The iPhone 5 made its debut earlier this week but unfortunately the window for grabbing unlimited data from the US’ two biggest carriers have already closed for new customers. Until last week, iPhone 5 buyers only had Sprint to go with if they wanted a new unlimited data plan with that shiny new device. However with T-Mobile now readily offering an unlimited data plan as well, it brings up an interesting question – which of the two are offering the best deal?
Unlimited data plan for iPhone 5: Sprint vs T-Mobile
T-Mobile’s genuinely unlimited data plans can compete hard with Sprint, which after AT&T and Verizon announced their data sharing offers, was the only network even offering unlimited data.
T-Mobile’s unlimited plans will run alongside the value and classic plans. Anyone with a classic plan can bolt on unlimited data for $89 a month, although if you only need 500 minutes a month, you’ll pay $79.99. On value plans, unlimited costs $74.99 a month ($64.99 for 500 minutes).
Sprint gives you texts, 450 minutes of talk and unlimited data for $74.99, and for 900 minutes it costs $99.99. Unlimited talk time is $109, so T-Mobile is the winner here.
T-Mobile customers are at present getting 4G over HSPA+, with around 200 million subscribers in 230 markets. The company is already testing its 1,900MHz spectrum, which means that 3G speeds too are just around the corner for the iPhone 5 (some regions already have it and no longer need to rely on EDGE). Sprint can offer WiMAX, which is fast but not enabled for newer phones like the iPhone 5. The company has 71 markets with 130 million US customers, and has LTE in 16 areas, which is better than T-Mobile but still no great shakes. Verizon, by comparison, has 370 markets so if you’re really after LTE speeds then Verizon (and even AT&T) are the best choices.
If you’re really after unlimited data, then T-Mobile is your best bet, even if you have to stump up more readies to buy a pre-paid unlocked iPhone 5 first (T-Mobile is already setting up the works for iPhone 5 buyers wishing to jump on their network). We’ve always advised people to steer clear of contracts if at all possible, because in the long run, you save loads.