Rather than trying to cover every Sprint MVNO, which would make this post very long and boring, I've limited it to listing the most interesting and/or best value ones. Except as noted, plan prices include all taxes and fees except state sales tax.
Sprint itself is a huge player in the prepaid market with its Boost and Virgin Mobile brands. I've included their plans in the table below. For more information about Sprint's prepaid brands see Prepaid Phone News' Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile profile pages.
Chit Chat Mobile (855-440-3464) launched in the fall of 2012. They have BYOSD with the usual caveats (no Palm, BlackBerry, Boost, Virgin or PTT phones). Chit Chat is notable for its $19.99 unlimited talk and text plan. However that low price is marred by high fees including a $15 activation fee and $2.75 month in additional monthly taxes and fees. Plans do not include data but data addons are available. LTE is available with any data addon
EcoMobile (855-825-8855) is another relative newcomer, going live in Oct. 2012. They have BYOSD with the usual limitations. EcoMobile is able to activate Sprint LTE phones. LTE works, did at one time but reportedly doesn't anymore. EcoMobile has a wide range of plans including a pay as you go plan with good rates, 5¢ voice minutes, 2¢ texts and 10¢/MB data. For more about EcoMobile see, Ecomobile Revamps Monthly Plans - No More Unlimited Data
Expo Mobile (800-818-1597) launched in Sept. 2013. All monthly plans, which start at $19, include unlimited international texts, Expo has 24/7 phone support, no added taxes or fees and BYOSD with working LTE.
FreedomPop's FreedomPhone (no phone support) is a fremium phone service. The free plan includes 500MB of 3G or LTE data, 200 voice minutes and 500 texts. Paid options with more minutes, data and texts are available.
FreedomPhone is primarily a data only service. Voice calls use VOIP, which uses the network's data transport rather than the voice channel. A FreedomPop messaging app handles texting.
Kajeet (866-452-5338) Launched in 2006, Kajeet specializes in "smart phones for kids". It's really targeted at parents with parental controls and a GPS phone locator. But you don't have to have children to use Kajeet, especially now that they are offering BYOSD. Kajeet can activate Sprint LTE phones and LTE works on Kajeet. Plans are geared toward light voice and data usage and lots of text messaging. Kajeet is one of the few operators that still offers an unlimited text plan which is $14.99/month and also includes 60 voice minutes. Kajeet adds a 10% transaction fee to the price of all airtime.
Real Mobile ( 877-316-0493) launched Sprint based service in 2013. Real supports BYOSD with 4G LTE available on all plans.
Red Pocket Mobile (888-993-3888 - English, Spanish, Chinese and Filipino support) which has been an AT&T MVNO since 2006, added Sprint service in December, 2013. It's BYOSD only with support for bringing your own Sprint phone with the usual restrictions. LTE is available.
Republic Wireless (email only support) which launched in late 2011, is notable for unlimited voice, SMS and 1 GB of data with free off-network voice and extra cost data roaming, for $25/month plus about $7.50/month in taxes and fees. The low price is made possible in part by custom phone firmware which shifts voice, SMS and data traffic to WiFi, if it's available.
Republic is unique in offering Republic Refund which gives customers a $15/GB credit for unused data.
Republic doesn't offer BYOSD and there's no phone support, only email and a user forum.
RingPlus (310-919-0915) launched in August, 2013 with a unique free ad-supported plan. Early adopters got 300 minutes and 50 texts per month free "for life" in return for listing to ads instead of the usual ringing tones during the time between when a call is placed and the called party or voicemail answers. Even better free plans have been offered recently as limited time promotions. All RingPlus plans include adds except for a few of the paid plans. RingPlus calls the ad-free plans "Mad Plans".
The table below lists only RingPlus' regular plans, for current promotional plans check the RingPlus site or Prepaid Phone News' Current Refill and Plan Deals tracker.
Sprint Prepaid (866-866-7509) is sold through Sprint branded stores, big box retailers like BestBuy and Sprint telesales. Plan choices are similar to those of Boost and Virgin Mobile. The top plan includes unlimited voice and messaging and 6GB of data for $55/month. There's no BYOSD option and handset choices are limited.
Ting (855-846-4389) Launched Feb 2012. BYOSD is available. Ting also sells phones including "iconic" devices like the latest iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S*. No-extra cost voice and SMS roaming is included and there is no extra charge for international texts.
