A recent analysis was done by BillShrink that details the cost of ownership of a Samsung Galaxy S model made for each of the four major U.S. carriers. The analysis takes into consideration the carrier-subsidized cost of the AT&T Captivate, the Sprint Epic 4G, the T-Mobile Vibrant, and the Verizon Wireless, along with plans for voice and data, and finds that T-Mobile leads the pack due to its low plan pricing options, followed by Sprint. The two largest carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, trail the pricing survey as the total cost of ownership of the Galaxy S models that they offer are the highest when voice and data plan costs are considered over the two-year contract.
Update: The chart from BillShrink may be inaccurate in mentioning that the AT&T Captivate ships with a memory card as that device is not known to ship with a pre-loaded card; the Captivate can still accommodate an optional memory card.
While the survey puts T-Mobile on top, partially because it’s device–the Vibrant–costs $50 less than Sprint’s Epic 4G, users who are interested in additional features and benefits may fare just as well or better staying with Sprint. The Epic 4G offers a compelling features set–the Vibrant does not have 4G support, a keyboard, front-facing camera, LED notification light, LED flash, and hotspot feature. Additionally, a lot of Sprint services are pre-bundled into the data plan for those who are interested, such as Sprint TV for on-demand and live TV and radio streams, Sprint Navigation powered by TeleNav for a more natural voice-guided GPS instructions, and more–those features will be added subscription costs on other carriers. Also, because the Epic 4G is a 4G-capable smartphone, do bear in mind that regardless of whether you’re in a 4G service area, your plan for the Epic 4G–because of its features–will be $10 more expensive per month than a regular 3G smartphone on Sprint.