Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Some opt for the iPhone, while others go for an Android like the Samsung Galaxy. Smartphones have become practically a necessity in modern life as we progress further into the 21st century.
With that being the case, phone companies and plans have the spotlight put on them. Even if you don’t know much about them, you surely must notice the many TV commercials that air at all hours of the day, each one seemingly talking about benefits and coverage areas, and most of them featuring one mascot or another. But which one is the best? In this guide, we’ll talk about two of the top contenders, Sprint and MetroPCS. In the end, hopefully, you will have an easier time choosing between them.
A Brief History of Sprint
The Sprint Corporation started as the Brown Telephone Company way back in 1899. Since then, it has gone through half a dozen name changes. It currently uses the name the Sprint Corporation, and it is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as simply S. In 2019, its revenue has been upwards of $33 billion. The current CEO is Michel Combs. Their world headquarters is located in Overland Park, KS.
Sprint has several subsidiaries, the names of which should be familiar to you. Among those are Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. There is no doubt that they are a giant within the telecommunications field.
The History of MetroPCS
MetroPCS is now referred to officially as Metro by T-Mobile. Its predecessor was General Wireless, Inc., and it was founded in 1994, much more recently than Sprint. They are a prepaid brand, and in 2013, they did a reverse merger with T-Mobile USA. At that point, the service they offered was merged under their LTE and 4G networks.
When MetroPCS merged with T-Mobile, they had about 9 million subscribers, while T-Mobile had about 32 million. These were two of the earliest companies to offer unlimited data plans, which was something that many customers wanted. In September of 2018, Metro by T-Mobile was launched. This rebranding effort was accompanied by much fanfare and a slew of commercials and radio spots.
The brand aimed to be one of the first to carry the 5G network in 2019. They launched new unlimited plans that came bundled with Google One storage and Amazon Prime subscriptions. The thought was to remove some of the negative stigmas that had gone along with MetroPCS’s previous prepaid services. Apparently, some consumers regarded prepaid plans as lesser or inferior to those that were not prepaid.
As of 2018, T-Mobile’s subscriber count had grown to about 75 million. Metro had about 18 million subscribers.
Article Summary Breakdown
For those who don’t have time to read the whole article, here are some bullet points we’re going to cover.
- Cheaper options for individual and family plans than MetroPCS
- Allows you to use the phone of your choice, including iPhone, Galaxy, and Google Pixel
- Includes Tidal and Lookout among the perks
- Ideal for college students or young adults on a budget
- A wide variety of phones from which to choose, including Galaxy and iPhone
- Has a more extensive coverage network than Sprint
- Has faster data speeds, which means faster website and page downloads
- Has perks including Netflix and exclusive trip deals and vouchers
Sprint vs MetroPCS Coverage
When thinking about your cell phone provider’s service, one of the factors that are sure to get your attention is the coverage area in the continental US. Sprint’s network is currently considered to be the fourth-best in the country. It ranks behind Verizon, which is first, and then T-Mobile and AT&T. This means that T-Mobile, which is basically MetroPCS, is second-best for coverage in the nation, superior to Sprint. Sprint’s 4G LTE network has a coverage area of 27% of the United States. Most of that is along the Eastern seaboard.
It should be noted that Sprint has a lot of smaller carriers operating on their network. Before you commit to either of these carriers, it is not a bad idea to consider what part of this country you live in and look at coverage maps for each of them.
Deals and Pricing Structures
When it comes to which phone plan you should get, part of what you should be thinking about is what you prioritize. Are you someone who wants rock bottom prices, for instance, or are you willing to pay a little bit more for better coverage or faster data speeds?
When it comes to Sprint vs. MetroPCS (which is basically T-Mobile), the answer to the question of who provides what becomes readily apparent. With T-Mobile, the data plans are more expensive, but you get much faster data speeds. With Sprint, you get extremely cheap pricing, better than MetroPCS. However, you also get limited coverage areas.
The four Sprint plans that are offered to most of the country are called Kickstart Plus, Basic, Plus, and Premium. You can get them for $35/month, $60/month, $70/month, and $80/month, respectively.
As for T-Mobile (MetroPCS), you’re looking at Essentials, Magenta, and Magenta Plus. They will cost you $60/month, $70/month, and $80/month, respectively.
