Home - , - Updated: New Sprint MVNO EcoMobile Launches with BYOD

Updated: New Sprint MVNO EcoMobile Launches with BYOD

EcoMobile  is a brand new Sprint MVNO which lets you "Bring Your Own Phone" (BYOD). EcoMobile doesn't sell phones of its own yet,  so using a Sprint phone is currently the only way to get EcoMobile service.

The EcoMobile website is light on information about plan details and what phones can be activated so I called the company's toll free number 855-825-8855 and was immediately connected to a helpful representative who seemed well versed on the company services. According to the rep, most clean ESN Sprint postpaid phones can be activated with the following exceptions; no iPhones, BlackBerrys, iDEN or Palm OS devices. Sprint also enforces an exclusive period of six to nine months with new, high-end phones like the Galaxy Nexus and the Samsung Galaxy S III. During a device's exclusive period, Sprint doesn't allow it to be activated by EcoMobile. I suspect the same restriction applies to all Sprint MVNOs.

BYOD activations are free on EcoMobile and, in contrast to other Sprint MVNOs offering BYOD, activation typically only takes 20 minutes. EcoMobile plans to offer online activations soon but currently you need to call them to activate a phone.

Like Virgin Mobile, Boost, PlatinumTel and most other Sprint MVNOs, service is limited to Sprint's native CDMA/EVDO network with no roaming. 4G WiMAX and LTE are not currently available on EcoMobile.

EcoMobile offers the following Pay As You Go, Monthly Unlimted and Mobile Broadband plans. Prices include all taxes.

EcoMobile Plans
Plan Price per Month Voice Text MMS Data
Pay As You Go $10 and up1 5¢/minute 2¢/each 10¢/each 10¢/MB
Talk & Text $30 Unlimited Unlimited None None
Talk, Text and Web $40 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Smartphone 3G Talk Text & Web $50 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Smartphone 4G Talk Text & Web $60 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
1 Refills are available in $10, $20, $30, $40 and $60 denominations and are good for 30 days. Unused funds roll over provided you top up at least every 30 days.

The pay as you go rates are good. They beat Boost, Virgin and Kajeet's by a country mile and match PlatinumTel's, which are the lowest you will find anywhere. However, PlatinumTel top ups are good for 90 days, not 30, which makes PlatinumTel a better deal for light users. But PTel doesn't have BYOD.

On the monthly side, EcoMobile's rates are very competitive. The $30 Unlimited Talk undercuts  Prepa'Yd's similar plan by $5 and has pay per use data which Prepa'Yd doesn't. EcoMobile's $50 and $60 unlimited everything plans offer more and/or faster data than their PlatinumTel and Prepa'Yd equivalents. I suspect this new competition may force PlatinumTel and Prepa'Yd to cut prices or add features to their monthly plans.

Mobile Broadband

EcoMobile Mobile Broadband Plans
Price per Month $10 $20 $30 $40 $50 $60
Included Data 100 MB 250 MB 500 MB 1 GB 2.5 GB 5 GB

In spite of BYOD, EcoMobile's mobile broadband prices don't seem at all competitive. Unlike high-end smartphones, broadband devices are generic and relatively inexpensive, so BYOD isn't that much of advantage. EcoMobile's broadband prices are significantly higher than those of T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Data Jack or Internet on the Go. Even if you already have a Sprint hotspot or USB stick, any savings gained by not having to buy a device will be quickly eaten up by higher airtime costs.

Updated 10/26/2012: EcoMobile has made several changes to their Monthly plans which make them competitive with other Sprint MVNOs.

  • The $30 plan, which used to charge 2¢/text and 10¢/MMS now includes unlimited texts and MMS
  • The $40 plan for feature phones now includes unlimited data instead of just 25 MB. It also includes unlimited MMS
  • Smartphones can now be used  $50 plan which is billed as having 3G data.
  • The $60 plan now includes 4G data. I'm guessing that means WiMAX, not 4G and that WiMAX phones can now be activated although the FAQ on the EcoMobile site still says WiMAX and LTE phones can not be activated.
Updated 11/02/2013: EcoMobile's $30 plan no longer includes MMS or pay as you go data. It used to include unlimited MMS and 10¢/MB data.