Ting is a no-contract, postpaid operator with an unusual pricing model that's sort of a hybrid between pay as you go and a monthly plans. There's a $6 monthly fee plus separate buckets (Ting calls them tiers) of voice minutes, messages and data. There are five tiers for each type of usage. Minute tiers run from $3 for 100 minutes to $52 for 3000. Data tiers are from $3 for 100 MB to $20 for 2 GB. Prices average around 2¢/minute, 1¢/text and 3¢/MB. Ting is a good value for moderate users. The sweet spot seems to be about 75-1000 minutes, 75-1000 messages and under 500 MB of data which costs between $15 and $41 before taxes and fees which run between $1 and $10/month. For more information including details of the Ting pricing model see the Ting site or Prepaid Phone News' Ting Operator Profile.
Here are tables comparing all the plans offered by the operators mentioned.
|FreedomPop||Free||yes||200||500||N/A||500 MB, overage 2.5¢/MB 14|
|RingPlus Michelson||"Free", $9 top-up 17||yes||250 (overage 5¢)||250 (overage 5¢)||250 (overage 5¢)||250 MB LTE, overage 5¢/MB|
|RingPlus Anderson||"Free", $18 top-up 17||yes||500 (overage 5¢)||500 (overage 5¢)||500 (overage 5¢)||500 MB LTE, overage 5¢/MB|
|RingPlus Amano||"Free", $27 top-up 17||yes||750 (overage 5¢)||750 (overage 5¢)||750 (overage 5¢) (overage 5¢)||750 MB LTE, overage 5¢/MB|
|RingPlus Higgs||$2.99 17||yes||100 (overage 5¢)||100 (overage 5¢)||100 (overage 5¢)||100 MB,overage 5¢/MB|
|RingPlus Fert||$4.99 17||yes||500 (overage 5¢)||500 (overage 5¢)||500 (overage 5¢)||500 MB (overage 5¢)|
|Kajeet $4.99||$4.99+ 1||yes||10 (overage 10¢)||10¢||25¢||4/¢MB 2 LTE|
|Expo Mobile||$5||yes||100 minutes or texts||100 minutes or texts||N/A||N/A|
|Ting||$9 - $79+ 3||yes||0 - 2000+ 4||0 - 4800+ 4, 16||Text + data cost||3¢ / MB 4 LTE|
|FreedomPop||$7.99||yes||500||unlimited||0 - 2000+ MB 14|
|Chit Chat Basic||$9.99+ 5||yes||250||unlimited||unlimited $3/mo 13||$5/100MB, $10/250MB, $20/600MB, $30/100MB 10|
|Republic Wireless||$10+ 6||no||unlimited||unlimited||none||none|
|FreedomPop||$10.99||yes||unlimited||unlimited||none||500 MB, overage 2.5¢/MB 14|
|RingPlus Bloch||$12.99 17||yes||unlimited||unlimited||500||1 GB LTE, overage 5¢/MB|
|Kajeet 14.99||$14.99+ 1||yes||60||unlimited||25¢||4/¢MB 2 LTE|
|RingPlus Mad Scientist||$15.99 17||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||1 GB overage $15/GB|
|Republic Wireless||$17.50+ 6||no||unlimited||unlimited||none||0.5 GB 7|
|Expo Mobile||$18||yes||500||500||N/A||200 MB @ 256 Kbps|
|Expo Mobile||$19||yes||500||unlimited 16||N/A||N/A|
|RingPlus Kush||$19.99 17||yes||unlimited||unlimited||1000||2 GB LTE, overage 5¢/MB|
|Chit Chat Unlimited||$19.99+ 5||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited $3/mo 13||$5/100MB, $10/250MB, $20/600MB, $30/100MB 10|
|Kajeet 19.99||$19.99+ 1||yes||150||unlimited||unlimited||4/¢MB 2 LTE|
|Virgin Mobile payLo Talk 10||$20||no||400||15¢||25¢||$1.50/MB|
|RingPlus Mad Hatter||$22.99 17||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||2 GB overage $15/GB|
|Kajeet $24.99||$24.99+ 1||yes||500||unlimited||unlimited||500 MB 2 LTE|
|RingPlus Wineland||$24.99 17||yes||unlimited||unlimited||2000||3 GB LTE, overage 5¢/MB|
|Republic Wireless||$25+ 6||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||1 GB 7|
|RingPlus Mad Man||$26.99 17||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||3 GB overage $15/GB|
|Red Pocket||$29.99||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||500 MB LTE|
|Boost Unlimited Starter||$30||limited 8||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited, 1 GB HS 9 LTE|
|Virgin Mobile payLo Talk &Text 10||$30||no||1500||1500||25¢||30 MB|
|EcoMobile Talk & Text||$30||yes||unlimited||unlimited||none||none|
|Real Mobile||$30||yes||unlimited||unlimited 16||100||250 MB, including LTE 18|
|Virgin Mobile Unlimited||$30||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited, 500 MB HS 9|
|Expo Mobile||$30||yes||unlimited||unlimited 16||none||N/A|
|Red Pocket||$34.99||yes||300||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited 2 GB HS 15 LTE|
