My kids are long grown and their cell phone bills are (thankfully) not my problem. But if you’ve still got a student or two in the nest, Sprint just announced a deal worth looking into: free talk, text and data for a year. And by “student” the carrier means anyone enrolled at any level from elementary school through college.
Here’s how it works. You buy a Sprint phone from Best Buy, the carrier’s partner on this promotion. You have to buy via Best Buy; going to a Sprint retail store isn’t an option. You have a choice of 25 different smartphones and feature phones, including the latest Samsung Galaxy handsets, Apple’s iPhones and LG’s new Nexus 5.
There’s no contract required, so you pay full freight for the phones – you can see a price list here – plus a $36 activation fee and applicable taxes. Spoiler alert: Some of these phones are pricey. A 16GB iPhone 5s, for example, costs $699; a Galaxy S4 (Sprint didn’t specify a size) runs $649.
The student really does have to be a student; Sprint asks for proof. (Check out this link for answers to many questions about the offer.) If 1GB isn’t enough to satisfy your student, you can buy an unlimited data plan for $10 a month. If your student exceeds the data cap, it costs 1.5 cents per MB or about $15 per GB of data.
If you already have a Sprint account, you can add students for a total of up to 10 lines.
At the end of the 12-month period you can renew the 1GB deal for $70 a month. Or you can simply end your service without a penalty and take your phone to another compatible network after Sprint unlocks it for you. All in all, this looks like a very good offer, and I don’t see any noxious strings attached.
The offer is available now and will be in effect through January 4.
San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.