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Prepaid Operator Profile: MetroPCS

This one of a series of Prepaid Phone News' profiles covering the major US mobile operators and MVNOS.

Overview: MetroPCS was originally a prepaid only CDMA network operator that was acquired by T-Mobile USA in May, 2013. Before acquisition it operated its own network and was the fifth largest US mobile network operator with 8.9 million subscribers, all of them prepaid. MetroPCS had an estimated 12 million subscribers at the end of 2016.

Technology: Current MetroPCS plans and devices operate on T-Mobile's GSM network which uses the 1700 Mhz (AWS) and 1900 Mhz (PCS) bands for voice and  2G, 3G and 4G HSPA+. LTE service uses bands 4, 2 and 12.

MetroPCS' legacy CDMA network, which was shut down june 21, 2015,  used the 1700 Mhz AWS and 1900 Mhz PCS bands for CDMA voice and 1xRTT (2.5G), EVDO (3G) and LTE (4G) data. It operated in 19 metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Bakersfield, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Jacksonville, Hartford,  Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City/Northern New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, Riverside, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Bernardino, San Jose, Shreveport, and Tampa).

Plans: MetroPCS currently offers monthly plans only. The monthly plans all include unlimited voice, messaging and web.

MetroPCS Monthly Plans
Plan Allowed Devices Voice Messaging Data
$30 Unlimited Talk and Text and Data All Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (speed reduced after 1 GB) 1
$40 Unlimited Talk, Text and Data All Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (speed reduced after 3 GB) 1
$50 Unlimited Talk, Text and Data All Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited, Unthrottled (hotspot not allowed, video restricted to 480p) 
$60 Unlimited Talk, Text and Data All Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited, Unthrottled (hotspot speed reduced after 8 GB)
1 Throttled speed is 128 Kbps.

Multi-line Discounts:
MetroPCS' multi-line plan is a $5/month discount on each line for accounts with two to five phones. The discount is available with any combination of plans.

Family Plan Promotion MetroPCS is running a limited time promotion that gives customers the $50 unlimited plan for $40 per month when they activate two or more lines. 2 lines are $80, 3 lines $120, 4 lines $160, and 5 lines are $200. The plan includes unlimited voice messaging and high speed handset data. Video streaming at up to 480p.  No tethering. Available in stores only.

Taxes and Fees: Current MetroPCS plans include all taxes and fees, even state and local sales taxes. When purchasing a phone at a MetroPCS store, activation is required and there's a $15 activation fee. Phones purchased online can be activated online for free.

Hotspot and Tethering: MetroPCS GSM allows hotspot use and tethering on all plans except the $50 plan. On the $60 plan, which includes unlimited on-phone high speed data, hotspot usage is throttled to 128 Kbps after 8 GB per month.

Music Streaming Zero-rated: Streaming music from over 40 services does not count againt data limits on $40 and higher plans.

Data Maximizer: all plans also include Data Maximizer which lowers video streaming quality to 480p to reduce data consumption. Data Maximizer is enabled by default on all plans but users can disable it except on the $50 plan

International Rates: 

The $5/month Canada Unlimited add-on provides unlimited calling and texting to Canada, unlimited voice, text and data roaming in Canada and unlimited international text messaging while in the US and Canada. It's available on the $40, $50 and $60 plans.

The $5/month Mexico Unlimited add-on provides unlimited calling and texting to Mexico and unlimited voice, text and data roaming in Mexico. It's available on the $40, $50 and $60 plans.

A $10/month World Calling add-on available with the $50 and $60 GSM plans only includes:
  • Unlimited international calls from the US to landlines in over 75 countries.  
  • 200 minutes/month from the US to mobile numbers in 43 countries 
  • Unlimited international text messaging while in the US
  • 200 minutes of calling, unlimited incoming and 200 outgoing texts and 200 MB while roaming in 21 countries
Without one of these plans you can only make international calls on MetroPCS by using a prepaid calling card.

Coverage:  MetroPCS based phones run on the T-Mobile network and have the same coverage (map) as T-Mobile prepaid, including some voice and text only (no data) off network roaming.

Devices: MetroPCS offers a large selection of feature phones and Android devices.

BYOP: You can use any T-Mobile or compatible unlocked GSM phone. SIMs are available online or at MetroPCS stores for $10 each.

SIM locking: Unlike other GSM operators, MetroPCS restricts users from switching SIMs between phones. SIM swaps are possible but require a call to customer support or a visit to MetroPCS store to have the SIM linked to the new device. Stores may charge a fee to swap SIMs between to phones.

How to Buy: MetroPCS prepaid phones are available from MetroPCS stores and at "big box" and online retailers including Amazon and Best Buy.

SIMs: GSM SIMs are available online from MetroPCS dealers in all markets.

How to Activate: Activate monthly plan phones online or at a MetroPCS store or authorized dealer.
Activate Pay By The Day phones by dialing *228 on the Pay By The Day Phone. If you are porting a number into MetroPCS call the porting department at 800-518-7519.

