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Sprint vs. Verizon: Which wireless carrier is better?

Virginia Brown
VB
Virginia Brown

Aug 6, 2020 — 5 min read

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  • Verizon’s unlimited plans cost about $10/mo. more than Sprint on average
  • Phone prices are about even between the two
  • Sprint fares better in customer support
  • Verizon scores better in most coverage and 5G speed tests
  • Apple Music and Disney Plus (for one year) are included with all Verizon unlimited plans

Both Sprint and Verizon are juggernauts in the cellphone space. And especially now that Sprint has merged with T-Mobile, upgrading its service across the nation, the two are quite comparable. 

Generally speaking, Sprint offers more perks — like Hulu, Amazon Prime and TIDAL — and comes in slightly cheaper than Verizon. Verizon rates very well in coverage and offers perks like Apple Music and Disney Plus

All in all, you can’t really go wrong with either, but you’ll save more money with Sprint.

Plans, pricing and perks

In the perks category, both carriers offer you something. For its most basic plans, Verizon offers both Apple Music (six months to a year) and Disney Plus free. They also provide the Verizon Up rewards program, which gives you points per monthly payment toward device dollars, upgrade credits or even small-sum gift cards to popular retailers like Starbucks.

Sprint, too, offers perks, and with its lowest unlimited plan, you’ll still get access to Hulu. Go for the premium monthly unlimited plan and Sprint throws in Amazon Prime, TIDAL and Lookout.

Still, given these perks, Sprint comes in with the lower price points pretty much across the board, especially if you already subscribe to Amazon Prime, which costs about $120 yearly. 

Winner: Sprint

Cheapest unlimited plans

Here again, both Sprint and Verizon offer similar basic unlimited plans, both with unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data (not premium eligible) with compatibility for 5G devices. The video streaming quality is lower than the other plans, at 480p, which is DVD quality.

Premium unlimited plans

As far as their premium unlimited plans go, both Verizon and Sprint offer similar plans. Both offer unlimited talk, text and data, and are accessible for 5G phones. They both stream video in full HD quality and offer mobile hotspots.

With Verizon’s Get More plan, you’ll pay $10 more a month, and get access to Apple Music (which runs about that much anyway) and some Verizon Up monthly deals, which include device credits and small-amount gift cards, like $3 Starbucks cards, etc. 

These deals are quite comparable and especially given Sprint’s expanded service now that it’s merged with T-Mobile, you’ll save a bit of cash monthly on the Sprint side. 

Family plans

Here again, Sprint and Verizon offer quite similar family unlimited plans, with Verizon charging customers less based on the more lines added. Sprint plans come in far cheaper for one or two lines, and anything over three lines still tends to run about $5-$10/mo. more affordable than Verizon.

Phone deals

Both Sprint and Verizon phone deals are virtually the same in most cases, but when we compared prices on 15 of the top models head-to-head, Verizon had a slight edge. While some of the hotter phones run at exactly the same price point, like the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G, at $1,000, a few phones, like the Apple iPhone 11 Pro run hundreds cheaper with Verizon. 

All in all, it depends on the phone you’re looking for as to whether you’ll save with Sprint or Verizon, but generally, prices are pretty similar.

Winner: Verizon 

Coverage and speed

Two of the major companies to rank coverage and speed of wireless carriers, including RootMetric and OpenSignal rank Verizon quite high. Sprint performs ever so slightly better than Verizon in the Ookla speed score, but overall Verizon ranks higher than Sprint. 

According to J.D. Power, Verizon Wireless showed the least amount of network quality problems (per 100 connections). 

Winner: Verizon

5G

In Opensignal’s latest 5G analysis, the company found that 10 major carriers saw much faster speeds on 5G compared with 4G, with some speeds reaching as high as 18.4 times higher. Average 5G download speeds also varied widely, ranging from 506.1 Mbps on Verizon down to 47 Mbps on T-Mobile.

According to Speedtest.net, Verizon Wireless had the fastest 5G Speed Score in the U.S. in Q2 2020 at 870.50. Sprint’s ranked third in the survey at 64.82. Generally speaking here, Verizon has by far the best carrier 5G plans. 

Winner: Verizon

Customer service

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) benchmarks, Verizon ranks slightly higher than Sprint, at 74, with Sprint at 70. The ACSI is the nation’s only cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction.

J.D. Power customer care, on the other hand, finds T-Mobile (Sprint’s parent company) eking out a slight lead over Verizon in its study. For full-service carriers, T-Mobile ranked the highest with a score of 848. Verizon Wireless ranked second place, with 817.

Winner: Sprint

Sprint vs. Verizon: Which one should you get?

Overall, you can’t go wrong with either of these big-name carriers. And as with most things, it’s really a question of needs and values. If you, for example, value the most inexpensive monthly phone bill, Sprint is likely for you. 

If you lean towards reliable speeds and network access, Verizon is a better bet, given its highly-ranked coverage map. That said, now that Sprint has merged with T-Mobile, Sprint’s network has dramatically improved, so we may see a narrowing of that gap.