When you’re talking about Sprint and MetroPCS, there’s a difference in the plans, and it comes right around the $50 mark. With Sprint, you’re going to get a low cost that most people are willing to put up every month. However, the trade-off is that you’ll get a less reliable network. That’s why some individuals and families start out as Sprint customers, but they feel obliged to switch over at some point because the outages in some areas are giving them fits.
MetroPCS, or T-Mobile, however you want to look at it, could be considered a higher-end provider. There’s no question that you get better coverage in more places, and you also get faster data speeds. Those two factors are enough to make some people sign up with MetroPCS if it’s available in their area.
The Data Speed Difference Between Sprint and MetroPCS
When we talk about data speed, there are some consumers who might not necessarily know quite what we mean by that. Let’s go over that briefly before we move on. To put it in quantifiable terms, Sprint’s average download speed is 13.9 Mbps. MetroPCS’s speed is 21.1 Mbps. So, what does that mean?
It means that if you’re out and about, and you’re using your cell phone, it’s easily going to be advantage MetroPCS over Sprint. Websites will download much smoother and faster when you have MetroPCS, and your internet browsing experience will be much more enjoyable as a result.
Are there Data Caps for Either Network?
If you’re someone who streams movies or shows with your smartphone all the time, then you might be wondering about data caps for these two networks. There is a data cap of 50 GB per month for both of their unlimited plans. You might be thinking that doesn’t mean they’re truly unlimited, and that is technically true. However, it would be rare for you to exceed 50 GB of streaming data within a monthly pay cycle. You would have to be streaming nearly all the time.
Even if you do go over that amount of data, it doesn’t mean you pay any extra. It just means that your service might slow down a little.
What About Which Phones Can Use Each Network?
As for what phones you can use on each network, you should have no worries there. Both Sprint and MetroPCS accept virtually all of the phones that you would think of, including iPhones and Samsung Galaxy models. Both services also offer new models of these phones when you sign up with them.
The details as far as how much you’re going to pay for the phone will depend on which deal you accepted. There are regional specials that you should look into if you want to lease a phone through either of these companies rather than buying the phone separately somewhere else.
The one exception as far as what phones you can get might be some of the Google Pixel phones. Sprint offers more of these than MetroPCS does. If you want the newest models, then you should be able to go to either one of these providers. If you want a Google Pixel phone from a few years ago, then it’s going to be Sprint that’s your best bet.
What About Perks?
You might also be wondering about what perks you get with both of these companies. We’ll start with MetroPCS. With them, you get a Netflix subscription if you get at least two Magenta lines. That’s appealing if you’re getting a family plan. You get unlimited texting and data in most countries, as well as in-flight texting. You also get the T-Mobile Tuesdays app that offers exclusive trip deals and vouchers, and you can get Amazon Prime with some packages as well.
With Sprint, you’re looking at unlimited data and texting in most countries. With the Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Premium plans, you also get services from Tidal, which is a streaming music app. You get Lookout as well, which is a mobile security service with some useful features.
Customer Service: Who has the Edge?
We haven’t heard anything particularly noteworthy about the customer service from either MetroPCS or Sprint. Both companies have options for you to reach out to them through their websites. You can use Live Chat, call and talk to an operator, or you can take your phone to one of their locations around the country if you’re having an issue that needs correcting.
Which One Will You Choose?
In this article, we wanted to present an unbiased look at both of these providers. It would be wrong to conclude definitively that one is better than the other. It is all going to depend on what you prioritize.
Generally speaking, MetroPCS is the winner if you want better coverage and faster data streaming. In that respect, you might feel they’re the way to go if you’re at a point in your life where you are more economically stable. If you have a steady job and a family with a couple of kids, then you’re probably going to want to give them serious consideration.
The same is true if you travel often, use a ton of streaming data every month, or if you live in a rural area. Out in the country, your chances of being covered by MetroPCS (or T-Mobile) are going to be much better than Sprint.
If you’re budget-conscious at this point in your life, then Sprint might be the winner. It should hardly come as a shock that many college students opt for Sprint because they don’t have a great deal of money to spend on their service provider. If you’re paying for a phone plan for a dependent, like a teenager, then you might also feel like they can get along fine with a cheaper phone plan like the basic ones that Sprint provides.
At the end of the day, it is up to you. Your priorities and what stage of your life you find yourself occupying are going to determine whether Sprint or MetroPCS gets your hard-earned dollars.