Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sprint Prepaid Phones and Plans

Sprint prepaid phones and plans differ from the offerings of other the major cell phone carriers. In fact, technically speaking, there is no such thing as a "Sprint prepaid cell phone plan".
Unlike AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, Sprint does not use its own branding for prepaid and no-contract services.
Even though Sprint does not offer prepaid wireless as such, their network is the most widely used MNO for prepaid cell phone service.

In May of 2010, Sprint formed a division known as the Sprint Prepaid Group. This division provides prepaid cell phone services under the brand names of
  • Assurance Wireless-Supported by the Lifeline Assistance Program
  • Boost Mobile-Acquired in 2006
  • Virgin Mobile-Acquired in 2009

In my research I found a surprising number of prepaid carriers that use the Sprint Network. They purchase capacity on a whole sale basis and and resell it under their own brand name.

The Sprint network is used by the most number of MVNOs. The following is a list of popular MVNOs that use the Sprint platform:

  • Airlink Mobile
  • Boost Mobile
  • iWireless(Kroger)
  • Liberty Wireless
  • Platinum Tel
  • Prepayd
  • Republic Wireless
  • STI Mobile
  • Straight Talk(Android Smartphones)
  • Ting
  • Total Call Mobile
  • Virgin Mobile USA

Keep in mind that the coverage with the Sprint subsidiaries and the MVNOs vary. Even though they operate on the Sprint Network they might not necessarily have the exact coverage. The individual companies may have different roaming agreements in place.

For instance, Virgin Mobile does not have coverage in my rural hometown, but Sprint does. Just be sure to check out the coverage map for the individual company that you are considering.

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