|Kajeet $34.99||$34.99 + 1||yes||1000||unlimited||unlimited||1 GB 2 LTE|
|Sprint Prepaid||$35||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited 1 GB HS 9|
|Boost Mobile Monthly Unlimited||$35 ($30 with auto-pay)||limited 8||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited 2 - 5 GB 11 HS 9 LTE|
|ChitChat||$39.99+ 5||yes||250||unlimited||unlimited $3/mo 13||3 GB 3G|
|Expo Mobile||$40||yes||unlimited||unlimited 16||unlimited||1 GB|
|Virgin Mobile payLo Unlimited Talk & Text 10||$40||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||50 MB|
|EcoMobile Talk, Text and 3G Data||$40||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||500 MB, no LTE|
|Republic Wireless||$40+ 6||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||2 GB 7|
|Virgin Mobile Unlimited||$40||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||4 GB 9 LTE|
|Real Mobile||$40||yes||unlimited||unlimited 16||100||unlimited, 1 GB HS, including LTE 18|
|ChitChat||$44.99+ 5||yes||250||unlimited||unlimited $3/mo 13||3 GB LTE|
|Boost Mobile Monthly Unlimited||$45 ($40 with auto-pay)||limited 8||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited 5 - 8 GB 11 HS 9 LTE|
|Sprint Prepaid||$45||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited 3 GB HS 9|
|Red Pocket||$49.99||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||2 GB HS 15 LTE|
|Kajeet $49.99||$49.99 + 1||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||2 GB 2 LTE|
|ChitChat||$49.99+ 5||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited $3/mo 13||3 GB 3G|
|Virgin Mobile Unlimited||$50||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited 6 GB HS 9 LTE|
|Boost Mobile Unlimited Hook'd||$50||limited 8||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited, unthrottled LTE 20, 21|
|Expo Mobile||$50||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||2 GB 12|
|EcoMobile Talk, Text and 3G Data||$50||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||2.5 GB, no LTE|
|ChitChat||$54.99+ 5||yes||250||unlimited||unlimited $3/mo 13||3 GB LTE|
|Sprint Prepaid||$55||no||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited 6 GB HS 9|
|Real Mobile||$55||yes||unlimited||unlimited 16||100||unlimited, 2 GB HS, including LTE 18|
|Red Pocket||$59.99||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||3 GB HS 15 LTE|
|Boost Mobile Monthly Unlimited||$60 ($55 with auto-pay)||limited 8||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited, unthrottled LTE 21|
|Real Mobile||$60||yes||unlimited||unlimited 16||100||unlimited, 3 GB HS, including LTE 18|
|Expo Mobile||$60||yes||unlimited||unlimited 16||unlimited||Unlimited, throttled after 3.5 GB 12|
|EcoMobile Talk, Text and 4G Data||$60||yes||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||5GB including LTE|
1 Kajeet: 10% transaction fee on airtime and plan purchases
2 Kajeet: Additional data available: 50 MB/$4.99/mo, 500 MB/$14.99/mo, 1 GB/$24.99/mo
3 Ting: Taxes and fees run from $1 - $10 month
4 Ting uses a "build your own plan" concept. Combine bundles of minutes, messages and data to build a plan. The following bundles are available:
|Talk||100 min $3||500 min $9||1000 min $18||2100 min $35||2100+ $35 + 1.9¢/min|
|Text||100 texts $3||1000 texts $5||2000 texts $8||4800 min $11||4800+ $11 + 1/4¢/text|
|Data||100 MB $3||500 MB $10||1 GB $16||2 GB $20||2 GB+ $20 + $10/MB|
5 Chit Chat $15 activation fee, $2.75/month taxes and fees on all plans.
6 Republic adds about 10-30% in taxes and fees on all plans.
7 Republic: Customer receives credit for unused data. Additional data available at $15 per GB or $7.50 for 0.5 GB.
8 Boost: BYOSD is limited to certain, mostly older phones See this Boost Mobile page for a list.
9 Data is throttled to 128 Kbps or less for the rest of the plan month after the high speed (HS) allotment is used up.
10 3G data only with base plan, $5/month extra for LTE
11 Boost Mobile plans with growing data. For every three on-time payments, the customer gets an additional 500 MB going forward, up to 3 GB of growing data after 18 on-time payments.
