iPhone 4S Plans Compared: Sprint vs AT&T vs Verizon

Oct 6, 2011 - 27 Comments

white iPhone 4S

The contract price of iPhone 4S is the same on each carrier, and comparing the iPhone 4S tech specs to other iPhones and competitors is one thing, but the other side of the equation is the data, text, and voice plan. How much data are you going to get, and at what price? What about overage charges? Does the data plan include internet tethering? How many minutes do you get? What about unlimited texting?

This nice comparison chart was put together by PCMag, breaking down each carrier of the iPhone 4S and what you can expect to pay on a monthly and yearly basis.

iPhone 4S plans compared

Would you have guessed that newcomer Sprint would offer the best deal on iPhone 4S data plans? It’s by a longshot once you consider heavy data use, where Sprint matches both the text and voice plans but then dramatically beats the competitors 2GB data offering. Not only does Sprint offer the cheapest data at a flat rate, but they’re the only remaining iPhone carrier in the USA to offer unlimited data, something only those grandfathered into old Verizon or AT&T plans have (in fact, both VZ and ATT are actually throttling heavy data users instead).

Check your iPhone 4S upgrade eligibility on each carrier, but in some cases it’s actually cheaper to jump carriers and break your contract. Or if you’re looking for a deal and you intend to be a data hog, you can’t beat Sprint’s $99/month.


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Posted by: Matt Chan in iPhone


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  1. Corinne Kelly says:

    what is an unlocked iphone?

  2. Andy says:

    The comparison isn’t fair because in Sprint’s “fine print” it says that they will basically charge you an additional 15% fee that’s not part of any state or federal tax or regulation.

    Is this a scam or what?

    What makes it even worse, if you go to Sprint’s website and try to enlarge the “fine print” you can’t.

    You can’t even copy/paste it.

    I can’t even read it correctly because it’s so small.

    To do any true comparison you better add on 15% to the prices Sprint are referencing.

    I was about to buy an iPhone 4S from them until I discovered that 15% fee. What B.S.

  3. Chris says:

    For those who would like to know about grandfathered verizon unlimited data plan… The main reason I love unlimited data is the ability to tether. It takes the cost of having internet at home away. I use roughly 20gb of data per month.

    Here is the kicker….

    If you have a 4g device you can pay verizon a extra 29.99 for unlimited tethering on your 4g device with mobile hotspot (as long as you HAVE the 29.99 unlimited data plan). If its a 3g phone like the New iphone4s or any previous model unlimited tethering is not available. This is a huge kicker for me and why I will not go back to a iphone until they come up with a lte/4g device. Sadly they are way behind the game on that feature.

    Beyond that keep in mind sprint is a gsm network just like att. Their service is poor in rural areas. Large cities are fine. I was a dihard att customer in cincinnati for 8 years and moved to the sticks of kentucky with no service and switched to verizon and havnt looked back.

    Always way the pros & cons of saving a few bucks, or having a feature that another carrier doesnt. You might get unlimited data with sprint but if you dont get service at your house and are only using wifi then there is NO point.

    Hope I was informative about some things. Take care and good luck iphone users.

  4. […] iPhone 4S Plans Compared: Sprint vs AT&T vs Verizon. […]

  5. Brin says:

    I previously had unlimited data with Verizon for $29.99/mo and was grandfathered in to that rate and unlimited data for life. Had to be signed up by July 1st with a smart phone with unlimited data for the offer.

  6. 911 says:

    God. These prices are straight up insane.

    I’ve had an iPhone for years.. But I hardly even use 3G data and voice, I text a bit but not a ton.. It’s a shame you get tied into super premium plans just because the phones are popular. I get that they cover a subsidy.. but there is no way it should be anywhere near this much.

    • Hans says:

      I agree sir

    • Mo says:

      Why do you have an iPhone? You don’t need data, 3G voice, or the ability to text easily. You don’t even need a smartphone. Sounds like you bought it because it was popular, quit blaming the carriers for that.

    • Adrian says:

      Agreed that the prices are high, but it’s nothing new, the prices have remained fairly constant since the iPhone first came out.

      My advice for you if you don’t use data, would be to buy an unlocked iPhone ~$700 and just pay for voice/messaging service. Not only would you not be tied to a contract, but you wouldn’t be paying the ~$30/month data fee – which will cover the added cost of an unlocked iPhone in less than a year.

  7. Joshua K says:

    If you try and use mobile hotspot on a grandfathered plan, I believe they automatically switch you over. My co-worker wanted to try it and had to call them up to get his account put back.

    I plan on replacing my palm pre on sprint with the phone. There is no 4G so I might be able to get around the $10 extra. Plus I have an employee discount added which takes 20% off the account, making it much more affordable. There is also free mobile to mobile calls to take into account, and if you use family plans it is even cheaper.

  8. Bill says:

    The total for AT&T is incorrect. If the plan included Unlimited Texting, as it says, it would be an additional $20.00.

    Voice: $79.99
    Data: $25.00
    Msg: $20.00

    Total: $124.99

    Not $104.99

    • Jule says:

      That’s only if you get the most expensive voice plan. But I have the 450 minutes and I’ve even paid 103.45 at times.

  9. Gil says:

    I have the iPhone 3G and have not reupped my contract since. Am I still grandfathered in for unlimited data?

  10. Brett says:

    Grandfather’d unlimited data on AT&T is worth the extra couple bucks a month. Data + Voice at the same time is more important to me.

    • Mitch says:

      Yes, that’s true but the service on AT&T is so bad we are willing to switch and leave behind the grandfathered data plan. The real question is if Sprint can really be better with the service than AT&T in MetroWest Boston Area.

  11. Casey4147 says:

    Doesn’t Sprint charge an additional $10 for “premium data”, required for Smartphones?

  12. Marshall says:

    I’m nervous about jumpin to Sprint only because I don’t want them to revoke the unlimited like AT&T and Verizon did. But for unlimited tethering that is a great deal, very tempting.

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