Considering changing mobile carriers? I know what you're thinking: can I keep my own device or will I have to buy a Sprint phone?
You'll be happy to know that Sprint does have a Bring Your Own Phone program. This solution can save you money on your phone and help you avoid other malicious fees. However, the program only applies to postpaid plans. If you prefer to prepay plan charges, you'll need to buy a new Sprint phone and subscribe to a no-contract plan.
Not only that, but Sprint's cell phone plans fall behind Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile when it comes to service and coverage; after all, as of Q2 2016, Sprint was home to 58.446 million subscribers, which placed it in fourth place among the wireless carriers - this according to FierceWireless. Yet, the company puts up a strong fight.
Sprint network coverage is solid and its plans are affordable, but does that mean the service is right for you? I'll cover the basics of BYOP Sprint plans as well as which devices you may be able to bring.
Sprint's Bring Your Own Phone program, as mentioned, only applies to postpaid plans. BYOP (also known as BYOD - bring your own device) only applies to domestic devices. International devices are not currently supported. Some devices may also be eligible but could have network band limitations that may result in a subpar experience.
Furthermore, the devices must be unlocked domestically by your current carrier before you can switch. You can check out our guide on how to unlock your cell phone for more information.
Nevertheless, there are benefits you can always reap from Sprint's BYOD policy. Mainly, you'll be able to save money, as you won't need to purchase a new phone. However, it seems as though you're stuck with a contract.
Which Devices Can I Bring?
Here's the deal:
Sprint devices run on the CDMA network. While some phones designed for the GSM network - like AT&T, T-Mobile, and smaller carriers' devices like TracFone Wireless and Straight Talk phones - will work, you'll have the best results using a phone that's made to operate on the CDMA network. If you do have TracFone Wireless or Straight Talk service, you may in luck though, as some of their devices are made to operate on the Sprint network.
What about other providers?
- Verizon is a CDMA carrier. That doesn't mean you'll definitely be able to use your Verizon device, but some newer models are indeed compatible.
- T-Mobile and AT&T are GSM networks. You'll have to check on the Sprint website or contact customer service to find out if you can bring your GSM phone.
- Boost Mobile is a Sprint MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). You can likely bring your Boost Mobile device to this carrier.
- Virgin Mobile is also a Sprint MVNO. You may be able to bring your Virgin Mobile device over, however, you'll need to check, as VM branded phones are a bit more finicky.
It used to be that GSM phones could not be used at all with a CDMA carrier and vice versa. Now, however, some newer devices are equipped with both technologies (except GSM iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus). Still, you should consult customer service because even if your device works, it may not get optimal network coverage.
Read More: If you'd like to consider all of the BYOP plans among the big four wireless providers, we encourage you to read our comparison guide on the best BYOP plans.
Bring Your Own Device Plans
With Sprint BYOP, you can choose any postpaid plan you'd like. There are two main types of plans: Sprint Unlimited and Better Choice plans. There are also Mobile Internet and Shared Data - which provides you with unlimited 2G speeds when you reach your high-speed data limit - plans to consider.
Sprint Better Choice
Let's first talk about the Better Choice plans. Better Choice Plans range from 1GB of high-speed data per month to 40GB of high-speed data. These plans are labeled by size, ranging from Extra Small to Extra-Extra Large.
The Better Choice plans sit between the 6 GB and 40GB amounts of high-speed data. These data amounts can be shared on one convenient family cell phone plan. You'll face no overage charges with Sprint, as once your monthly high-speed data allotment has been reached, your speeds will be reduced to 2G levels.
As for Better Choice single-line plans, you can only select the Extra Small or the Small service plans.
Furthermore, these plans feature the optional autopay discount program. Overall, Sprint's family plans, which you can examine more in-depth here, may be affordable, but the amount of high-speed data that you can purchase isn't as expensive as Verizon's offerings.
Read More: If you're searching for the best family plans among the four providers, we've got you covered.
