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Verizon iPhone 5 Plan vs AT&T iPhone 5 Plan vs Sprint iPhone 5 Plan. Which One Is The Best Deal?

By Mo Mozuch on September 19, 2012 3:54 PM EDT 0

Closeup Shot of iPhone 5
Want an iPhone 5 but can't afford it? Negotiate with your carrier (Photo: Reuters)

Verzion, AT&T and Sprint all have iPhone 5 plans designed to appeal to customers.The iPhone 5 will be released on Sept. 21 and customers anxiously awaiting the new phone need to consider which of these mobile carriers will best suit their needs. If you're staying with your existing carrier, you need to know what your options are. If you're looking to jump ship, then which carrier will provide the best service for the best price? Below is a run-down of the plans offered by the three major carriers as well as some pros and cons each company brings to the table. Apple also provides a handy tool that compares the prices of each carriers' plans to ease the burden for customers.

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Verizon iPhone 5 Plan:

Verizon offers a total of 12 different iPhone 5 plans. Each plan includes unlimited talk and text, but limits the amount of data available to users. (Note: Existing customers with the older unlimited data plan can keep the plan, but have to pay the full $649 retail price for the iPhone 5) Verizon calls the plans the 'Share Everything Plan' and allows customers to register up to 10 mobile devices on one plan. A good idea for families and businesses, but single customers scratch their heads when looking at the terms. Here are the monthly costs and data allowances for each plan:

$80.00 per month 300 MB $140.00 per month 10 GB
$90.00 per month 1 GB $150.00 per month 12 GB
$100.00 per month 2 GB $160.00 per month 14 GB
$110.00 per month 4 GB $170.00 per month 16 GB
$120.00 per month 6 GB $180.00 per month 18 GB
$130.00 per month 8 GB $190.00 per month 20 GB

*Verizon charges an overage fee of $15 per GB of data.

Pros:
- Verizon has the most nationwide 4G LTE coverage of any mobile provider.
- Highest Customer Service rating from J.D. Power for three consecutive years.
- Devices can be turned into mobile hotspots at no extra chrage.

Cons:
- Expensive. Cheapest Verizon plan is a penny more than Sprint's unlimited data plan.
- Speed. Verizon has the biggest network, but AT&T's HSPA+ is faster (where available).
- Contract. New customers must buy a Share Everything plan even for one line.


AT&T iPhone 5 Plan:

AT&T's biggest draw is designed to keep existing customers. Existing AT&T customers with an unlimited data plan are allowed to keep the plan and STILL receive a discounted iPhone 5. AT&T basically sees itself in direct competition with Verizon for mobile supremacy and so it offers services similar to Verizon's, i.e., all plans include unlimited talk and text. There are six iPhone 5 plans available from AT&T.

$85.00 per month 1 GB $150.00 per month 10 GB
$110.00 per month 4 GB $190.00 per month 15 GB
$125.00 per month 6 GB $230.00 per month 20 GB

*AT&T charges an overage fee of $15 per GB of data

Pros:
- HSPA+ coverage fastest on the market.
- Customers can talk AND surf the Internet at the same time. No other carrier offers this.
- Customers don't have to buy a shared data plan.

Cons:
- AT&T has a smaller network than Verizon and is known for poor performance in major cities like New York.
- AT&T customer service not as good as Verizon and, in some instances, Sprint.
- Restrictions on mobile hot spot features for cheaper plans.


Sprint iPhone 5 Plan:

Sprint is the underdog in the iPhone 5 fight, the smallest of the three major cell phone service providers. This works out for consumers because Sprint offers the lowest priced plans and truly unlimited data service (no slow-downs or blackouts). It offers three iPhone 5 plans, all of which feature unlimited text and data but have some restrictions on call minutes.

$79.99 per month Unlimited text and data, 450 call minutes.
$99.99 per month Unlimited text and data, 900 call minutes.
$109.99 per month Unlimited text, data and call minutes.

*Sprint charges an overage fee for voice minutes. 45 cents per minute for the $79.99 plan, 40 cents per minute for the $99.99 plan.

Pros:
- Cost. Sprint has the cheapest plans by far of all three carriers.
- Data. Truly unlimited data means worry-free browsing.

Cons:
- Size. The smallest company has the smallest network. Expanding 4G LTE coverage in the coming months but nowhere near what Verizon offers.
- Minutes. It seems archaic to still worry about your minutes. And no rollover minutes means no incentive to budget.
- Mobile hotspot feature costs additional $30 per month.

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