Home - , , , , , , , , , , , , - AT&T and AT&T MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared

AT&T and AT&T MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared

The once sleepy world of AT&T Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) has become extremely competve over the last few years. There have always been a number of these virtual operators reselling AT&T minutes and texts. They used to mostly offer pay as you voice and SMS for less than AT&T along with low cost international calling. but no or horrendously overpriced data.

The first sign of change was the rise a couple of years ago of $40/month unlimited talk and text plans. Data if it was available at all was still pricey.

Then, AT&T must have started giving its MVNOs better data rates as several of them started to offer unlimited voice and text plans for $50/month or less that included some data. The data allowances started out at a paltry 25 MB, which quickly became 100 MB. Now we have Straight Talk and Net10 offering unlimited voice and messaging and "unlimited" (with a soft cap at 2.5 GB) data for $45 and $50 per month respectively.

Now AT&T itself has gotten into the act with a $60/month plan that included unlimited voice, unlimited domestic and international SMS and 2 GB of data, including LTE for compatible phones.

Here's a table comparing AT&T's own monthly plans with those of the MVNOs that offer monthly plans.

Plan Monthly Cost SIM Cost Voice SMS domestic / Int'l MMS Data
Pure TalkUSA Simple 50 $5 free 50 "minutes" (also used for texts) 6 1/3 minute each / N/A $9.95
200 MMS + 150 MB
$9.95 13
200 MMS + 150 MB
Pure TalkUSA Simple 250 $11.95 free 250 "minutes" (also used for texts) 6 1/3 minute each / N/A $9.95
200 MMS + 150 MB
$9.95 13
200 MMS + 150 MB
Pure TalkUSA Simple 750 $17.95 free 750  "minutes" (also used for texts) 6 1/3 minute each / N/A $9.95
200 MMS + 150 MB
$9.95 13
200 MMS + 150 MB
NET10 1000 Minute Plan 1 $25 N/A 1 1000 "minutes" (also used for texts and data) 1 minute each / NA 3.5 minutes each (average) 1 minute per minute of browsing
Cricket Talk & Text 9 $25 $10unlimitedunlimited / N/A N/A N/A
GoPhone $25 Monthly $25 2  free 250 minutes (overage 10¢/min, can renew early) unlimited / unlimited unlimited 1¢ per 5 KB ($2/MB) 3
50 MB $5  LTE available
Straight Talk All You Need 4 $30 N/A 4 1000 1000 (SMS and MMS combined) / NA 1000 (SMS and MMS combined) 30 MB (hard cap, overage not available)
good2Go Talk & Text Unlimited$30 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / 10¢ ? 30¢/MB
Airvoice Talk & Text $30-$60 $4.99 unlimited unlimited / unlimited unlimited $30 Plan includes 500 MB,
$40 1 GB,
$50 2GB,
$60 3 GB 7, overage 2.5¢/MB
H2O Unlimited $30-$60 $9.99 unlimited  unlimited / 10¢unlimited $30 500 MB,
$40 1 GB,
$50 2 GB,
$60 "unlimited"
overage 5¢/MB 5
Jolt Unlimited 8 $30-$60 $20 unlimited 8 unlimited / 10¢

100 Int'l SMS included with $40, $55 & $60 plans


unlimited $30 500 MB
$40 1 GB,
$40 Int'l 500 MB
$55 Int'l 1 GB,
$60 3 GB,
overage: 30¢/MB
Red Pocket
Unlimited
$29.99-$59.99 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / 40 free texts then 10¢ ea. unlimited $29.99 500 MB.
$39.99 - $59.99 unlimited  11
Pure TalkUSA Unlimited $34.95-$40.95 free unlimited unlimited / NA $34.95 Plan - 400 MMS, Overage $10 for MMS
$40.95 Plan -unlimited
$34.95 300 MB
$40.95 1 GB
Overage $10 for 100 MB
AT&T GoPhone Monthly Plan $35.00 free 500 Minutes, overage 10/min unlimited / unlimitedunlimited domestic Unlimited for feature phones.
No data for smartphones.
NET10 Unlimited $35.00 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / NA NA NA
NET10 Unlimited $40.00 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / NA unlimited Unlimited, throttled to 128 Kbps after 500 MB
GoPhone Monthly Plan $40.00 free 500 Minutes, overage 10/min unlimited / unlimited unlimited domestic 500 MB, overage 100 MB for $5.  LTE available
Cricket Basic Plan $40.00 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / unlimited unlimited domestic 500 MB 4G, unlimited 2G 10 LTE available 
good2Go Unlimited $40-$50 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / 10¢ 100 included $40 250 MB,
$45 500 MB,
$50 1 GB,
overage $10 500MB. $20 1 GB
GoPhone "Walmart" Plan 12 $45.00 free unlimited unlimited / unlimited unlimited domestic 1GB, overage 500 MB for $10.  LTE available
Straight Talk Unlimited $45.00 $14.95 unlimited unlimited / NA unlimited Unlimited, throttled to 128 Kbps after 3 GB  LTE available
NET10 Unlimited $50.00 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / NA unlimited Unlimited, throttled to 128 Kbps after 2.5 GB  LTE available
AT&T GoPhone Unlimited $50 3  free unlimited unlimited / $10/mo unlimited Unlimited for feature phones.
No data for smartphones.
Cricket Smart Plan $50  $9.99 unlimited unlimited / unlimited unlimited 2.5 GB 4G, unlimited 2G10  LTE available
GoPhone Smartphone Plan $60  free unlimited unlimited / unlimited unlimited 2.5 GB, overage $10/GB  LTE available
Cricket Smart Plan $60  $9.99 unlimited unlimited / $15/mo unlimited 5 GB 4G, unlimited 2G10  LTE available
NET10 Unlimited $60.00 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / NA unlimited Unlimited, throttled to 128 Kbps after 3.5 GB  LTE available
NET10 Unlimited $75.00 $9.99 unlimited unlimited / NA unlimited Unlimited, throttled to 128 Kbps after 5 GB  LTE available
1 Must use a NET10 non-smartphone
2 AT&T charges an E911 fee of up to $1.50/month in some states
3 1¢ per 5 KB data is not available to smartphone users, unused data in $5 add-on package rolls over if another package is added before expiration.
4 Must use a Straight Talk non-smartphone
5 According to H2O's TOS, the $60 plan's data is throttled after 2GB is used. The $50 plan is throttled after 1GB. Throttled speed is approximately 128 Kbps.. 5¢/MB data overage can only be funded by purchasing a $10 "Feature Card" which can also be used for international text messaging at 10¢/text. Feature Cards expire at end of the plan month.
6 PureTalk Simple Plan minutes do not roll over. Add on minutes are available at $10 for 130 minutes. Unused add on minutes do rollover but are used before plan minutes
7  On the Airvoice $30, $40 and $60 plans, data is cut off after half the data is used. The user has to call  Airvoice and request the second half of the data that they have paid for!
8 Jolt: A 3.5% "convenience" fee is added to all airtime purchases.  Data is cut off after half the included amount is used (500 MB plans are cut off after 250 MB, 1 GB plans after 500 MB and the 3 GB plan stops at  1.5 GB) The user has to call customer support to have the rest of the data released. $40 and $55 international plans include unlimited international calls to 50 countries (list)
9 Non-smartphones and BYOP SIMs only.
10 4G LTE throttled to 8 Mbps, HSPA throttled to 4 Mbps. 2G throttled to 128 Kbps
11 Red Pocket $29.99 plan includes 500 MB of data throttled to 64-128 Kbps. $39.99 - $59.99 plans unlimited data throttled to 64-128 Kbps after 500MB ($39.99 plan). 1GB ($49.99 plan) or 3GB ($59.99 plan)
12 Available with phones and SIMs purchased at Walmart or by calling GoPhone support and requesting "the $45 1GB Walmart plan"
13 Other PureTalk Simple Plan data add-ons: $19.90 300MB, 400 MMS; $29.85 450MB, 600 MMS

International text messaging. International SMS rates on AT&T MVNO monthly plans:
  • Airvoice, AT&T: Monthly plans include unlimited international text messaging.
  • Cricket: $50 and $60 plans include unlimited international texts. International messaging on the $25 and $40  plans requires  a $15 Cricket Passport add-on which provides unlimited SMS and MMS (n MMS on $25 plan) and unlimited calls to landlines in 35 countries and 100 minutes of calling to mobile numbers in 34 countries.
  • Good2Go: 10c/ea. Funded by adding funds in advance using a credit card. Added funds don't expire.
  • H2O: unlimited incoming and 100 free outgoing international SMS/per month then,10¢/ea, funded with $10 feature card which expires after 30 days.
  • Jolt: unlimited incoming and 100 free outgoing international SMS included with $40, $55 and $60 plans. Additional messages 10¢/each, funded with a $10 Feature card that doesn't expire as long as the account stays active
  • PureTalk, NET10 and StraightTalk:  International SMS are not available on monthly plans.
  • RedPocket: unlimited incoming and 40 free outgoing international SMS/per month then10¢/ea, funded using PAYGO refills which do expire: $10, 30 day expiration; $25, 90 day expiration
Most of the MVNOs have pay as you go plans as well. The table below compares them. With a lower monthly cost and cheaper per use SMS than AT&T's own pay as you go plans they can be a good choice for light users.