I've updated the post to reflect  the current rates.

Related posts:
PrepaYd Wireless Now Activating Sprint Phones - Updated: No LTE, BB or Palm! Phones
Sprint MVNO Kajeet Now Activating Most Sprint Phones
US Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans Compared

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  1. I still cant understand why the majority of those new MVNO's insist on Sprint, rather than AT&T or T-MO, where its much, much easier to BYOD, and Sprint plan prices are not any cheaper than the GSM carriers, who will be stupid enough to jump thru hoops, just to sign up for same Ol service and same Ol prices.

    1. I suspect it's easier to get accepted as a Sprint MVNO partner than with the others. As far as pricing goes, the best deals on pay as you go data and on mobile broadband are currently with Sprint MVNOs.

    2. You are right, you can get Verizon MVNO's for $40 a month unlimited talk & text, with much bigger and better coverage.

  2. Yay! Another one to leach off of sprint as a MVNO! Sorry sprint post-paid customers, your speeds are going to be slowed down a but more

  3. Yeswap, It appears that EcoMobile has access to Sprint's pre- and postpaid networks. Is this true? This would make EcoMobile very competitive.

    1. No, no way they will let you roam on Verizon's network at those prices, so its baloney, you can only use Sprint's native network.

    2. EcoMobile shows the Sprint's postpaid map on their site but I emailed them and they replied that it was Sprint network coverage only, no roaming.

  4. Also, Eco Mobile just upgraded their plans. Their $50 plan now allows 3G smartphones. Their $60 plan is for both 3g and 4g smartphones. Before the $50 plan did not have smartphones included.

  5. Also, their $30 plan is now unlimited talk and text. Their $40 plan is unlimited talk/text/data for non smartphones but they charge you per mms (!).

    1. Their website shows MMS is unlimited for all plans now http://ecomobile.com/plans/unlimited

    2. So it does. I've updated the post with these latest changes. Thanks for letting us know.

  6. Geez. Still another update: $30 plan unlimited talk/text/mms/10 c a meg.
    $40, unlimited talk/text/mms/web
    $50 unlimited talk/text/mms/3g data for smartphones.
    $60 unlimited talk/text/mms/3g/4g data for smartphones.

    The $30 plan isn't the best talk/text/mms unlimited pack from anyone right now and beats Air Voice's $35 offering by $5 and gives mms as well as a lower per meg data rate (10 cents vs 33 cents a meg). Pretty good. Their paygo rate is good too. Equal to Platinum Tel.

  7. Excuse me, it IS the best talk/text/mms plan now.

  8. Oh, another thing Yesswap, they claim you can byosd other Sprint mvno phones like Platinum Tel, Total Call and Ready Mobile onto their system with just the esn number. Idk how web works on Sprint mvnos vs Sprint postpaid phone settings though. I'm really surprised that a Sprint mvno is going byosd only at the beginning . It's either ballsy or they're still a work in progress. Gsm mvnos have had great success with byod (Simple Mobile, Net10) but a Sprint mvno? Things change though. They had NO byod just three short months ago. I hope they allow more devices as time passes.

  9. Chit Chat Mobile, a Sprint MVNO offers unlimited TnT for $20/mo. plus tax.
    BYOD is OK.

    250 min, 4000 sms/mo. plan costs $10.
    Optional data is $5/100mb; $10/250mb; $20/600mb; $30 unlimited data.
    This plan provides the lowest cost 100-100-100, 200-200-200 and 250-250-250 plans available (TalkForGood is $15.90 vs $15 at low end, but does not charge tax, so it actually costs less after tax is added).

    http://chitchatmobile.com/plans/ M-F 8AM -6PM CST 1-855-440-3464

    1. Taxes on Chit Chat are about 17% so the $15 plan is really about $17.50

    2. Don't the taxes vary by state? In my state, they are 12.4%. CA has high taxes on cellular.

    3. Ting is also $15 for 100 min, 100 sms and 100 mb, but they add state taxes too.
      Chit Chat gives 250 min and 4000 texts for the $15.

