We walk through a loophole in Sprint’s current system, and tap into some of their commitments that they’ve conveyed to the FCC. The result? We whittle Sprint’s $20/month plan down to a little under $8/month.
If you’re in the market for an Android tablet, this is the article for you. We’ll show you how to get a Sprint tablet for the same price as Wi-Fi tablets, and net a 1 GB/month plan for around $8/month.
Essentially, the loophole is that Sprint allows users to swap between phone and tablet. By maximizing the subsidy on a high-profile device (say, an iPhone 4S), you can then use that subsidy to cover the cost of service on a tablet plan. With tablet prices on Sprint at same-as-Wi-Fi device pricing, sometimes even less, you can get a backup data plan for as low as around $8/month.
Without further ado, here are the steps.
Step 1: Buy a Sprint Tablet without contract. Reagan Wireless is still selling HTC EVO 4G units for $329 without contract, and Galaxy Tab units can be found on eBay for around $200. For maximum effect, wait for the tablet to arrive before going to the next step.
Step 2: Waltz (or just walk) into a Sprint Store, and buy an iPhone 4S (or any other highly-subsidized smartphone). Optionally, sign up in a Sprint Store with a credit union or a AAA membership to waive activation, plus save 10% per month. You can even ask the Sprint Store to not open the device… they’ll typically be happy not to spend the time setting it up.
Step 3: Call customer service (888-211-4727) from another phone. Tell them you want to change devices. Give them the MEID/ESN off the tablet. You can do this within hours of activating your smartphone.
Step 4: Be prepared for customer service to say “Hey, this isn’t a phone!”
Step 5: Tell them you understand, and the you want to change to a tablet. This is allowed, as Sprint tablets are non-voice phones. Sprint has said they will be releasing tablets that support CDMA voice calling in the near future.
In case you’re thinking we are exploiting a loophole that Sprint will close immediately, we doubt it. Sprint’s Right Plan Promise, backed by their testimony to the FCC, states that they allow people to change to the plan that is right for them. Since Sprint believes tablets are cell phones, we would think it would be quite hypocritical, and possibly backtracking on their testimony, to stop phone-to-tablet conversions.
Step 6: Select the $19.99/month plan (or any tablet plan, but you get the most savings from that plan), and finish activating the device.
What we’re doing here is arbitraging Sprint, taking the subsidy from the iPhone and using that to pay for the cheap $19.99/month data plan. With Sprint iPhone 4S still selling for near the same price as unlocked iPhone 4S devices, you can cash out enough money to clobber that $20/month data plan well below $10/month.
At that price-point, we think many will want to opt for a Sprint tablet as opposed to a Wi-Fi-only tablet. We’ve certainly been in a few situations where we wished our tablets had shipped with a free 3G/4G radio…
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