PlanMinimum Monthly Cost Voice SMS Domestic / Int'l MMS Data
Air Voice Pay as you Go $3.33 3 $0.08-$0.10 $0.10 / $0.10 $0.10 6.6¢/MB
Jolt Mobile $3.33 5 $0.10 $0.10 / $0.10 $0.10 6.6¢/MB
Red Pocket Mobile $8.33 $0.10 $0.10 / $0.10 $0.10 10¢/MB
AT&T $8.33 1 $0.10 $0.20 / $0.25 4
200 - $4.99,
1000 - $9.99,
unlimited - $19.99
$0.25 each 4
200 - $4.99,
1000 - $9.99,
unlimited - $19.99
1¢ per 5 KB ($2/MB) 2
H2O Minute $3.33 $0.05 $0.05 / $0.10 $0.10 10¢/MB
Air Voice $10 Plan $10.00 $0.04 $0.02 / $0.10 $0.10 6.6¢/MB
PureTalk USA Flex Plan $10.00 $0.035-$0.077 $0.033 / NA $10/mo for 200 MMS & 150 MB $10/mo for 200 MMS & 150 MB 6
Jolt Talk & Text $15.00 $0.06 $0.02 / $0.10 $0.10 6.6¢/MB
good2Go $20.00 $0.05 $0.05 / $0.10 N/A N/A
1 AT&T deducts up to $1.50/month for an E911 fee in some states
2 AT&T: 1¢ per 5 KB data is not available to smartphone users
Airvoice: A $1.00 maintenance fee is deducted from your balance every month.
4 AT&T Messaging Packages available: 200 - $4.99, 1000 - $9.99, unlimited - $19.99. Packages cover domestic SMS and MMS.
5 Jolt: A 3.5% "convenience" fee is added to all airtime purchases.  A $1 maintenance fee plus a 99¢/e911 is deducted from your balance every month.
6 PureTalk add on data rolls over and does not expire

Updated 8-Aug-2014: Red Pocket plan changes.


260 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. great comparison, more people should know about this

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really an excellent overview, have you written or are you considering writing similar articles on other networks' MVNOs?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Be careful of the H2O "Unlimited" plan, its very limited to 5000 minutes a and 5000 texts a month.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Do these 5 companies each require you to buy their own phones to use on their network? Can I use my own unlocked GSM phone?

    ReplyDelete
  5. You can use any phone that works with AT&T including AT&T locked phones and all unlocked GSM phones that support the 800 and 1900 MHz bands.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've got an at&t branded Samsung Focus S with Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). Would these MVNO's allow the Internet Sharing (tethering) with their data plans?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If tethering works on the Focus S on AT&T it should work on the MVNOs.

      Delete
  7. I had the Pure Talk unlimited talk and text plan and all I had to do was order the sim card for my LG Vue that I had with AT&T. The service wasn't bad at all, it was on the AT&T network. The only thing I really didn't like was that you had to set it up for auto pay from a debit or credit card. All in all the service was good and their CS was also very good when you actually got to talk to someone, I always spoke to someone that spoke english not broken english. Nice and cheap alternative to a contract plan. We live off the beaten path and always had good service, never had any dropped calls.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pure Talk is good but they don't offer data on pay as you go.

      Delete
  8. No mention of StraightTalk? Buy a SIM card from StraightTalk for $15 and specify an AT&T phone during signup. $45+tax Unlimited EVERYTHING using AT&T towers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Straight Talk is a great deal but is kind of a special case as they are at least 20 times bigger than any of these MVNOs and aren't an AT&T only MVNO.

      I've covered Straight Talk extensively in a dozen or so posts on Prepaid Phone News and didn't feel the need to repeat that information here.

      BTW, Straight Talk's data isn't truly unlimited (nobody's is) They will throttle you or terminate your service if you use much more than 100 MB/day or 2 GB/month.

      Delete
    2. They have recently lightened up on this. I used well over 3GB of data and still had HSPA+ and didn't get throttled or shut off. It's a case by case basis. If you do get throttled, just call and they will reset it for you, no questions asked.

      Delete
    3. Not so sure about that. I used to call in for customers every once in awhile to fix data connectivity. Policy has changed and they won't even touch the settings else they can get fired for it. This might change the future but at this time all straight talk att customers are at the mercy of att throttling.

      Delete
  9. Page Plus is great and they the run on Verizon's network!

    ReplyDelete
  10. So, what's that got to do with Att mvnos?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I want to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note, but am undecided between the intl version (N7000) or the US AT&T version i717. The intl version is (in my opinion) a better phone for several reasons: Dual-core 1.4 Ghz Exynos processor vs the 1.5Ghz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon, the Maili GPU, the physical home button on the bottom front of the phone, no AT&T junk, and the FM radio. I have read that it will definately work with HSPA+ on Straight Talk. But no support for T-Mobile 3G data or 4G LTE. Also, it is is my understanding that this intl version will come with no US warranty. Thus I am leaning towards the US version i717 due to the warranty and the 4G capability with...? My understanding is that if I get the US version, I must get one of the MVNOs mentioned in your post above, specifically people in my area (Miami, FL) are recommending H2O. I would prefer to go with Straight Talk but am not sure it will get anything more than 2G GSM. My question is which phone version and which carrier should I get that will give me a decent US warranty and 4G? Thank you for your help. Your posts have been very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both the AT&T and International Notes will get HSPA+ on any AT&T MVNO including Straight Talk or H20. They will both also work on AT&T's pricey prepaid

      HSPA+ is what T-Mobile's 4G is and what AT&T used to call 4G until they got LTE. No prepaid operator offers LTE at this time.

      Delete
    2. I am not certain where you are getting your data from but the Qualcomm processor simply blows the Samsung Exynos processor away. Samsung has a history of slow, unreliable, faulty procesors. The Exynos line in particular has problems with over heating and excessive power consumption. Unable to match the processing power of chips from Qualcomm or Texas Instruments, Samsung is dialing up the speed in their chips ( a manufacturer version of overclocking ) to unsafe levels in an attempt to maintain some form of parity with the competition. You will notice even Samsung has not used their own chips in most of their smart phones over the last several years. Nvidia is almost as bad. This is why I prefer to buy a phone with a T.I or Qualcomm processor although I expect Intel's new mobile device processors to be very strong. If you want integrated LTE you can forget all the current Samsung processors as well.

      Delete
    3. AT&T still calls them both 4G because they are. One is called "Nationwide 4G" and the other is "4G LTE"

      Delete
    4. True, 4G has become a meaningless marketing term.

      Delete
  12. I'm sorry but I am still a bit confused. So I could buy the Intl version or the AT&T version and use either one with Straight Talk or H2O? The company I wish to by the AT&T version is telling me that "While we can guarantee that
    the device will work with Straight Talk's GSM
    frequencies, we cannot
    guarantee that it will work with their 3G/data
    frequencies as Straight
    Talk uses T-Mobile's 3G network which requires the
    use of the 1700MHz
    band" I am interpreting this to mean that if I get Straight Talk with the AT&T Note I may not get HSPA+. But it seems you are saying otherwise. I am misinterpreting something. Bottom line is I want to buy the AT&T US version Note phone from an ebay seller named devices_now_inc with a 98.3% positive feedback from 4768 people, so they seem reputable, but I don't want any problems once I receive the phone. The phone is a great price at $499.77, best I have found for Intl or AT&T version. They say they will include a sales invoice in the box for proof of purchase. What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you buy a SIM from Straight Talk you have a choice of an AT&T SIM, a T-Mobile SIM or a "SIM for unlocked phones".

      For the Galaxy Note (either version) you need to buy the Straight Talk AT&T SIM which will work for 3G provided you are in a location where AT&T provides 3G.

      Straight Talk's answer doesn't make much sense unless they though you were asking about the Straight Talk T-Mobile SIM.

      The eBay seller you mentioned looks OK to me.

