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Pros / Sprint Forward plans include hotspot tethering and HD video streaming.

Cons / The prepaid plans cost as much as Sprint’s postpaid plans with fewer plan perks.

 Verdict / Sprint Forward isn’t the best value, but it does include some premium features without an upcharge.

Sprint is one of the Big Four wireless networks in the U.S. but has historically weaker performances in coverage, reliability and speed, but it has shown recent improvement. Partially to combat its reputation of having spotty service, Sprint has lower prices than any of the other national networks, which include AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Sprint Forward is the carrier’s prepaid arm, which offers two basic plans that cost about the same as Sprint’s traditional postpaid plans, but don’t require a credit check.

The Sprint Forward Unlimited plan costs $65 for a single line. Enrolling in autopay lowers that by $5 a month, and you can get discounts for additional lines. This plan comes with 10GB of hotspot data, HD streaming and unlimited talk and text. High-speed data caps at 23GB. It’s pricing is similar to the postpaid Unlimited Freedom plan, both for individual lines and multiple lines, though the Sprint Forward plan runs great promotional rates for family plans.

The prepaid unlimited plan doesn’t come with all the perks of the postpaid plan, like free Hulu. All things considered, it isn’t a terrible deal. With the autopay discount, Sprint’s unlimited prepaid plan costs the same as unlimited plans from MetroPCS and Sprint’s subsidiary Boost Mobile . It’s odd that the two plans from Sprint’s prepaid and postpaid branches cost the same when other prepaid services usually cost less than their postpaid counterparts.

For less than unlimited data, Sprint Forward has a 4GB plan with unlimited talk and text for $45 per month, or $40 with the autopay discount. Additional lines cost $30 each and aren’t eligible for autopay discounts. For comparison, $40 with MetroPCS gets you an additional GB of data, and the same amount with Verizon Prepaid gets you 1GB less. Unlike some other limited plans, Sprint Forward doesn’t have an option to top up on data during your billing cycle, so if you use up your 4GBs, you’re stuck at 2G speeds for the rest of the month. Unused data does not carry over, either. Sprint Forward doesn’t have a set international plan, so you pay discounted per-minute rates instead.

The unlimited plan is priced similarly to other unlimited plans we reviewed and offers features many plans charge a premium for, including hotspot tethering and HD streaming. It also isn’t a great deal, as it costs about the same for prepaid and postpaid services through Sprint, even though prepaid is traditionally a more budget-friendly option.

Specifications and Benchmarks

Budget Plans

Base Individual Plan
45
Data Allowance
4
Base Family Plan (4 Lines)
135
Data Per Line
4
Extra Data
-
Carryover
-

Network Performance

Network Provider
Sprint
Coverage
B
Reliability
B+
Speed
B

Carrier Features

Initial Fees
-
Autopay Discount
5
International Calling
Discounted
Lines Per Plan
5
Device Selection
C+

Unlimited Plans

Individual Plan
65
Family Plan (4 Lines)
165
Data Cap
23
Hotspot Allowance (GB)
10