12 Expo unlimited data is throttled to 128 Kbps after 3.5 GB
13 Chit Chat: MMS requires both the $3 MMS plan and a data plan.
14 FreedomPop; $19.99 BYOP activation fee. For an extra $9.99/month you can upgrade any of the plans to 1 GB of data per month with 1¢/MB overage data. Visual Voicemail is available as a $2.49/month add-on.
15 Red Pocket throttled (slow) data speed is 64-128 Kbps
16 International texts included
17 RingPlus taxes and fees average 20% and are charged in states like California and New Hampshire that don't normally tax prepaid airtime. Top amounts (for potential overage charges) listed above are charged at activation and whenever the top up balance reaches zero.
18 Real Mobile: additional data 500 MB for $10
19 RingPlus "Mad" plan - no ads and calls are routed directly through Sprint without passing through RingPlus' latency generating infrastructure.
20 Video streaming is degraded to 480p resolution, audio streaming us restricted to 500Kbps, online gaming data throttled to 2 Mbps
21 Hotspot throttled to 128 Kbps after 8 GB is used.
|Operator / Plan||Minimum Monthly Cost||Minutes||Texts||MMS||Data|
|Real Mobile Pay As You Go||$2.50 ($10/120 days) or $1.66 ($20/yr)||5¢||5¢||N/A||5¢/MB|
|Expo Mobile Pay As You Go 1||$3.33 ($10/90 days)||2¢||2¢||5¢||5¢/MB|
|Red Pocket PayGo||$8.33 ($25/90 days)||10¢||10¢||10¢||none|
|EcoMobile Pay As You Go||$10 ($10/30 days)||5¢||2¢||10¢||10¢/MB|
BYOSD (Bring Your Own Sprint Phone)
Sprint allows its MVNOs to activate any Sprint postpaid phone except BlackBerrys, Palm OS and WebOS phones. Effective April 17, 2016, Boost Mobile, Sprint Mobile and Virgin Mobile phones are also allowed, provided they have been used on the service for which they were sold for at least 12 months. Until 4/17/16, Boost, Virgin and Sprint Prepaid can be activated on Sprint MVNOs provided they have never been used on the Sprint prepaid brand they were sold for.
Sprint has imposed strict financial eligibility checks on MVNO BYOSP activations. Prospective BYOSP customers need to check that the ESN or MEID of any phone they intend to buy passes either the Ting ESN checker or RingPlus checker. Other checkers, may not have been updated to be aware of Sprint's new financial eligibility requirements.
The Coverage Question
Sprint, like T-Mobile, has a much smaller network than AT&T or Verizon. Service is available in cities and most medium sized and some small towns and along major interstates. Boost, Virgin Mobile and most Sprint MVNOs do not offer roaming. the few that do are:
Republic: Extensive free voice and extra cost data roaming.
Ting: Free voice and SMS only roaming
Sprint Prepaid: 50 minutes per month of voice roaming
Here are a couple of maps comparing Boost Mobile Prepaid's coverage, which doesn't include roaming with that of Sprints's, which does. Ting (voice only), Republic coverage is similar to the Sprint Postpaid map. The other MVNOs, Sprint Prepaid and Virgin Mobile have coverage identical to Boost's. Click the links below the maps to view full sized interactive version that let you zoom in to see block level coverage.
Boost Mobile Prepaid
Sprint Postpaid including roaming
Recommendations: Sprint's Boost Mobile is the price leader in the unlimited monthly plan space. They have some of the most affordable monthly unlimited plans in the business, better than average customer support and a large selection of affordable, subsided smartphones in every price range except the high end where their only current flagship is the iPhone 6s Plus. It's hard for MVNOs to compete against Sprint itself in the unlimited arena. If you need gigabytes of data or truly unlimited voice and texting and are OK with Sprint native coverage, Boost Mobile is hard to beat.
The best of the MVNOs do compete effectively against Boost for some types of usage:
Pay as you go: Boost Mobile no longer offers pay as you go plans to new customers. Real Mobile and EcoMobile do and have much lower per minute and per message rates than Boost ever did and also has relatively affordable pay per use data. Republic, RingPlus, FreedomPop and Ting aren't don't offer traditional pay as you go plans but they are competitive at the low priced end of the market where pay as you go is dominant.
Roaming: Ting (voice only),and Republic (voice and data) have it, the other MVNOs. Boost, Sprint Prepaid and Virgin Mobile don't.
Updated 19-Aug-2016: RingPlus Amano plan replaces Lawrence plan.