      Delete
  13. The quote I gave you was from the ebay seller of the phone not Straight Talk. Sorry for any confusion. The ebay seller told me today that the AT&T Note will work fine on Straight Talk ie. 3G, in a location where AT&T provides 3G, just like you said. I live in Miami and AT&T provides 3G here. Ok, so I will buy the AT&T version of the Note from this ebay seller as he also assures me that a receipt and warranty card will be in the box. So of all the MVNOs which do you recommend I use with this phone? I'm not married to any one of them. I thought Straight Talk was really good, but upon more investigation, H20 seems good as well. I called their customer support and they told me exactly what I need to do to transfer my current cell number from T-Mobile to H20. I understand Straight Talk has poor customer service, but their webiste directions seem very clear. H2O is offering a special $50 plan with 500mb internet and 1000 free minutes intl calling (which I won't use except for Canada). Stores in Miami who sell the AT&T Note all say to use it on H20, but I don't trust anything they say!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never used H2O but I hear more complaints about them than any other MVNO. Maybe they have gotten better lately but they have a bad reputation for poor customer support and cancelling accounts with no refunds for using too many of their "unlimited" voice minutes and texts.

      Straight talk support has problems too but they are many times larger than H2O and seem to generate fewer complaints. You also get more data for less money with Straight Talk than H2O.

      The beauty of prepaid, especially with AT&T MVNOs, is that there are lots of choices. If one MVNO isn't working for you can switch to another relatively easily.

      Delete
  14. OK, thanks for the tips. I think I'll start with Straight Talk since you do get more data for less money from them. I'm sorry for the basic question, but how do I switch all of my stored phone numbers from a SIM purchased at Straight Talk (for example) to a SIM purchased at another MVNO? Thank you again for all of your help and advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On Androi, contacts are stored in phone memory not on the SIM by default. So your contacts will still be there if change SIMs.

      Also, on Android contacts are synced to your Google account. So if you ever lose them, they will be restored as soon as you log into Google.

      Delete
  15. Ok, great! Do I need to disable or uninstall any carrier specific or branded applications that may be on the Samsung Galaxy Note i717? I'll let you know how it all goes. Thanks again for your wonderful information!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All you need to do is change the data access point settings to the ones shown on the card that comes with the Straight Talk SIM.

      Delete
  16. Yes. I have all of the APN settings for AT&T from the Straight Talk website and the ebay seller gives a nice explaination of exactly how to change the settings with the phone on his ebay listing. I will order the phone tomorrow and try to swing by Walmart to buy the Straight Talk card. I'll let you know how it all works out once I get it all set up. Thank you again. You have helped me out tremendously!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you so much Yeswap for this fantastic article!!! Right now i was worried about losing my att contract but these prices are so fantastic!!! You have gave me and my iphone 4 great hope!!! THANK YOU!!! Please keep up the great work:)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Straight talk is a scam. They called me in the middle of the night, like 3am, and told me that I used over a 100mb that day. I was startled to death, confused like something bad happened to family or something. It was really disturbing. I didnt even use over 1gb for that month. I just happen to watch a few videos on youtube that day. Then they startle the hell out of me for using 112mb. Give me a break. I cut them off. Someone should sue them for false advertisement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you read their Terms of Service, they tell you that prohibited uses include streaming audio and video.

      The agreement says you can use it for checking email, surfing the internet, accessing corporate intranets and downloading songs or apps. Streaming is out.

      It stinks, but that's what they say.

      Delete
  19. Hi Yeswap,
    out of these five companies, which ones offer auto refill?


    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AT&T, Pure Talk, H2O and Red Pocket offer auto refill. Jolt and Aitvoice don't.

      Delete
  20. Hi Yeswap,
    thanks so much for the informative article. I am moving to the US from the UK in a week and was wondering if I can bring my legally unlocked iphone 3GS with me and buy a SIM from one of these companies, or maybe Straight Talk, and if it will still work? Do I buy an 'unlocked GSM SIM'?
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can use any of the AT&T MVNOs mentioned in the post with an unlocked iPhone. If you go with Straight Talk, order the AT&T SIM. I don't trust the "unlocked" SIM as it could be either a T-Mobile or AT&T SIM and you don't know what you're getting. All Straight Talk BYOD SIMs are unlocked.

      Delete
  21. Does anybody know of a way to turn off balance notifications on H2O?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Yeswap,

    How would start my own MVNO company through ATT or T-MOBILE? I see some opportunity here.

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Starting an MVNO is not for the faint of heart. Start by contacting the business development department at AT&T an/or T-Mobile. A solid business plan and a sizable investment will be required, I've seen estimates of up to a million dollars to launch.

      Delete
  23. Hi Yeswap, how do you turn off balance notifications on H2O minute plan?


    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. H2O won't do it. If you are using an Android phone the free Balance Update / USSD blocker app in the Play Store will block the messages.

      Delete
  24. Can I use an unlocked at&t iphone 4 with the data plan for pure talk or do i need to have the phone unlocked...thanks

    ReplyDelete
  25. can i use a LOCKED at&t iphone 4 with pure talk's data plan or do i need to have the phone unlocked? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, phones locked to AT&T will work on Pure Talk and other AT&T MVMOs without needing to be unlocked.

      Delete
  26. This article helps a lot . The problem for me is that my phone supports 3G on wcdma 900/2100. Do you know if it is possible for me to get 3G support from one mvno (tmobile or att?)? Actually I am now using att prepared plan. On tmicell website, I refilled $100 on my att account by just paying $90, tax included. So the $50+ att unlimited prepaid plan actually costs me $45 per month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 900 and 2100 Mhz are not used for 3G in the US, only 850 and 1990 (AT&T) or 1700 and soon 1900 (T-Mobile).

      Delete
  27. Yeswap...how come you know so much? Also which MVMO company do you personally use?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use PlatinumTel, Boost, T-Mobile and Page Plus.

      Delete
  28. Hi Yeswap,
    T-Mobile and sprint are generally cheaper than verizon and att. Why is that, is it just because verizon and att are bigger companies? do sprint and tmobile customers miss out on anything besides rollover and mobile to mobile? also, why is sprint native coverage the smallest of the four, even smaller than tmobile when tmobile is the smaller company? Is there a particular reasoning to this? also, how are tmobile's data speeds in the foster city, CA and san mateo, CA (around 30 minutes away from san francisco)areas compared to AT&T? how are sprint and verizon's data speeds in foster city and san mateo? I know that ATT and Verizon have lte here now, right? Thank you very much yeswap you are awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Verizon and AT&T are able to charge more because they have larger networks and are seen as the market leaders.

      Sprint native coverage actually about the same size as T-Mobile's. AT&T and Verizon have larger networks because they are older and were able get much of the available spectrum first. They also have more funds for acquiring small regional carriers.

      I'm not aware of any comparative speed test results for Foster City and San Mateo. If I'd had to guess I think T-Mobile would be the fastest followed by AT&T, Verizon and Sprint in that order. Verizon and AT&T's LTE is not available to prepaid users. Sprints WiMAX is as fast as T-Mobile's HSPA+ but there are big gaps in WiMAX coverage.

      Delete
    2. Make absolutely sure you can get a signal in the area you plan on using Sprint or T-mobile. At&t and Verizon are the only ones that work at my house, but I can drive a block from it and get all of them. I have a Sprint phone from work that is basically a paper weight in most of the area.

      Delete
  29. Hi Yeswap,

    Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge on the subject with the ignorant masses like myself!

    I am in many ways a minimalist and as such am interested in a European model Samsung, (GT-B2710), for basic talk and text usage only. I have located new ones from a couple of differrent U.S. sellers on E-Bay at a reasonable price. Once company ,NPS in Utah, doesn't know whether their phones are unlocked or not since they only buy random wholesale lots of electronics for resale. The other company describes their phones as "carrier specific to Cincinatti Bell", which I assume means locked. If either of these are actually locked versions, could I still use them for AT&T, Jolt, etc.... by simply installing the SIM, or would they need to be unlocked first?

    I have found numerous offerings that are definitely unlocked, but they are in the $120 range as compared to $80 for the possibly locked phones previously mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it's not sold as unlocked, the phone is almost certainly locked. A phone locked to Cincinatti Bell would need to be unlocked to use a AT&T, Jolt or other AT&T MVNOs SIM. I recommend buying an unlocked phone or one locked to AT&T.

      Delete
  30. Thanks for your excellent website and great info.

    Thoughts on consumer cellular (as they have in the news recently from consumer reports)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no personal experience with Consumer Cellular. They apparently to have an excellent reputation for customer service but prices seem really high. Might be a good choice to someone who values quality service and is willing to pay for it.

