Comparing data, to minutes, to cost, to perks, which carrier is right for your family?

When you're shopping between Verizon and Sprint, it's important to know how much data you need, how many devices will be on your account, and how much data you expect to use.

What sharing plans are available from Verizon and Sprint?

Sharing plans allow you to purchase one big chunk of data and divvy it up between all the phones and devices on your account.

The Verizon Plan lets you choose between plans sized from S-XXL depending on how much data you need. From there you add the number of devices you want to share the data with.

Sprint used to offer something called the Family Share Pack, but have now eliminated that program in favor of a more simplified plan for individuals and families called the Better Choice plans, which allow you to share data between multiple devices, just like a familiy plan.

How many devices are allowed on a shared plan?

With both Verizon and Sprint you are charged for each device on your plan. Adding smartphones to your plan costs more than adding tablets or wearables, so knowing how many devices you want to share data with will impact your total bill each month.

Verizon cost per device

On Verizon, you pay a flat rate per device, regardless of the size of your plan; however, the rate varies depending on what kind of device you're using. At least one of the devices on your plan must be a smartphone in order to share data.

  • $20/month/smartphone
  • $10/tablet/month
  • $10/mobile hotspot/month
  • $5/device/month

Sprint cost per device

With Sprint, the price per device depends on whether you lease your phone or pay in monthly installments, or if you're on a two-year service agreement.

  • $20/month/smartphone for non-discounted phones
  • $40/month/smartphone on a two-year service agreement
  • $10/month/tablet (at least one activated phone required)
  • $10/month/mobile broadband device (at least one activated phone required)

Remember, if you're not bringing your own phone, your carrier will also charge you a monthly fee to purchase one of their phones. Costs vary, but if you want the most up-to-date phone, you'll be looking at about $25-$30 per month until the device is paid off.

How does data work on a shared plan with Verizon and Sprint?

Both Verizon and Sprint give you a pool of data to share with everyone in your family. The size and cost of this data is where the differences come in.

Verizon monthly data rates

Verizon groups their data plans in sizes of Small to XXL.

  • 1 GB $30
  • 3 GB $45
  • 6 GB $60
  • 12 GB $80
  • 18 GB $100

Overage Charges: If you go over your data limit, Verizon charges $15 per GB (rounded up). This means if you have a 6 GB plan and use 6.1 GB, Verizon rounds up and charges you an additional $15 overage fee that month.

Rollover Data: Verizon does not let you carry unused data into the next month. If you don't binge through all your data in one billing cycle, it's gone.

Sprint monthly data rates

  • 1 GB $20
  • 3 GB $30
  • 6 GB $45
  • 12 GB $60
  • 24 GB $80
  • 40 GB $100

Sprint also offers an unlimited plan but the pricing structure is a little different than other plans. You pay $75/month for unlimited data and a decreasing amount for each line you want to add bottoming out after your fifth phone at $30 for each additional line added. Your data speed will be reduced after 23 GB are used in one month.

Overage Charges: All Sprint plans come with unlimited 2G data after you have used up your high speed allotment for the month. This means you will not be charged overage fees, but your data speed will slow way down if you go over your allotment.

Rollover Data: Sprint does not let you rollover your high speed data into the next billing cycle.

How do talk and text work on a shared plan on Verizon and Sprint?

Both Verizon and Sprint include unlimited talk and text with their shared plans.

Verizon doesn't include talk with countries outside the U.S. but it can be added to your plan. However, you will be able to send an unlimited number of text and multimedia messages internationally from any device on the shared plan as long as you're in the US when you send them.

Sprint offers free calling to Mexico and Canada when you're in the U.S. Additionally, you can add the Open World plan to your account for free. This gives you unlimited calling and text while travelling in Mexico and Canada (as well as a few other countries) plus you get 1 GB of high-speed data while roaming.

What perks come with share plans from Verizon and Sprint?

Sometimes it's tough to decide between one carrier or another, so each provider will offer something to sweeten the pot and hopefully make you choose them over someone else.

Verizon will let you bundle services together which could be helpful if you're also interested in having a home phone, and/or TV hookup. They also offer a loyalty program called Verizon My Rewards + which allows you to earn points when you pay your cell bill or order products from their shop or third-party services. You can use these points to put toward gift cards at restaurants, receive discounts on products, or use them for travel rewards program.

Sprint doesn't have any perks comparable to Verizon, but if you have family living outside of the U.S. their above-mentioned Open World plan has some advantages.

Which carrier's shared plan is right for my family?

Both Verizon and Sprint have a lot of room to customize their services based on the needs and budget of your household. For comparison purposes, we will look at share plans that have two phones and two tablets on them.

If you want the absolute cheapest plan, that can be built with Sprint, but you would have a very small amount of data (1GB) to share between devices.

If you want the most high speed data you can get that with Sprint, gives you way more high speed data at a better price.

If you want the best value for your data Sprint data rates are a better value and won't charge you overage fees if you exceed your monthly allotment.

If you have many devices Verizon and Sprint have the same monthly device fees; however, if your'e on a two-year agreement with Sprint, their access fee is double Verizon's, so in this case Verizon is a better deal.

If you want to avoid overage fees then Sprint is a clear winner since they only slow down your data if you go over your limit instead of charging you per GB of data.

If you're primarily concerned with talk and text from your provider, Verizon and Sprint are equal. The only difference is if you frequently talk or text with people in Mexico or Canada, Sprint will let you add their free Open World]( plan which allows you to talk or roam in these countries for free, including 1 GB of roaming data.

If you already pay for TV service in your home you might find more value with Verizon if you choose to use their Fios TV service.

Keep calm and carrier on!

Ultimately choosing a shared plan for your family comes down to how many people are in your home, what devices they use, and what they use them for. Verizon and Sprint have slight advantages between each other depending on which category you look at.

Overall Sprint's plans offer a lot of value for the price of their data and their lack of overage fees make their shared plans a really appealing option for data-hungry households.