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Sprint announces new Framily plans – but how do they stack up to T-Mobile?

Sprint Framily

During CES 2014, Sprint took the opportunity to unveil a new take on family plans, which it is calling “Framily” plans. Even though the name conjures up memories of Fraggle Rock, the term is actually a combination of “Friends” and “Family,” reflecting the fact that these plans are designed for people who want to get the discounts of a family plan, even if they don’t live under the same roof. Here’s how it works.

The Sprint Framily Plan is available to new and existing customers. Up to 10 people can join, and each account can be billed separately. The more people that you add to the group, the greater the savings will be for everyone on the plan.

For one line of service, new Sprint customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data. For each additional new Sprint customer that joins the Framily group, the cost per person goes down $5 a month, up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line. This means that after seven people, there are no additional discounts – but if you’re interested in this, it still might be good to build a buffer in case some people decide to drop out. That way your rate will have a small chance of randomly going up.

It’s important to note that to participate, customers have to purchase a wireless phone at full retail price or through the Sprint Easy Pay program, which allows up to 24 monthly payments. Customers also can activate an existing Sprint phone. 2GB of data can be added for $10 (3GB total), or unlimited data can be added for $20. Existing Sprint customers can also switch to a Framily plan, although they’ll pay an extra $15/month if they’re under contract (Sprint is temporarily waiving this fee, though).

So how does this compare to T-Mobile’s family plans, which are the closest competitors in price and plan structure? Let’s take a look.

Sprint and T-Mobile comparison

To compare apples to apples, I highlighted the unlimited data offering of each carrier. Red is more expensive, green is less expensive, and yellow is equal. As you can see, if all lines had unlimited data in a T-Mobile family plan, in the majority of cases, T-Mobile would still be cheaper than Sprint. The only time that Sprint is less expensive is in a 7-line Framily plan. With 8 lines, both carriers are the same price. Any more or any less, and T-Mobile is the clear winner.

There are several things to keep in mind when comparing these plans:

  • T-Mobile has a five line maximum per family plan, although well-qualified customers can oftentimes get up to ten lines (although there would still be two separate family plans). That’s why the price per line jumps a bit from five to six lines with T-Mobile.
  • The average price per line with T-Mobile or Sprint could go down if some people in the group don’t need unlimited data.
  • T-Mobile does not charge overages. All plans include unlimited data; it’s just that T-Mobile throttles its 500MB and 2.5GB plans once those caps are met. Sprint, on the other hand, charges overages. There is no way to “turn off” Sprint data once your limit is hit, either.
  • Your Sprint bill could be unpredictable in a Framily plan – if people leave the plan without telling you, your bill will go up.
  • Sprint offers individualized billing for Framily plans, while T-Mobile does not.

Financially, T-Mobile is the winner in most cases. However, there are other things to consider: perhaps you need more than 500MB, but not a whole 2.5GB. Perhaps you need individualized billing. Maybe Sprint offers better coverage where you live. Perhaps T-Mobile offers LTE while Sprint is still stuck on 3G.

You should consider all of these things before making up your mind. However, I think it’s pretty clear where I stand on the matter.

[Sprint]
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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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9 thoughts on “Sprint announces new Framily plans – but how do they stack up to T-Mobile?

  • Avatar of Jorge Torres

    Not true, they are not the same at ten people Sprint total is $555 and T-Mobile is $490 if you add it up even at 8 people T-Mobile over all price is better..

    Reply
  • Avatar of Fifth313ment

    I love T-Mobile! I am on a family plan with some friends and we have 5 phones on the account (anything higher than 5 on T-Mobile and the price gets worse or no neutral). I bought my Note 3 outright, I have the 2.5GB plan and I also have the $4 per month name id (real caller ID for your cell phone, totally worth it and awesome). My bill is $37.80 per month with taxes, tag and title, lol! Frigging amazing! If I want to go up to the unlimited plan (if I go over, which I never do as I usually use around 800MB to 1.5Gb per month on average) it would only be $10 more, so I would pay $47.80! It works the other way too, if you use under 500MB per month you can pay $10 less, which would be $27.80! Remember these prices are with taxes and everything!