      Delete
    2. Their prices improved recently and are reasonable now, IMO.

      They have low-cost data options with their pay-go plans. You cannot get data with PureTalk Flex,
      and Consumer data rates are much less than H20, AirVoice and Red Pocket. This makes Consumer a good option for locked GSM iPhones or other AT&T locked devices for data use.

      PureTalk also has good customer service, in my experience.

      Delete
    3. $45 for 150-4000-1GB on Consumer Cellular will work well for some people who want good customer service.

      Delete
  31. PureTalk Flex plan ($10 Base plan or higher) price for sms is 3.3c, not 5c.

    ReplyDelete
  32. PureTalk Flex plan voice rates now range from 4.4-7.7c/min, not 7-10c.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up. I've updated the post.

      Delete
  33. H20 minute plan has a minimum monthly avg charge of $8.33 if you spend $100 for a year.

    ReplyDelete
  34. PureTalk plans are autopay only, with a credit card. Their eBill options just change whether and how you get a receipt:
    None, Email, Text, Email and Text.

    When you need more minutes in the middle of a billing cycle on the Flex Plan, you pay a lower rate. EG, 195 min for $10, vs. 130 min. You might as well set the higher $20 Flex limit in advance, since you pay the same price for the same total minutes, 325. These minutes roll over every month when you pay.
    If your credit card is refused, you do not lose your minutes when your account is suspended (you might not know your charge did not go through if you decide not to get an eBill - they would not contact you under this option). You get your minute balance back when you make your next payment.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Have you ever done a comparison of T-Mobile MVNO's?


    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  36. Oddly enough, this doesn't cover straighttalk, which does $45/month for unlimited voice, text and data. Their customer support is moderate to bad, but T-mobile is the only company where I'd rate CS as good, anyway. Only problem with ST is that it doesn't handle MMS on all phones (iPhones have to jailbreak or follow some directions that are pretty complicated, and which I haven't tried, since my phone is jailbroken, and also I don't use MMS anyway).

    But I've been using them for a month so far, and it's been fine. And unlimited everything for $45 is pretty fine.

    Note that some folks have reported being throttled after about 3 GB in a month. I can't say much about that, since I can't get my usage that high anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Stay away from StraightTalk $45 "Unlimited" talk, text and web. It's bogus and fraud! They throttle the data to not even 5mb. And after the 1st month it was throttled, it didn't restore the following month. I did not need data anyway so I wanted to downgrade to the $30 plan for calls and texting only but I couldn't. I wasted 3 months paying $45 for calls and texting only. I finally switched to H20 $30 calls and text only plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true that Straight Talk will throttle you if you use over 2 GB in a month. Once you're throttled you do need to contact them to get speeds restored. It's not ideal but no one else gives you unlimited voice and messaging and 2 GB/month for $45 month, especially not on AT&T.

      Delete
  38. What about the net10 unlimited for $50? Do they throttle you like straight talk? and are you restricted from streaming too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NET10 and Straight Talk are the same company, same terms of service, same policies.

      Delete
  39. AirVoice has added 100 International SMS and unlimited incoming International SMS and MMS to its $35 and up monthly plans.

    ReplyDelete
  40. AirVoice also includes $10 worth of International long distance to its $35 and up monthly plans.

    ReplyDelete
  41. It seems that Straight Talk has taken there "AT&T Compatible" sim card option off the website and just has the "T-Mobile Compatible" sim card option. Am I missing something?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's correct. Story here: AT&T SIMs Gone From Straight Talk Site, Possibly Discontinued The AT&T Straight Talk SIMs are still available Walmart.com

      Delete
  42. I have a question. I have a SGH-i747 (ATT Samsung GS3). I'm currently with Simple MObile. I want to go with a ATT MVNO ofcourse to get the best out of my phone. I need 4g or H+ speeds and 1GB data. Need by bill to be $50/under. Any recommendations? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only AT&T MVNOs that meet your requirements are Straight Talk and NET10.

      Delete
  43. Edits for your Table for AT&T monthly plans:

    1. AT&T Unlimited plans should use footnote ***, not ****
    2. You could add the data overage rate of 5c/mb for the $65 AT&T smartphone plan. This is from the AT&T GoPhone Terms, http://www.att.com/shop/legalterms.html?toskey=prepaidPlanTerms&
    3. The AT&T $25/mo. plan can be renewed early to provide additional talk minutes (extra 83c/day for each 'early' day). This might be worth a *note.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome.
      One other tip for AT&T:
      The data options for $25 and $50 plans carry over for another 30 day period if you have not used all the data and then renew the plan.
      E.G., if you need 500mb per month, you would pay an average of $37.50 and $62.50, respectively, over 2 months.

      Delete
    2. I believe note *** under monthly plans should state that >unused< data rolls over if a new plan is added before expiration.

      Delete
  44. When changing over from AT&T to one of these MVNOs, would you expect the same quality signal and technology as AT&T? Or does AT&T somehow limit what is made available to MVNOs? For example, I would like to buy an iPhone 5, but would hope that all technology available to me as an AT&T customer would be available to me as a customer of one of these MVNOs, say Red Pocket, Consumer Cellular or TracFone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You won't get LTE with any of the AT&T MVNOs.

      I've seen reports by users that their data speeds were throttled unexpectedly on Straight Talk, NET10, Airvoice and H2O. I've personally experienced throttling on Red Pocket. The throttle usually gets fixed when you call in and complain but it seems like either AT&T or the MVNO is turning the throttle on to see if the user notices.

      Delete
  45. I've been using an iPhone 5 with straight talk for 3 months now, I'm a moderate to heavy data user and haven't received and calls although I've noticed some throttling by the end of the service month. It's usually restored after refill. Average speeds for HSPA+ 4.5mb down 1mb up. Which works for me. For $45 a month it's a pretty good deal. Can't beat that price. Only thing that sucks is mms but I was able to make it work with the sim swap method until the iOS 6 jailbreak came out.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Does anyone know whether the AT&T gophone data add-on will roll over as many months as it takes to use up the data, if you renew the $25 plan before it expired each month?
    For example, if you buy 1GB and use 100mb/month, would it last 10 months?
    This would mean the $25 plan with 100mb data would cost $27.50/month (plus any taxes and fees).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Data only rolls over if you add another data add-on before the current one expires. You can use any denomination of add-on to trigger rollover. The best strategy for light use is to start with a $25 add-on and then add a $5 one every 30 days until you run low on data and then add another $25 one.

      Delete
    2. Thanks! So in my example of 100mb/month, the original $25, 1gb add-on would last 20 months (1gb/50mb), and the average monthly plan cost would be $$31.25: $25 plan +$1.25(50mb) +$5 new add-on (50mb).

      I think $25 GoPhone is the lowest cost 250 minute plan on AT&T, when 100mb of data is used under your strategy.
      GoPhone should be the same price as the AirVoice $35 monthly plan when you use 287 minutes, assuming you ran out of the 250 minutes and renewed the monthly plan early. Fees could affect this comparison.

      Delete
  47. Hi Yeswap,
    Which ATT prepaid service allows you to choose your own number?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only was to choose your own number is to transfer one you already have. They will all let you do that if your number can be ported.

      Delete
  48. Two Questions about Airvoice because looking at switching my iPhone to the $40 plan (unlimited voice, unlimited text, 500MB data).

    1. is Airvoice on 3G?

    2. would balance notifications be off for this $40 plan? would think there would be no balance notification for the unlimited voice and unlimited text. but wondering if my iPhone would be constantly beeping since the data is only up to 500MB on the $40 plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Yes, Airvoice offers 3G service. Depending on your iPhone, you may also get faster service that AT&T calls 4G.
      2. Your iPhone will beep when you get email or messages unless you turn cellular data off or change notification volume to Off. Once you run out of 500mb, it would stop beeping unless you were on WiFi. You can buy more data if you run out, but it is very expensive, 33c/mb. You will usually be better off to call and ask them to restart your monthly plan early (+$1.33/day you renewed early).

      Delete
    2. I'm pretty sure the USSD messages notifying you of data used are only on the Airvoice pay as yo go and $10 monthly plans, not the unlimited ones.

