to go with.
In a previous post, I discussed the benefits of each carrier, saying that Sprint would likely be the least-expensive of the three. In addition, Sprint is the only one to offer unlimited data that won’t be throttled once you reach a certain point.
What wasn’t clear, however, were the exact prices of the plans.
Now that the plans have all come out, the pricing is much more competitive than I had predicted. For some, Sprint may not be the best option.
Here’s a breakdown of each carriers’ pricing followed by an assessment.
The cheapest plan affording you unlimited data is called Everything Data, and it costs $69.99 with a mandatory $10 Premium Data add-on, bringing the total to $80 monthly. This gets you unlimited data and 400 minutes talking time.
To bump that up to 900 minutes talking time, you will be looking at $90 plus the $10 Premium Data add-on.
For unlimited everything, including both data and calling, you’re looking at $100 plus the $10 Premium Data add-on.
The least-expensive AT&T plan gets you 450 minutes ($40), 200MB of data ($15), and unlimited text messaging ($20). Plan total is $75.
To jump to 2GB of data, it costs $25 a month. To jump to 4GB it costs $45 a month.
Also, if you want 900 minutes of calling time it will cost $60 a month. For unlimited calling it costs $70 a month.
It’s worth noting, however, that in order to get text messaging, you must pay the $20 extra for the Messaging Unlimited with Mobile to Any Mobile Calling. This comes with unlimited calling mobile to mobile. So, if the majority of your calls go to or come from mobile devices, there really is no need to pay extra for 900 or unlimited voice minutes.
The cheapest Verizon plan is $40 for 450 voice minutes + $30 for 2GB data, totaling $70 a month. Similarly to the AT&T plan, this does not get you any text messaging. You can add 250 texts for $5, 500 texts for $10, and unlimited for $20.
Assuming you need a minimal amount of text messaging, the cheapest you’re going to get is $75 a month.
To see a breakdown of Verizon’s pricing for data, text, and voice plans go here.
As you can see above, the cheapest way to get an iPhone 4S plan is to go through either AT&T or Verizon. They both charge $75. But you have to forego a few things.
If you are a heavy texter, then your best bet is the AT&T plan, because you get unlimited texts for the $75. Remember, Verizon will limit you to 250 for that same price.
But if you are a little bit heavier on the data, then you should go with Verizon, because you get 2GB while AT&T only gives you 200MB.
But the biggest bang for your buck (and what Sprint is going to focus its marketing on) is Sprint’s unlimited $80 plan.
As attractive as that word, unlimited, sounds, I wouldn’t go jumping on the band wagon too fast.
According to a 2010 survey published by DailyTech, the average iPhone user consumes 273 MB of data monthly.
Verizon’s cheapest data plan easily covers that. If you were to pay the $10 a month for 500 texts, you’d be paying the same as Sprint’s unlimited plan, but you’d get on the best, most-reliable network out there.
If you find that you’re on the lower spectrum of data users, then AT&T is your best bet.