Payment Options: MetroPCS offers a number of ways to pay. There's an extra charge for many of them. There's no extra charge for payments made by the following methods:
  • Online using a debit or credit card or electronic check
  • Using a MetroPCS Payment Card online or at 800.680.5962. Cards are available at Walmart, Best Buy and other retailers.
  • Auto-pay using a debit or credit card or checking account. Setup auto-pay here.
  • Using a drop-box at a MetroPCS Store (takes up to 48 hours to process)
  • Using the MyMetro app on the phone.
  • Mailing a check to MetroPCS Wireless, Inc., PO Box 5119, Carol Stream, IL 60197-5119 (allow 10 days for delivery and processing)
Other payment methods carry an extra charge as follows
  • Calling *99 from the MetroPCS phone - $2.00
  • Using a 24-hour payment machine at a MetroPCS store - $2.00
  • Calling 1-888-8metro8 from any phone - $3.00
  • Over the counter at a MetroPCS store or authorized dealer - $3.00
  • At Western Union and other authorized payment services $3.50
Account Management: You can check your balance and expiration date on the MyAccount section of the MetroPCS web site or using the MyMetro app on the phone or by calling *611 from your wireless phone, or 888-8metro8 (888-863-8768) from any phone. Online call records are available on all monthly plans for $1/month extra.

Call Forwarding, Call Waiting and 3-Way Calling

Call forwarding is not available.


Call waiting: Call waiting is enabled by default. It lets you place one call on hold while you take another call. When you are on a call and have another incoming call, you will hear a short tone. You'll have approximately 30 seconds to answer before the second caller is forwarded to voicemail.

To answer Call Waiting: To put the first call on hold, press "SEND." You'll automatically be connected with the second call. To return to the first call, press "SEND" again. To switch between the two calls, press "SEND."

To cancel Call Waiting before placing a call: press *70 + the 10 digit number you are calling, then press "SEND."

3-Way Calling: Lets you create a conference call between yourself and two other people.
  • While on the first call, dial the 10-digit number of the second person and press "SEND." The first person is automatically put on hold while the call is made.
  • When the 2nd person answers, press "SEND" to create the conference call.
  • If the second person does not answer, press the "SEND" key twice to end the connection and go back to the first person. To end both conversations completely, press the "END" key
MetroPCS Prepaid "Secret" Codes:
*611 - call customer support

Free information services calls
711 - Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for the hearing and speech impaired
911 - Emergency services

Customer Service:
Phone support: Call *611 or 888-8metro8 (888-863-8768) for 24/7 customer telephone support.
Mail support: MetroPCS Wireless, Inc. PO Box 601119 Dallas, TX 75360

Phone Sales and General Information Web Site: www.metropcs.com

MetroPCS Pros: inexpensive unlimited plans, strong retail presence, GSM BYOD, 24/7 telephone support. Call waiting and 3-way calling supported.

MetroPCS Cons: SIM locking, no call forwarding, extra charges for online call records and some payment methods.

Updated 2/24/17: New $40 per line promotional family plan.

20 comments:

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  1. Yeswap, what's going to happen when Tmobile merges with Metro? Metro is cheaper than tmobile right now, and offers a good 30 dollar plan. what do you think?

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  2. I expect the combined company will continue to offer good prepaid values with most current plans continued. The $30 MetroPCS LTE plan is a limited time offer, I heard that It won't be available to new customers after Dec 31.

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  3. T-Mobile says they will take MetroPCS nationwide, and move customers off CDMA to the T-Mobile network. I hope they keep the Metro plans; the $40 plan is very competitive.

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  4. Cuba has been added to MetroPCS' World Calling Plan. Add-On: $10 for 20 Minutes.

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  5. MetroPCS $30 period'. Plan now available on SELECT 4G LTE phones. The phones are the Samsung Galaxy Light & LG Leon. Both are Mobile Hotspot capable, which allow customers to use the plans' data for mobile hotspot.

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  6. HTC Desire 626s coming to MetroPCS sometime in August.

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  7. MetroPCS announced several promotions today.

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  8. MetroPCS promo: Customers who activate a new line with MetroPCS on a $40 or higher monthly rate plan will get an extra 1GB of LTE data on top of their existing high-speed data bucket for as long as they are a Metro customer. Those who port their number are eligible for up to a $50 instant rebate on any phone.

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  9. Blu Studio Selfie coming to Metro PCS, with support for LTE Band 12 and T-Mobile VoLTE certification. also will recieve full LTE coverage and speed.

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  10. MetroPCS has a NEW $25 Unlimited Talk & Text Plan available ONLY on select phones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do have a $25 plan for select phones but it's not new and is listed in the post above.

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    2. The $25 plan in the post above is the unlimited talk & text with 1 GB of data on the Family plan.

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  11. I have read Metro's unlimited plan was $50 several places. Metro's website states unlimited data is $60. Does anyone know how to get the umlimited plan for $50?

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    Replies
    1. The $50 plan doesn't exist anymore. Its now $60.

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  12. My sister used to have Metro PCS when they were CDMA and the coverage was very bad. She'd have a lot of dropped calls and no reception sometimes. She eventually switched her service to another carrier. I'm sure now with T-Mobile, they are doing a lot better.

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  13. Dennis, do you know if T-Mobile branded phones will receive OS updates if used on Metro PCS? Or will it be the same as Verizon phones used on an MVNO, no updates?

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    Replies
    1. Probably. My T-Mobile LG G2 on PTel GSM got OS updates.

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  14. How can you talk to a MetroPCS customer service rep? I want to change my plan but every number I call plays a message then disconnects Mr.

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