      Delete
  49. So I'm considering going with Net10's AT&T sim to use in my Droid DNA. I read about the new 1.5gb hard cap. By hard cap does that mean no overages? If I burn up 1.5gb, then I just have no data til the next billing cycle but still have unlimited minutes and SMS/MMS? As a side note, how is the coverage of Net10 (AT&T)? Their site just has a default stock image coverage map. How comparable is it to AT&T postpaid? How is domestic data roaming handled? Does it eat up the same 1.5gb or does it have a small cap solely on domestic roaming?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The hard cap means no overages, when you hit 1.5 GB data is disabled until your next plan month starts. SMS will still work w/o data but MMS won't. NET10 AT&T coverage is similar to AT&T postpaid.

      Officially, there's no data roaming, but sometimes it works anyway. As there isn't supposed to be any roaming data there's no published information on its cap. I suspect that if you use enough roaming data to be noticeable to Straight Talk or the carrier you are roaming on it they will cut it off.

      Delete
  50. So I read NET10's terms and conditions about using data and one part confuses me:
    The NET10 Unlimited Plan MAY NOT be used for any other purpose. Examples of prohibited uses include...(iii) uploading, downloading or streaming of audio or video programming or games...

    So I wouldn't be able to watch Netflix or YouTube or download apps??? What is the point?

    And furthermore, it doesn't look like Netflix supports BYOD plans or sell SIM-cards only, so how would I be able to use my smartphone?

    I already have AT&T, but I really don't like paying almost $90 for service when I could pay $60 for the same service.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TOS are CWA documents, Net10's also says they can terminate your service at any time for any reason. Other carrier's TOS contain similar clauses. The worst that actually happens to TOS violators on Net10 is throttling for the remained of the plan month. You are unlikely to get throttled for downloading apps or a little streaming provided you keep total data usage under 100 MB/day, 1.5 GB/month on AT&T SIMs. The limits are much higher with Net10 T-Mobile SIMs.

      Net10 T-Mobile SIM cards are available from Net10. Net10 has discontinued the sale of AT&T SIM cards in most markets but they are still available inexpensively from Amazon and eBay.

      Delete
  51. So my question is this. Which AT&T MVNO has the FASTEST DATA? Do anyone of the AT&T MVNO's use the new LTE or just the HSPA+? I am ready to buy an unlocked phone and port my number over to an AT&T MVNO.

    Which MVNO would YOU GO WITH?

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AT&T LTE is not available from any MVNO. HSPA+ speeds should be the same across all of the AT&T MVNOS.

      Net 10 is the best value but customer support is poor with long hold times and there seem to be more issues with botched provisioning and lost numbers with them. Airvoice and Red Pocket cosr more but have better support, fewer issues.

      Delete
  52. I have several questions and really feel that you might be the person that can help me. I purchased the GS3 from Sprint on black Friday, nothing but issues. Sprint sent Airwave, then offered to let me outta contract (Unheard of I thought due to new phones with contracts for 2 more yrs) I have had 4 months to try and figure out what is the best solution for me and other members on plan I pay for. I purchases the Iphone 5 and airtime from Wal-Mart after researching and really feeling that this plan was best, after 1 1/2 hrs and speaking to 3 CS found out that on March 1st that they would shut off data after 1.5mb..not great for someone that had just spent $1500. Wal-Mart took all back!!! Yippee!! but..back to trying to figure out what to do now? I've spent countless hours on XDA, and Howard forums, Wiki, from trying to figure out if I should unlock my phones with CDMA (I meet all criteria in order to obtain unlock LEGALLY!) BUT..which MNVO would be best? I know Verizon and ATT are strong in my area, Kingston Ga 30145. I have come to the conclusion that the more information that I find the more confused I become. I have a very broad spectrum of what I need from the company. I currently have 3 lines on Sprint pay $170, 2 smart phones, 1 basic, with 23% discount. Problem, no service for myself and having to use WiFi to get most out of phone, the basic phone is my father in law who roughly uses 120 minutes and thats it, a 19yr old that has rooted and now receives no data or mms off of Sprints network, and my 11yr old that has Virgin mobile.
    I have spent so many days and nights trying to figure out where, how, which company, which phone, where to get phone, do I unlock or buy unlocked, if its unlocked will the MVNO accept, if I unlock will I brick or overclock??? I just want someone to help me see through the mess. I did look at Wiki's list of all MVNO's and researched several but still lost. EVERY TIME I think I have it figured out, and think MVNO is the way to go...by the time I calculate it I'm over $200, cept Page plus. I know this isn't all related to your topic, but I have seen you on some many blogs, forums, and topics that I know that you have the information and can guide me where I am not getting cursed at for being a noob, or walking into a carrier and knowing more than they do..PLEASE HELP!! The GS3 is mine to keep, I have 2 EVO's 4 G (1 clean ESN, 1 not)all Sprint, and a Kyocera Rise (11yr old VM.)Price is #1, Coverage, Phone options, Customer Service. Thank you!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you have a bunch of Sprint phones and poor Sprint coverage. It's possible to flash the Sprint phones to work on a Verizon MVNO like PagePlus or TalkForGood but the process is difficult. It would probably be best to have the phones flashed professionally if you can find a local shop who can do it and offers a money back guarantee. Or sell the Sprint phones and get Verizon 3G ones that will work on PagePlus or TalkForGood.

      Incidentally, their is no 1.5 GB cap on StraightTalk's Verizon based phones, including the iPhone 5. The cap only applies to StraighTalk AT&T based phones. StraightTalk's support is pretty bad and feeding customers misinformation is common. If you can live with the support issues, a Verizon based StraightTalk phone will provide the best value.

      Delete
  53. Could you point me in the right direction, to TalkForGood phones? I'm still somewhat confused on exactly how to decide which phones if brought work on which network. Straight Talk is pretty clear. I'm curious if I have access to Verizon's Iphone4 or 4's, if they would work without doing anything. Do I just have to call and have the carrier check the ESN? I apologize for all the questions. I like TalkForGood more than Page Plus. I have stronger ATT towers than any other network, which is the reason I was reading this topic. Do you know which phones are the best on those carriers? I am not worried about 2 out of the 4 people. Thank you again!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TalkForGood accepts any clean ESN Verizon phone that's not an LTE or prepaid device. An iPhone 4 or 4S would work. You can check an ESN by calling Verizon. I imagine calling TalkForGood would work too.

      In my opinion,the best AT&T MVNOs for customer support are Airvoice, PureTalkUSA and Red Pocket. The best values are NET10 and RedPocket's $55 plan. Any clean IMEI AT&T or unlocked GSM phone should work on any AT&T MVNO.

      Delete
  54. Thank you! That was very clear and to the point. I believe that stacking the different options from the MVNO's even if different carriers is going to be my best option. With the information you gave me I have a better understanding of where and what device will work. The only other questions that I would love to know is where to find credible resources without all the code language to rooting. You seem to break things down without confusion, do you already have sites with this information? Again, Thank you!!! I actually am a huge fan of Sprints customer service, but drop calls, no data, and only 1 out of 3 using anything claimed unlimited isn't worth it. I don't know why I am so scared of MVNO's..society I imagine, if it isn't a huge marketing scheme pushing it, then it must be no good. I appreciate you taking the time to explain which company offers customer service!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looking at the Pay as you go chart, which carrier might I get a SIM locally for (besides ATAT). I'm in a bit of a rush.
      Josh

      Delete
    2. SIMs for GSM MVNOs are often available through local indepent mobile phone dealers. Try Googling MVNO Name Zip Code to find dealers. If you aren't limited to AT&T based services, T-Mobile stores have SIMs.

      Delete
  55. Do all at&t mvno get same coverage meaning hspa+?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Does puretalkusa have hspa+

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hi Dennis,
    I just spoke to an AT&T rep over the phone, and he said that most of AT&T's prepaid customers receive recycled phone numbers that have already been used. I'm wondering if this is really the case? Also, If I were to go to an AT&t store or a authorized reseller like RadioShack, do you think that they would be able to offer me a phone number from the postpaid list? And if worse comes to worst, should i get a phone number from a different phone company to port? I know that verizon uses the same bucket of numbers for both prepaid and postpaid. I'm not sure what to do, becuase I sick and tired of receiving previous owner's phone calls. If I were to buy another phone just to get a phone number, which do you think would be best for not getting a recycled number. I also want to be able to choose my phone number, to make sure that it is simple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe most newly assigned phone numbers, whether prepaid, postpaid or landline, are recycled. I think that PagePlus dealer Kitty Wireless lets you request a number by area code and prefix and also lets you try again if you don't like the number assigned. Kitty is currently running a free activation special.

      Your best bet might be a Google Voice number. When I signed up for Google Voice several years ago they let you pick from many different numbers. I don't know if they still do. Google Voice also lets you block unwanted callers.

