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