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Sprint Prepaid Adds Voice Roaming to All Plans

Sprint's obscure Sprint Prepaid service now includes 50 minutes of off network roaming with all plans. While 50 minutes isn't much it could be a life saver if you had a wreck along one of the long stretches on major highways that Sprint doesn't cover. Examples of Sprint coverage gaps include a 364 mile stretch of I-80 from Fernley NV to Wendover UT and 168 miles of US 101 from Cloverdale to Fortuna CA. I can't imagine 50 minutes of roaming costs Sprint very much and hope they add it to their more popular Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile prepaid brands.

Sprint Prepaid is only available at Sprint stores or by calling 855-639-4644. There are three plans:
  • $35/month - Unlimited Talk & Text and 1GB of data
  • $45/month - Unlimited Talk & Text and 3GB of data 
  • $55/month - Unlimited Talk & Text and 6GB of data
Unless you absolutely need the Sprint network with a little bit of voice roaming, I can't recommend Sprint Prepaid. Unlike Boost and Virgin Mobile's plans which include unlimited throttled data after the included high speed data is used up, Sprint Prepaid's data limits are hard caps, data stops when the limit is reached. You can't use Sprint postpaid or Virgin/Boost phones with Sprint Prepaid either and the available handsets are limited. The only iPhone offered is the three year old iPhone 4s and the top Android models are the Samsung Galaxy S III and S4 Mini.


15 comments:

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  1. OMG! Is the collective management of Sprint really that stupid!? A fat lot of good 50 minutes of roaming will do when the native network is so pathetic as to be laughable. I keep wondering if and when, Sprint will finally do something earth shattering instead of sputtering out. There is absolutely no compelling reason to go with Sprint. Conversely, there are plenty of compelling reasons not to use Sprint

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    1. Really good point. T-Mobile has the same problem with their data already.

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    2. It's not stupid... its a nice addition. Going against months of Sprint and related MVNO degradations, reductions, and price hikes.

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  2. I don't understand how Sprint stays in business. I live in Baltimore and know of only one Sprint customer. Verizon needs to buy them out, use what is valuable, and put them out of their misery....smh

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  3. There's two-third of the country not covered natively by Sprint. Doesn't this mean some coverage there now?

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  4. Dennis, I've read that some people say that they can unlock their CDMA Verizon and/or Sprint phones and then use them on GSM At&t and T-Mobile...Is that possible? And ironically, is that connection only 4GLTE, since ( I believe, if I'm correct) LTE requires a SIM card?

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    1. Most high end Verizon and Sprint phones are dual mode (CDMA and GSM).. LTE Verizon LTE phones are sold unlocked. You can put a T-Mobile or AT&T SIM in them and talk and text. With the right APN data will work though probably not LTE and sometimes not 3G because most Verizon phones don't support all the bands that AT&T and T-Mobile use.

      Sprint dual mode phones are locked against use on US GSM networks. Some can be unlocked, others can't.

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  5. I don't know about overseas roaming agreements, however North American operators pay each other $16 per 1000 minutes calculated by the second. So you can use an AT&T phone in Canada on Rogers, Bell or Telus network, use 1000 minutes and AT&T will pay the Canadian network (and vice versa) as little as $3 for those minutes (since its calculated per second between them). I am not sure what Sprint pay Verizon, I assume its the same.

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    1. Where does the $16 per 1000 minutes figure come from? I've always heard that roaming agreements are individually negotiated between operators and find it hard to believe that rates are the same for roaming between any two operators in North America. For one thing that would be price fixing. Also US carriers charge their customers different rates for roaming in Canada, Mexico and the US. Plus I've found T-Mobile almost always roams on a regional operator if one is available rather than AT&T. If the rates were the same why would T-Mobile prefer one over the other.

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  6. Now that Sprint MVNO Ring Plus offers roaming, and presumably, they have measures in place to manage off-network roaming as to not to incur additional roaming charges from the roaming carrier all while managing the cash balance in the Ring Plus customers account.

    This was one of the reasons Ring Plus supposedly did not offer roaming, and now they have the capability to shut off the roaming once the Ring Plus customer has no funds left.

    It appears that Sprint is using the same business method, in this case, when the number of roaming minutes are used, calls that are roaming cannot be placed until the next cycle begins, similar to the hard cap used for data.

    You have to wonder if Sprint was hit hard by the number of customers on the former SAYGO (Sprint As You Go) prepaid product who were roaming? I'm certain that not that many lines were placed into services under SAYGO, and futhermore, how many of those active lines before SAYGO went away were burning through large number of roaming minutes?

    Since Sprint unlocked Virgin and Boost to work with the Airave device, I would suggest to anyone who lives in an area where Sprint service is either not available, or very weak coverage to use Airave with the Boost $35 unlimited talk/text and 1GB of data plan.
    Airave also works with some (not all) of the other Sprint MVNO's such as Republic Wireless, Ting, Voyager, Credo and most recently, Ring Plus.

    Dennis made a good point about the lackluster devices for Sprint prepaid. On Boost, you can purchase a LG Volt 4G LTE with Spark for about $80.00 give or take. Last week, this was the featured phone of the week on the prepaidphonenews.com website.

    If you really need to roam, purchase a cheap Android phone for Page Plus, and buy a $10.00 pin card, good for 4 months. Keep the phone/device in the glove box, or under the center armrest storage compartment. When you need Verizon coverage in remote areas, you are all set!

    HELLS_BELLS

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  7. Just get boost instead. If you are driving across the Rockies or Big Sky country, grab a cheap gophone for the trip.

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  8. Is GoPhone's coverage the same as Cricket's? AKA the AT&T native network? If so, it may be better to just get Cricket, whose $35 plan (w/autopay) offers better data allowances than Boost or Sprint Prepaid. I also assume Cricket has better coverage in general than Boost or Sprint Prepaid since it's AT&T's network, not Sprint's. But would the 50 mins of roaming that Sprint Prepaid gives you cover you in some remote areas where you would not have had coverage if you just had Cricket (AT&T native network only)?? Thoughts please!!

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  9. I have Sprint prepaid and the one time I ended up roaming on Verizon, it wouldn't put the call through. I got a message that I'd be connected to an operator who could complete the call for me if I had a credit card. I think they need to test whether their roaming really works or not, it is not helpful that I can connect to the Verizon network but then have to pay and deal with an operator for a call to go through.

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    1. Does Sprint Prepaid charge you taxes, or do you only pay $35/$45/$55 as your final cost each month?

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    2. That depends on where you live. Sprint Prepaid charges applicable state and local sales taxes and point of sale e911. If you live in California there are no taxes and fees on prepaid airtime.

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