      Delete
  58. Hi Dennis,
    I noticed that Red Pocket and H2O both offer $30 unlimited talk/text plans. Are there any other companies that offer the same plan for the same price? Which AT&T mvno would you recommend out of all that have this plan? Are some of these mvnos better than others?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Airvoice and Jolt have $30 Talk and Text plans. I prefer Airvoice but Jolt and RedPocket are good too. The only real differences are CS quality (H2O is the worst although they are supposed to be getting better) and the availability of discounted top ups (3-5% off Airvoice, RedPocket and H2O at Callingmart.

      Delete
  59. sorry if you already answered the question I'm asking. try to read every comments but I may have missed it :)

    anyway, you mentioned in your response previously that you like the customer service from Airvoice, PureTalkUSA and Red Pocket.

    How would rate the customer service of TalkForGood, joltMobile and h2oWireless as compared to Airvoice, PureTalkUSA and Red Pocket ?

    As a minimum usage user and NO DATA usage at all, which plan of the service provider you recommend ?

    I'm choosing between:

    1) AirVoice $10 Monthly 250 minutes
    2) TalkForGood $10 Monthly 175 minutes
    3) Pure Talk $10 Monthly 130 minutes

    I guess it comes down to who has excellent reliability and best customer service.

    Also, on all 3 service providers I can use "ATT" phones. Right ?

    Could I even use an old Samsung Blackjack II for the plans and service provider I mentioned ?

    I really do not use the phone that much anymore and I might even opt in using Airvoice Pay as You Go $10 for 100 minutes that has a 90 day expiration.

    Any insights or recommendation is highly appreciated.

    Kind Regards.....

    ReplyDelete
  60. I haven't used TalkForGood, Jolt or H2O Wireles personally or sampled their CS.

    H2O has reputation for long hold times and rude and unhelpful support personnel. I've heard they've gotten a little better lately.

    TalkForGood and Jolt are generally considered to have better than average CS.

    TalkForGood is a Verizon MVNO, AT&T phones including the Blackjack II will not work on TalkForGood. AirVoice and Jolt are AT&T MVNOs so any AT&T phone should. work.

    For light usage on the AT&T network, Airvoice would be my pick

    ReplyDelete
  61. thanks for the quick reply. much appreciated. one follow-up question if you don't mind.

    I was just looking at Kitty Wireless / Page Plus. The $25 Pay as you go Refills of 400 minutes is very interesting because of the 120 days expiration.

    Kitty Wireless / Page Plus is a Verizon MVNO. Right ? If that is the case then any Verizon Phone should work ?

    Do you have any experience with their customer service ? either Kitty Wireless or PagePlus ?

    How would you rate Kitty Wireless / Pageplus compared to AirVoice ?

    Kind Regards.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can tell you from experience that Kitty wireless, who is a page plus dealer, has excellent customer service. Yes, Page Plus uses the Verizon network. However, Page Plus has just recently been acquired by Tracphone and the future is a little uncertain at this point. You can use any Verizon feature or 3G smart phone. Dennis may chime in hear but I hope that helps in the mean time.

      Delete
    2. Page Plus is a Verizon MVNO. You can use any Verizon phone except for ones sold for use on Verizon prepaid.

      Verizon non-LTE phones activate as easily on PagePlus as they do on Verizon itself.

      Verizon LTE phones require complex manual programming and some like the Galaxy Nexus can't currently be programmed for PagePlus.

      PagePlus says they don't allow iPhones by non-LTE iPhones reportedly do work.

      PagePlus support is US based and generally pretty good particularly when using the online chat option. PagePlus is in the process of being acquired by Tracfone. I expect support quality will be deteriorate sharply over the next 12 - 18 months

      Kitty Wireless support is by email only but is excellent, particularly when solving problems. They do charge for services like activation and ESN (phone) changes that are available for free directly from PagePlus. The Kitty Wireless guaranteed auto-refill program is free, reliable and convenient. As PagePlus support deteriorates under Tracfone, using Kitty Wireless should help protect users from Tracfone's incompetence.

      Delete
    3. I use both AirVoice and Kitty Wireless. They are both excellent, but different, and you need CS more with CDMA phones. AirVoice support usually picks up within 5 min, but this can stretch to 10 or more during busy times. Their reps in MI are very well trained, and can do anything, from my experience. They do not read from scripts. With GSM, you may have to talk to them when you check on a port-in you requested on their web form, turn on data with prepaid, renew the $10/month plan early, switch plans, need data service reset or have your phone lost or stolen and need to activate a new SIM card right away. AirVoice support is NOT 24/7. They now have Autopay, but you cannot use it to renew the $10 plan early, only monthly. You can add money to your account online.

      Kitty Wireless provides support via email to handle problems, change plans, set up or cancel AutoPay. Kitty has developed software that ties into the PagePlus systems so she also provides CS through automated services. You can port in and activate a new account, like AirVoice's webpage. Since this is CDMA service, Kitty also provides the automation to: activate a phone on a line, swap a new phone onto that line, swap a temporary phone serial no. onto a line to free a phone for use elsewhere, swap two phones between two lines, and request a 'Kitty Call' to Pageplus to resolve an issue that Pageplus CS could not fix. This saves you waiting on hold for Pageplus CS, and her automated services work very fast in my experience. Pageplus CS can keep you waiting 10-20 minutes, I find. Once you get them (in OH), they are very good; almost all are well-trained. Since there is more of a need for CS with CDMA, Kitty provides a convenient way to get things done. The automation generally works 24/7, and as long as the Pageplus system is up and working, you get what you want. Sometimes a transaction 'sticks' in the Pageplus system and Kitty staff fix it when the check in.
      You can join a 'Kitty Club' to get unlimited services for you, your family and friends at one price of $50. This is cost-effective if you swap phones a lot or help several relatives and friends with Pageplus.
      Kitty also offers 'PIN savings clubs' that give you discounts on Pageplus airtime. These clubs can pay for themselves over time, especially if you buy for family and friends. You cannot give out the club log-on for others to use; you order for others. Other dealers were abusing the Kitty services, so they monitor IP addresses, email, etc. If you do not want to pay for a club, Kitty conducts frequent sales for free or low-cost services. Pageplus plan changes and monthly plan renewals have numerous quirks; they have to be done correctly in ways that are not obvious, and you may need CS more than you expect to resolve the resulting issues and problems.

      Delete
  62. everyone. thank you for the information and support.

    much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  63. one more thing....

    so PagePlus customer service lags behind AirVoice but once you get that hump and got the phone working,

    How would rate the actual phone service reliability and quality of calls of PagePlus on Verizon MVNO as compared to AirVoice on ATT MVNO ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Call quality and service reliability on PagePlus and Airvoce will be identical to that of Verizon and AT&T respectively. In some areas one will be better than the other. It's impossible to generalize, ask locals who use AT&T and Verizon if they are satisfied.

      Delete
  64. Hi Dennis, Have you heard of My Black Wireless or Black Wireless? I have been using T-mobile prepaid which I really like but the reception sucks at my house. I would like unlimited talk, text and data but I have no idea how much I use. I use google maps a lot, get on the web occasionally and download my email and a couple you tubes daily. What level data would be good for me. I'm scared to make the switch. I have an unlocked iphone 4. Could you check out Black Wireless?
    Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know much about Black Wireless. But that they are "powered by Locus Telecom" makes me wary.

      Locus owns H2O Wireless which seems to generate more than its share of complaints for customer support issues (long hold times, rude and unhelpful support reps) and for terminating users for talking or texting too much on "unlimited" plans. H2O's $60 2 GB plan is also reportedly throttled to very slow speeds after 500MB, which is not disclosed on H2Os site.

      Maybe Black is different than H2O but their are better choices among AT&T MVNOs, with Airvoice generally having the best reputation. Airvoice's $35 and $40 plans also offer better value than H2O's $40 plan.

      To determine how much data you use install a data tracker app. I'm not a iOS user but Onavo Count gets good reviews and it's free. Light web surfing and email use very little data and maps aren't too bad either. If you can restrict your YouTube viewing to WiFi 500 MB per month should be more than enough.



      Delete
  65. Jolt still charges a 99c/month 'e911 fee', listed under Other Features on the plan page. After the $1 monthly maintenance fee, you only have $1.34 of your $3.33/month minimum payment for calls, or 13 minutes. 26c/minute!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Dennis: The minimum monthly cost should be $8.33 on the table for H20 prepaid. $100 is good for one year.

    ReplyDelete
  67. PureTalk Flex PayGo rates range from 4.4 to 7.7c/minute depending on the monthly charge, and 3.3c/text. The table shows 5c per minute or text.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've updated the pay as you go table with the correct pricing for H2O and Airvoice. Thanks for the heads up.