      Republic Unlim TnT is $19, but is not really comparable due to its limitations.

    4. Taxes do vary by state. I don't know if Chit Chat charges different amounts in different states or a flat percentage across all states.

      Actually California has no user taxes on prepaid airtime, no sales taxes and no e911 tax. I live in California and when I buy a pin for Boost, Virgin Mobile or T-Mobile at a Walgreens, BestBuy or Target store I just pay face value.

      All postpaid and some prepaid operators pass certain corporate taxes and costs of doing business along as "taxes and fees". Most of these are not taxes that they are required to collect from users. I consider this practice shady because it hides the bottom line cost and makes the service appear to be priced lower than it actually is.

    5. I agree. It is interesting how some no-contract companies like Solavei, Chit Chat, and Ting charge government taxes, and some do not.
      Solavei and Ting include roaming, which I thought might be a factor, but Chit Chat does not.
      Solavei and Chit Chat are prepaid, but still charge separate taxes. You would pay these taxes (surcharges?) in CA.
      Solavei adds surcharges; Ting does not.
      For the smallest plan, Ting seems to be a combination of pre- and post-paid. You pay the device fee in advance, and usage and taxes are billed after the service period. My XS-XS-XS bill shows that, but if you have higher plans you are billed for that plan in advance, and get a credit if you use less than the tier you paid, or an extra charge if you exceed your paid tier.
      Walmart Family Mobile is really Tmobile post-paid, so I understand the taxes there.

    6. Sometimes you pay sales tax and/or an e911 fee if you buy your airtime from the operator.

      Virgin is one example. I pay $2 sales tax and 50c e911 fee on my $40 iPhone plan because I want the $5 monthly discount for registering a credit card. If I could consistently get more than a 5.6% discount elsewhere ($2.50/$45), it would be cheaper to skip the $5 VM discount and add pins manually.

      Tmobile charges sales tax in my state on prepaid airtime if you add it through them.
      I expect they would also charge sales tax in CA.

    7. Actually, under the California tax code, prepaid top-ups are considered a service and sales tax is only applied to physical goods, not services.

      Some mobile operators get it wrong and charge California residents taxes on online airtime purchases anyway. Virgin used to, I haven't tried in a couple of years so don't know if they still do. When I top up my Boost account online at boostmobile.com, I'm not charged tax. I never tried T-Mobile online but I'm not charged tax if I buy airtime in a T-Mobile store.

    8. I may be wrong about Tmobile charging sales tax in my state. They and all other dealers selling prepaid phone service are required by law to collect an e911 fee of 50c per purchase and remit it to the state. On the $10 refills, that is the same as a 5% sales tax.
      Interestingly, the dealer gets to keep 5%, or 2.5c of the fee to cover their costs of collecting it for the state.
      Virgin collects sales tax plus the e911 fee, but Tmobile does not.
      My state exempts most but not all services from sales tax, but I do not see an exemption for prepaid phone service.

    9. Chit Chat is posting the Sprint post-paid map. They insist it is the correct map, but then say that their coverage is the dark green and light green is roaming. They do not provide roaming!
      Other companies do this too.

      Chit Chat charges a $2 or $3 technology fee in addition to the federal, state and local taxes. Their taxes and fees should be $2 or $3 more than Ting's, depending on the plan. You have to ask Chit Chat to tell you how much they charge for fees to know the actual cost. And they say then can change the fees at any time without notice.

    10. Chit Chat charges $15 to start your account.
      $15 to change your phone number.
      $15 for an ESN swap.
      $35 if you do a chargeback. You forfeit your balance, too.
      25% restocking fees if you return your phone.

      You HAVE TO read their Terms and Conditions before using these guys.
      With 75 Sprint MVNOs, you have other choices.

  10. how do the system works with Samsung Galaxy 3 cells....Ms. Jones

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