Sprint Unlimited Freedom
If you're considering switching to the Sprint network, you may want to consider its unlimited plan. Sprint Unlimited provides you with unlimited talk, text and high-speed data, all for an affordable fee. For a family of four, you may pay an incredibly affordable price. Of course, you can add up to ten lines to the plan, which are all eligible for the auto-pay discount.
There are two types of Unlimited Freedom plans: the basic and the premium. The regular Unlimited Freedom plan includes mobile-optimized streaming, which delivers mobile-optimized video streaming at up to 480p+ resolution and music streaming at up to 500kps. Additionally, cloud game streaming is limited at up to 2mbps.
Unlimited Freedom Premium, on the other hand, is $20 more per line per month. You'll have the ability to video stream at up to 1080p+, music stream at up to 2Mbps, and game stream at up to 8Mbps.
Mobile Hotspot is also part of the Sprint unlimited plan, so you can share your mobile web connection or tether your computer on the go. 5GB of high-speed data is eligible for Mobile Hotspot, virtual private network, and peer-to-peer usage. If you use your data allowance for Mobile Hotspot, you can either continue to use the data at 2G speeds or purchase more on-network high-speed data.
Mobile high-speed data packages range from 3GB to 30GB which are all eligible for the auto-pay discount. These plans are designed for tablets and other 3G or 4G devices for which you need mobile web access.
Shared Data plans also come equipped with the auto-pay discount. These plans range from 1GB of high-speed data to 40GB of high-speed data.
Read More: If you'd rather have a Sprint device than take chances on your own, you might consider buying a used phone. Our guide tells you how to find a good deal on a reliable device, whether you're looking for a Sprint phone or that of another carrier.
Sim Card Activation Kit
To obtain a Sprint 4G LTE Activation Kit, you can purchase the kit at a Sprint store near you or you can purchase the package online. The 3-in-1 Universal SIM card can be adjusted to fit inside any compatible devices.
This accessory is also incredibly cheap compared to T-Mobile's SIM card packages.
Read More: Hungry for more information? We take the time to define and explain SIM cards.
Activate Your Own Device
Before you can activate your phone with Sprint's plan, you need to check your phone's eligibility with the service itself. Sprint actually has a list of eligible devices, which I will provide for you:
- iPhone 7 (Verizon only)
- iPhone 7 Plus (Verizon only)
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 5s (Verizon only)
- iPhone 5c (Verizon only)
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad Mini 4
- iPad Mini 3
- iPad Mini 2
- iPad Pro
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel XL
- Nexus 6 (32 & 64GB – black/white)
- Nexus 5 (16 & 32GB – black/white/red)
- Nexus 5X (all versions)
- Nexus 6P (all versions)
- HTC One A9 (Sprint Version only)
- Motorola X Pure Edition (16, 32, and 64GB – all colors)
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Special Edition
- Moto G4
- Moto G4 Plus
Overall, the phone list is rather limited compared to its wireless carrier competitors. However, if you don't see your device listed, you can always visit a Sprint store to discuss your options.
After you validate your phone's eligibility, you can purchase a SIM card. From there, you can choose a service plan, and activate your device. Unfortunately, you need to bring your phone or tablet and SIM kit to a Sprint store in order to activate. Simply put, you cannot activate your device online.
Read More: You can use our smartphone comparison tool to check the specs and features of the phones list here.
Are Sprint BYOP Plans Right for You?
Sprint, who has recently appointed a new COO, offers affordable plans and packages for both single and family lines, but at the same time, the coverage isn't as extensive as the coverage provided by Verizon and AT&T. Not only that, but the phones you can bring to the service are rather limited and their BYOD policy doesn't apply to prepay plans. However, its Unlimited Freedom plan may be worth the price.
Looking to compare cell phone plans? Our comparison tool lists the best cell phone plans on the market and places them side by side where you can see their prices, plans, and important features.