      Delete
    2. PureTalk sms should be .033 vs .0033.

      Delete
  68. Sridhara-syama dasaJune 11, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    Dennis - I am buying a Z10 and want to use AT&T network. Amongst other things one important requirement for me is to have the ability to have International SMS capability - preferably on a per text basis. I don't want to shell another $10 just for this ability as my use is very little but I still need to have it.

    Please suggest some AT&T MVNO's who I should consider for my above needs. My data needs are reasonable and about 2 Gigs a month should suffice.

    Please help.

    Hare Krishna

    ReplyDelete
  69. Sridhara-syama dasaJune 11, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    I should add that I would prefer to have unlimited voice minutes too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AT&T GoPhone $25, $50 and $65 plans all include unlimited international text messaging. The $65 and $50 plans also include unlimited domestic voice.

      Note that effective June 20, data will no longer be available on the $50 plan and only the $5/50MB data package will be available on the $25 plan. The $65 plan comes with 1GB of data.

      No AT&T MVNO offers unlimited no extra charge international texting although most T-Mobile MVNOs do.

      Delete
  70. Sridhara-syama dasaJune 11, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Thanks Dennis. That definitely gives me an option. One clarification though - I am NOT looking for "unlimited no extra charge international texting".

    I am perfectly happy to pay for each International Text sent / received.

    With that clarification - do I have any options other than the AT&T GoPhone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pay per use international SMS rates on AT&T MVNO monthly plans:
      Airvoice: 20¢/each, funded using a $10 feature card which doesn't expire as long as the account stays active
      RedPocket: 10¢/ea, funded using PAYGO refills which do expire $10, 30 day expiration; $25, 90 day expiration
      PureTalk: N/A on monthly plans
      Jolt: 100 international SMS included with plans 35 and up. Additional messages 20¢/each, funded with a $10 Feature card that doesn't expire
      Good2Go: 10c/ea. Funded by adding funds in advance using a credit card. Added funds don't expire
      H2O: 15¢/ea, funded with $10 feature card which expires after 30 days.

      Delete
  71. Sridhara-syama dasaJune 12, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Thanks Dennis. I was almost going to go with Good2Go - but then decided to call and confirm with them. According to Customer Support the minimum funds I can add in order to avail of International SMS is $10 - which is fine. The concern however, is that these expire every month too.

    Since my International SMS usage is very low - about 4 or 5 a month this effectively increases the monthly cost for me from $50 to $60.

    Maybe - I will call Airvoice Customer Support and double check with them. Their website howevers says that 100 International SMS are included in all their monthly plans. Maybe you could doublecheck this and then update your datasheet on this page.

    ReplyDelete
  72. is there a way to choose your own number and port that number to the service provider ?

    don't want to port my old number and don't want a new activation random number either.

    regards.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know which, if any operators, give you a choice of numbers. Google Voice did when I signed up a couple of years ago. I don't know if they still do. However, if you end up with a number that gets lots of calls from telemarketers and bill collectors almost all operators will let you change it to a different random number.

      If you are trying to get a "vanity" number that's easy to remember or spells something, companies like my.hostednumbers.com and www.vanitynumbers.com/ will sell you customized numbers.

      Delete
  73. so I activated my phone using PagePlus and the customer service was NOT that bad. I used the support chat to activate my phone and I was up and running in 15 minutes. Prolly I waited like 3 to 5 minutes for chat support to start.

    anyway, I was assigned a new random number BUT the only issue I'm having is that the caller ID that is showing when I tested a call out was most likely the name of the previous owner of the number that was assigned to me.

    according to PagePlus support the number came from Verizon database and they DO NOT have the means of changing that name.

    Is that true ?

    Any ideas on how I can change the caller ID so that my name shows up ?

    for now I had the name withheld and is showing "Private Caller" but I would like my name to show so that friend that I call knows it is me and not some stranger.

    regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If your friends have your number in their contacts your name show show when you call. I don't think any prepaid operator lets you specify a caller ID name.

      Delete
  74. Dennis, I have an unlocked att phone and would like to use it for an emergency backup for the kids to use when we need to contact them. It would be used sparingly and off when my wife and I are home. Whhat are your recommendations? Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If T-Mobile coverage works for you, Lyca pay as you go has the lowest minimum monthly cost and some of the best pay as you go voice and text rates.

      If the AT&T network is a must, Airvoice or H2O, after the Aug 1 price cuts, pay as you have the lowest minimum monthly cost. H2O has better rates, Airvoice has much better customer support.

      Delete
  75. The new AirVoice data rate for PayGo should be 6c/mb, not 10c.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I've updated the post with the new rate.

      Delete
  76. Conusmer Cellular just announced extra minutes and data on its plans:
    http://www.fiercewireless.com/press-releases/consumer-cellular-increases-voice-and-textdata-plans-1-million-customers-wi-0?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

    ReplyDelete
  77. Hello Dennis, I am deciding between Airvoice and H20 wireless. which do you recommend for an unlocked iphone 4s

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Airvoice, much better support and doesn't have H2O's undisclosed throttling after 500 MB.

      Delete
    2. I am using AirVoice in an unlocked iPhone 3S and I am satisfied. CS has been excellent in four calls. No hesitation, well trained, polite, and they do everything right the first time. I am getting the new, lower 6c data rate, and that solved the only negative.

      Delete
  78. Thank you for such a well researched article. I checked air voice and h2o wireless websites.
    Air voice charges 33c/mb for data with pay as you go or the $10/ month plans. Your article doesn't reflect that. It says 6c/ min. Can you please clarify?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Data is 6¢/MB on the $10 and pay as you go plans. The change is recent and the website hasn't been updated. Call Airvoice if you need confirmation.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Dennis. Appreciate that you confirmed.

      Delete
  79. i want an ATT or Tmobile mvno that doesn't charge for roaming on voice/text. What are my options?It is ok,if the service is not available at those instances rather than charge overage on those scenarios.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Off the top of my head the following don't charge for voice/text roaming

      AT&T: Straight Talk, NET10
      T-Mobile: Straight Talk, NET10, Solavei. Also T-Mobile Prepaid and MetroPCS GSM, although they aren't MVNOs

      Delete
    2. If you are calling in the US and it is OK for you to have "service is not available" (no roaming), then you may be able to pick any AT&T or Tmobile MVNO. I have not heard of any MVNOs on these networks that actually charge for roaming, although some terms of service may say they can.
      You can add Truphone to the list of MVNOs that do not charge for roaming. You also get free 2G data roaming on AT&T with Truphone.

      Delete
  80. thx guys. But I see Truphone is a pay as you go. I rather am looking for Unlimited voice,txt with about 500MB of data that I will use it over 2-3 months on a need basis. Does Truphone have similar plans that I am looking at?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Truphone doesn't. Straight Talk or Net10 Unlimited would meet your requirements.

      Delete
  81. Why doesn't Good2Go merit a tab in the side menu titled "News by Carrier?" They seem to offer plans that are competitive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was an oversight. Good2Go link has been added to the sidebar.

      Delete
  82. Do any AT&T MVNOs provide call records? AirVoice and Red Pocket do not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't used them in a while but when I did I think you could view outgoing calls at GoRedPocket.com/checkyouraccount It was just outgoing calls, no incoming or texts.

      Delete
    2. I don't get any call record when I check my account at that Red Pocket link--just my inaccurate account status! Actually, in the last few weeks the expiration date seems to have become accurate, but it still shows me on the wrong plan with the wrong amount of data, but my service seems to be operating normally.

      Delete
  83. I'm trying to decide which one to go with! I'm torn between puretalkusa.com, Aio Wireless or Airvoice! Does anyone have any suggestions? I get great AT&T coverage at my house but no Verizon! And I want to bring my own iphone 3GS! Right now I'm on Straight Talk & only get text & talk, no data or mms even tho I'm paying for it!!! Plus barely a signal at my house!! Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. iPhones are a pain to configure for data and especially MMS on AT&T MVNOs but easy on Aio.

      Delete
    2. I used PureTalk and currently use AirVoice on a iPhone 3GS. Both have very good, US based CS. Both offer 1GB data for $40-$44, a lot less than $55 with Aio. The AirVoice CS gave me very specific directions on the phone for getting data to work, and stayed with me until it did. I did not have to unlock the phone to get data. I did unlock the iPhone later ($5) to get MMS working. You insert a non-AirVoice/PureTalk/ATT sim, enter the MMS setting, then switch back to your regular sim. It takes 5-10 minutes but is not hard. AirVoice will help you if you want. I think either AirVoice or PureTalk would work well for you. PureTalk has online call records; AirVoice does not, so you would have to rely on your iPhone history log.