    Also the caps are not “disconnect” levels, they simply throttle you down to slower speeds (I’ve tested the slower speeds and they are still faster than 99% of Sprint area data speeds), so you still have unlimited data. Also on many occasions others on my account who have the 500MB plan have reached the cap and gotten the text about it but the speed never changed, and the whole month they still got normal LTE speeds!

    Oh and T-Mobile gives me free hotspot and their HSPDA and LTE is average 10-30Mb down and 2-20Mb up and it even works indoors! T-Mobile only brings to light how much people pay for their phones even when they are out of contract! With Sprint I had a 25% discount and the everything plan with only 500mins and I payed $76 dollars a month with tax and everything! It would have been just short of $90 if I didn’t have the discount! Also I NEVER got service! My data speeds were sub-56K and even LTE maxed out at 1-2Mb per second so I have no idea how they are going to do 50+Mb! It was a joke and I live in a “Turbo” Spark area. Near the end phone calls weren’t even going through and I kept getting please try your call again later messages, which is the main reason I left! If Sprint buys T-Mobile I don’t know what I’ll do, I guess ATT or Verizon as I’ll never give Sprint another dollar, EVER! I’m still fighting with them about my ETF!

    If anyone has any questions about T-Mobile plans or my Sprint experience please feel free to ask and I’ll help you the best I can. :)

    5th

    Reply
    • That’s been part of my reasoning for wanting to switch. Even if a company ‘throttles’ me back, they’d still be faster than the Sprint 4G I get in my area. All the advertising Sprint does about throttling, is a farce, when they can’t even match the throttled speeds.

      And now, they want to limit data usage? They only thing they had going for them, were cheap rates, and unlimited data. My rates have gone up, and this new pricing, my bill would be $195/mo to get what I have now (3 lines). There is absolutely nothing to justify it, as a consumer. Done… done… done. Only a couple more months.

      Reply
  • Just like in paying taxes, I wish the carriers would go to a flat rate system for each line. Then instead of the price gimmicks, consumers would use the company that gives them the best service.

    Reply
  • Avatar of mbehna

    I am so tired of Sprint! T-Mobile has WiFi Calling so I don’t need the crappy AirRave. They have Unlimited everything for less than Sprint.I can hotspot and tether devices without extra $. I can upgrade every 6 months my phone. Plus no contract… I am seeing nothing but positives with T-Mobile.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Edward

    Wow! Framily Plans!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Patrick

    Ri wrill nreed tro tralk tro mry framily tro frind rout rif wre cran srave mroney writh thris.

    Reply
  • Avatar of HOLLIS RAY

    THE FRAMILY PLAN IS A RECRUITING TOOL, THAT GETS IT CUSTOMERS TO BRING CUSTOMERS TO BRING CUSTOMERS AND SO ON AND SO ON WITHOUT YOU GETTING NONE OF THE BENEFITS BUT MORE MONEY OUT OF YOUR POCKET. BY THE TIME YOU ADD UP YOUR PLAN COVERAGE, THEN YOUR PHONE PAYMENT, THEN YOUR SMARTPHONE FEE, THEN YOUR INSURANCE FOR THE PHONE, U WILL BE OUT OF A LITTLE CHANGE. OH BUT U HAVE GOTTEN THEM ALL THEM EXTRA CLIENTS AND THEM CLIENTS GONE BRING THEM EXTRA CLIENTS AND SPRINT GIVES THEM A NEW CONTRACT AND MAKES A ABUNDANCE OFF OF YOUR RECRUITSN N YOU GETS NO COMMISSION. SMART MOVE SPRINT FOR A PLAN THAT WONT LAST LONG ONCE EVERYONE FIGURE OUT YOUR SCAM.

    Reply
  • Does Sprint Framily include hot spot capability for free? Or is this extra? Does Framily also charge the $10 “smart phone” fee in addition to these charges like they do with current unlimited plans?

    Reply

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