Sprint offers a free year of data to non-customers willing to switch
Out of the largest four mobile carriers in the United States, Sprint is by far the smallest. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that the company may use more creative methods to grow their customer base. However, it’s unlikely that anyone saw this coming: Sprint is offering a full year of unlimited data for free to anyone who drops their current carrier and goes Yellow.
While the campaign is targeted specifically at Verizon Wireless customers (the splash page tells potential clients to “stop feeling ripped-off by Verizon”), it’s open to T-Mobile and AT&T customers as well. The offer hasn’t been announced with any fanfare, either. In fact, it’s only available online; none of Sprint’s retail stores will honor the offer. A new account must be opened through Sprint’s website, and a new SIM card must be ordered online as well.
But the company really is offering free unlimited talk, text, and data for an entire year. The data here is part of Sprint’s “Sprint Unlimited” plan, which includes 10 GB of data and hotspot use at 4G LTE speeds. After this allowance, data use remains free, but Sprint may de-prioritize a user’s network requests during high-traffic times (i.e., mobile data will be severely bottlenecked to speeds similar to 2G or 3G connections).
You also need to purchase a Sprint SIM card and cover shipping, both of which total about $13. Then there’s the $30 activation fee (although this will get credited back to your account within 2 months). And then there’s an ongoing $2 administrative fee, a $0.40 regulatory fee, and other taxes on top of all that. You’ll also have to enroll in both Sprint’s e-billing and auto-payment services. If you cancel e-billing, it’ll cost you $5/month per line. Canceling auto-pay will result in a fee of $8. There is no cost to terminate the contract, and there's no obligation to maintain the account after the promotional year is finished.
Still, for a total startup cost of $43, $30 of which will be refunded to you, the offer seems pretty tempting. Sprint’s site estimates that users who switch from Verizon can save up to $960 for one line, $1680 for two lines, and more for each added line. The offer is only good for four lines, and will only run until the end of June. Keep in mind that interested parties will also need to provide their own phone, and it’ll need to be unlocked. Also, remember that Sprint and Verizon operate on the CDMA standard while T-Mobile and AT&T are GSM-only.
More details and a list of eligible devices can be found on Sprint’s promotional site here.