      Delete
  84. Hi, want to jump ship from Verizon/PagePlusCellular because of Verizon's no 4G phones on prepaid policy. Currently have a 4G Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus that took me a bit of work to get 3g working on. I think i have good ATT coverage in my area. What would be comparable to PPCs $30 1200v/1200t/500mb plan? (looks like $40 is min for ATT MVNO to get my required 200MB+) It seems there are hidden gotchas like throttling at different speeds with each MVNO and different coverage maps. Which one would have the best voice/text coverage including paid roaming(rather have option to pay then no working phone) and good for about 200MB of 3G+(useable occasional map/nav) Your site is really helpfull! was thinking about AIO Wireless with the basic plan and BYOD sim? Assuming has best coverage of MVNOs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Net10 and Straight Talk are the only AT&T MVNOs that have roaming or LTE.

      Delete
    2. If you give up the roaming, AirVoice $30 plan with an extra 100mb for 200 total costs $36.60. Save ~$10 month compared to the others (who charge taxes), and carry a spare tmobile MVNO SIM for the few times you may not get a signal (Lyca balance does not expire if you use it once every 90 days or so).

      Delete
  85. I am confused...if I were to select one of the plans, using 3 gb worth of data would cost me dear $180 (at 6.6 cents per mb). Did I compute correctly? It seems it is better to stay with a postpaid plan for the data usage, yes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are trying to compute the cost of 3GB on Pay as you Go. It would actually cost you $198 for 3GB. You should be looking at the monthly plans table. You can use 3GB of data per month for $55-70, depending on the plan you choose. The $55 Aio plan provides 2GB high speed, and then unlimited low speed. $70 gets you 3GB of high speed data from AT&T GoPhone or Aio.

      Delete
    2. Absolutely not. You can get unlimited minutes/text/data for $45/month on prepaid.
      Take another look at the chart above.

      Delete
  86. I have old iPhone from AT&T. I want to use it only as prepaid for voice calls and texting. I don't need data. Which MVNO would be my best bet ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That depends on how many minutes and texts you need per month. Use the tables in the post to might the most cost effective choice for your needs. For light use that would probably one of Airvoice or H2O's pay as you go plans. For lots of minutes and texts, I recommend the Airvoice $30 Unlimited plan.

      Delete
  87. Typo: Jolt $15 TnT plan rate per minute is 6c, not 60c shown on the table.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Good article on where Consumer Cellular is heading this year; includes subscriber and revenue numbers. They are not prepaid, but have a good family plan with shared data and sms bundles. You can also add an AT&T cellular home phone device and service to the plan.
    http://www.twice.com/articletype/news/consumer-cellular-add-step-smartphones-lte-service/105179

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Consumer Cellular is showing LTE service on their coverage map now.

      Delete
    2. On the Consumer Cellular Family Plan all members can call each other at no cost. That helps keep you in a less expensive voice tier.

      Delete
  89. My LG Optimus T has 4 GSM bands including 1900, plus the Tmobile 1700, 2100 bands for UMTS/HSDPA 3G service. It is unlocked. Will I get 3G speeds with an AT&T MVNO sim card on the 1900 band, or will that GSM band only provide 2G speeds?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An LG Optimus T would get only 2G data on AT&T as it doesn't support AT&T's 800 and 1900 Mhz 3G bands.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. I think AT&T uses 850 for 3G, not 800.

      Delete
    3. You're right it's 850 not 800 Mhz

      Delete
  90. The Nokia Lumia 521 appears to support both Tmobile and AT&T 3G/4G bands, according to the Nokia specs page: "WCDMA network: 1700 - 2100 MHz, 1900 MHz, 850 MHz"
    http://www.nokia.com/us-en/phones/phone/lumia521/specifications/
    However, the Lumia 520 lacks the Tmobile bands: "WCDMA network: 900 MHz, 2100 MHz, 1900 MHz, 850 MHz"
    http://www.nokia.com/us-en/phones/phone/lumia520/specifications/

    ReplyDelete
  91. Hi Dennis -
    I am currently using Blackberry phone (I believe it is Curve 9310 model) bought from Straight Talk on the Verizon network. I am getting a Blackberry Z10 and I would like to use that on the ATT network.

    Would it be possible to get a SIM from Straight Talk and move my number from Verizon service to ATT service? Do you foresee and hassles trying to get that done - given the quality of Straight Talk Customer service reps?

    What would be your recommendation for an ATT MVNO giving unlimited voice + ability to send & receive Int'l SMS (I am fine with paying extra for this) + about 2 GB data per month. For going this route do you see any challenges in getting my number transferred out from Straight Talk?

    Hare Krishna
    Sridhara-syama dasa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should be able to use a Straight talk AT&T SIM in a BlackBerry Curve.

      Transferring your number and account should also be possible. I recommend calling Straight Talk's "Executive Resolutions Dept.", a possibly Miami based call center at 1-305-715-6500 or 1-800-876-5753. It's available Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM EST. At other times and when Executive Resolutions gets busy calls to those numbers are handled by the off shore call centers.

      Airvoice and RedPocket are good AT&T MVNOs that have 3GB plans for $60. The GoPhone $60 plan and Aio $55 plans would also be good choices.

      Delete
    2. Sridhara-syama dasaDecember 2, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Thanks Dennis. I will try to call the "Executive Resolutions Dept." when I get the phone in my hands.

      By the way - just for clarification - my current Straight Talk Blackberry Curve (9310) runs on the verizon network. Hence being a CDMA device it does not accept SIM cards. So this option is not there for me.

      Thanks again.
      Sridhara-syama dasa

      Delete
  92. Hi. I'm considering the $40 plans of airvoice and h2o, and they looks nearly the same. My primary concern is the data speed, and I've heard that h2o has a poor data rate but airvoice would cut the 1G data into 2 parts. Is that true? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the trade-off. Data on H2O has traditionally been throttled at 500 MB, maybe that's changed with the new plans, but I doubt it. With Airvoice you have to call every month to get the second half of your data released. Neither are ideal but do one else gives you 1 GB for $40. PureTalk USA is $43.95 for 1GB.They don't partition your data and I haven't heard of any throttling with them

      Delete
    2. But I do need some international calls which PureTalk doesn't offer for free. If I have to choose from AirVoice and H2O, which one do you prefer? BTW, when I chat with H2O's CS today, they said the first 500MB is at 4G(HSDPA+) speed and the other 500MB is at "normal" speed, which they claim would be 3G speed.

      Delete
  93. Jolt has upgraded their plans. Black wireless and skyview both have unlimited talk/text/500mb $30 plan

    ReplyDelete
  94. Thaks for the tip. I've updated the tables with Jolt's new plans and rates.

    ReplyDelete
  95. I'm planning to spend two weeks on Hawai. No or very little use of voice and SMS, mainly data. No LTE phone. It seems that Air Voice Pay as you go will be a good choice. Am I right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Airvoice is a good cost effective choice for less than 500 MB/per month. As you only need it for two weeks the Airvoice $10 a month plan would be better than the $10 every 90 day plan as it has lower voice and text pricing and no $1 monthly service charge.

      Delete
  96. What is a good phone to buy that has great call quality and long battery life that can be use on AT&T and AT&T MNVO? I need a phone just for making Alot of calls daily

    Thank you for your help

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If cost is no object, some current Android phones with very good battery life include the LG G2, Nokia Lunia 1520 and Samsung Note 3

      For something cheap, Samsung B2100 bar phone and the old Motorola V195 flip phone are rugged and have excellent battery life

      Delete
  97. I want to use mobile hotspot / tethering feature on AT&T network with Pay As You Go. I called AirVoice and RedPocket CS, and they say they do not support this feature. Does anyone know an AT&T MVNO that does?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I called H20. After dialing thru 4 voice boxes and holding for 11 minutes of bad music they told me they do not support mobile hotspot / tethering. Any other MVNO?

      Delete
    2. As far as I know none of the AT&T MVNOs officially support tethering. On the other hand, I haven't heard of any of them except StraightTalk/NET10 kicking anyone off for it. If you are using an IPhone or an AT&T branded Android phone you will need to jailbreak or root and install a tethering app to get tethering to work

      Delete
  98. Thanks for the tethering advice on AT&T. I have been able to get EDGE speeds with Truphone SIM but that is not fast enough, and a little expensive at 17c/mb. I will look into a jailbreak.

    ReplyDelete
  99. PureTalk now includes 300mb of data with the $34.95 monthly plan. You may want to update the table.

    ReplyDelete
Comment Page :