Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Electronics Review: Sprint Cell Phone Service

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Good coverage; great prices
Cons: Unpredictable service in one spot
The Bottom Line:
Mostly good service
Great deal with the cheapter plans
I'll most likely stay

Sprint is My First Cell Phone Company, and I'm Still Quite Happy with Them

I was the last person on earth to get a cell phone.  Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I did just get my first cell phone two years ago.  After much searching on-line and in stores, I went with Sprint because they seemed to have the best service for my money.  I am still quite happy with them.


Since this was my first cell phone, I went with a basic phone.  Yes, it can text (although I don't have texting, so please don't text me) and get on the web to an extremely limited deal.  But I use it as a phone, and it's worked well for that.

However, they offer so many other phones that you don't really need to stick to a simple one like I have.
The big one they seem to be plugging now is the Samsung Instinct, designed to be their answer to the iPhone (which is still an AT&T exclusive).  They also offer phones by LG, Sanyo, Palm, and Blackberry.  There are flip phones, touch phones, and even a couple with slide out keyboards for texting.  My guess is if you want a feature, you can find a phone that has it.


This was the biggest issue for me.  I live in a town with lots of hills and canyons.  When I got my phone, I canceled my land line, and reception has been spotty for my roommates over the years.  That certainly wasn't an issue for me ever.  I have never once had an issue with reception at home.  If I want to make a call, I can do it from the front or back of the condo.  Some of my roommates can only make or receive calls from the front room, but I've never had that problem.

The only area where I have poor service is at work.  I work in a canyon, and most everyone has problems here.  I'm sure working in a stone building doesn't help, either.  Anyway, I actually find watching the coverage come and go very funny.  Sometimes I will have six bars of service, other times I will have zero.  Or I will switch to roaming and have four bars of roaming service.  At times, this has switched back and forth in a matter of minutes.  Work is the only place I've had a problem with dropped calls or getting a new voice mail message without the phone ringing at all.  My friends and family know to call my work line if they need me, and if I need to use my cell for a call, I do get good enough reception in the parking lot to make a call.

While I tend to stay in town, I do venture into the greater Los Angeles area occasionally.  I've never had a problem with reception wherever I've gone.  This includes places as varied as the beach in Santa Monica, Disneyland, and Thousand Oaks.  In fact, one time I was talking on the phone for an hour straight while driving home from Santa Monica (I was using my blue tooth) and stayed connected the entire time.  Once we had a spot where the other person had a hard time hearing me, but it didn't last long.

Plans and Prices

This is the area where Sprint got my business.  Most of the plans seem to be pretty similar.  I went with the $40 plan, which gives me 450 minutes, no texting, and free nights and weekends starting at 7PM.  Everyone else would have made me pay extra for that or didn't offer it as an option.  Because half of the day is free, and all weekend is free, I have never come close to using half my minutes.  I don't have texting turned off, so I can use it if I want.  It costs me 20 cents a text to send or receive (which really irritates me when a friend texts me and it gets split into two messages because they went over the limit for one).

Of course, if you travel or use your phone more than I do, they do have other plans available, including more minutes.  I must admit, I am quite tempted by the plan they are currently pushing on TV.  The Simply Everything plan include unlimited minutes, texting, and data for $100 a month.  I am considering going with the Everything Data, which has unlimited texting and data but limits your minutes (except for nights and weekends) for $70.  I'm just trying to figure out if I can justify the added money in my monthly budget.

All of their plans currently include free long distance and free roaming in the US.  The first month I had my phone, I went to Hawaii, and I had good service there and didn't have to pay any extra for it.

Customer Service

This was almost the deal breaker for me.  I had heard horror stories about how poor the customer service was with Sprint.  However, I can't comment on it.  I've never had reason to call them and see how it is.  Of course, if I never have to call customer service, that makes me happiest.  I do have one friend who has called them recently and was happy with how things were handled, so maybe they've improved.

Will I Stay with Sprint?

My two year contract will be up this spring, and I am debating whether I will stay with them or not.  I have been very happy with the service.  And the value I get for my money is quite good.  The only reason I would switch is that I know so many people on AT&T, and it would be nice to get free calls to them any time I want.  But it really isn't an issue since I don't use all my minutes every month anyway.  I plan to do some comparison shopping again, but unless I find an outstanding deal, I will be sticking with Sprint.


Two years ago, I couldn't find a better company than Sprint for my cell phone needs.  And their service has been great for the last two years.  Unless something really big changes, I plan to stay with them for the foreseeable future.


  1. I still don't have a cell phone. ;)

  2. I just got texting. Guess I'm not quite the dinosaur I thought I was. ;)