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PlatinumTel Going All GSM, Will End CDMA Service in 2013

As we reported here earlier, Sprint MVNO PlatinumTel will be offering service on the T-Mobile GSM network under the PTel brand name beginning next month. If you were wondering what would happen with the existing Sprint based CDMA service, it now appears that PlatinumTel will discontinue CDMA service in 2013.

In response to a question about buying new CDMA phones on their Facebook page, PlatinumTel responded with "As far as purchasing another CDMA device, we would recommend not to." Pressed for details, PlatinumTel replied;

"We highly understand your concern with being a CDMA user on our service. CDMA will be available into most of 2013 so converting to our GSM service will be as much as a smooth transition as possible. We will be offering our Unlimited Everything plan as well as the Real PayGo plan on our GSM service too, so we are not getting rid of our great pay-as-you-go rates, and are giving our unlimited customers more options. The motivation behind the switch is the ability for us to offer our customers the most out of their phone service for a low price- Truly unlimited everything (talk, text, web, 411, mms, international text) and the ability to bring your own unlocked GSM device."

I prefer GSM over CDMA. It gives users the freedom to easily change phones or operators by swapping SIMs, allows international use with a local prepaid SIM and is generally a more open and user friendly system. However, transitions like this can be painful for users who will need to get new phones and may see changes in their coverage. I hope that the transition goes smoothly for both users and PlatinumTel.

Source: Facebook via HowardForums

34 comments:

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  1. I just activated a Ptel phone 30 minutes ago. Glad I only added $10 ;-)

    Does anyone know whether the Ptel phones can be reused on other MVNO like Ting or other co. planning BYOSD?

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    1. They should, however I would stay away from Sprint/Verizon MVNO's, they have a lot of stipulations and "fees", they act like you need them, they don't need you. Just stick with a SIM carrier (AT&T or T-Mobile) much much easier to deal with, you can switch phones/carriers at any time, no questions asked, and no weird "fees".

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    2. I am on a prepaid verizon network and have never been charged any fees and, I have no idea what stipulations you are talking about. Prior to The verizon mvno I used ATT and there is no difference in how they work, as far as costs go.

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    3. Even before BYOSD, phones from one Sprint MVNO can often be used with a different Sprint MVNO. That's because most MVNOs share the same pool of eligble Sprint PLBL ESNs.

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    4. The reason Jeff/Minn haven't have to pay any fees and deal with crap rules and ESNs is because he haven't try to take his phone with another service provider.

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  2. Well Jeff...can you use an I-Phone or BB or a prepaid Verizon phone for example on a Verizon MVNO??? Can you just switch phones at will, without paying "flash fees" whatever that means??

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    1. Yes, you can use an iphone with Pageplus, although I don't personally use one. And yes, you can bring most verizon phones, inclusing Blacckberries over to pageplus for no charge. You should check your facts before you post.

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    2. Try mywireless.totowireless.com. Toto Wireless (Sprint MVNO) have great plans.

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    3. ToTo's rates seem competitive with other Sprint MVNOs.
      The coverage map indicates that extra cost voice and data roaming is available but doesn't say how much it will cost.
      Unless I'm missing something there's no BYOD.

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    4. From totowireless.com: "*Roaming will result in additional charges to your account, this may mean fewer days until top up. We will notify you via sms if that is the case."
      They also have a flash-by screen on homepage that says you can BYOSD.

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    5. I saw that statement about roaming reducing days of service but the lack of details is not good. They need to disclose how many roaming minutes or MB's equals one day less service.

      Thanks, I found the BYOD message on totowireless.com. I initially missed it because I was using the OP's mywireless.totowireless.com link. BTW, clicking the "Learn more" link on the BYOD ad takes me to the plans page which says nothing about BYOD.

      The ToTo web page needs work in other places too, the "More Details" links on the plan page load a page with nothing on it but a photo of a woman in a low cut dress holding a flip phone?

      Toto Wireless just launched in February, I guess we need to give them a little time to get the kinks out.

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    6. Well, Dennis, you must have the touch! When I clicked on 'More Details' no woman appeared at all! I agree about the other issues on the website. The Terms of Service do not look very comprehensive either; they refer to unquantified charges they make, and do not even have the usual limitations on 'unlimited' use.

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  3. Hi Yeswap,
    what do you suggest we platinumtel customers do if we own a sprint phone already. I just bought a ptel htc hero less than a year ago. I'm very happy with the service, do you have any suggestions? any comparable paygo plans from sprint mvno? or should i head to pageplus?

    thanks.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If you are using the PlatinumTel unlimited Android plan, EcoMobile and PrepaYd offer similar plans and are able to activate your PlatinumTel Hero.

      For PAYGO, EcoMobile has the same voice, messaging and data pricing as PlatinumTel but the minimum refill is $10/month rather than $10 every three months. Ting might be a good option as well if your usage fits their pricing model.

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    2. page plus has terrible rates, and the minutes would sort of disappear without using them. I couldn't complain about signal though

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  4. Yeswap would it be difficult to flash to pageplus? Thnaks.

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    1. It's rather difficult especially if you expect working 3G data. If you search XDA-Developers you should be able to find some threads describing and discussing the process.

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  5. also yeswap if i do decide to go gsm for minute plan, which would you recommend h2o, ptel, or puretalk. i definitely want autorefill, which is why i ruled out airvoice. ptel seems to have best rates, but uses tmobile network. h2o uses att but has balance notifications, and puretalk is good but has the highest rates of them all. for the san mateo CA area, which would you recommend? im looking to spend around 100 dollars a year or less. will ptel keep their current balance expiration policices?
    thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If have to first decide if AT&T or T-Mobile coverage works the best for you. For me in San Francisco proper T-Mobile is much better than AT&T.

      I don't think Pure offers data on pay as you go. H2O gets generally bad reviews annd is $10/month which is over your $100/year limit. I recommend Ptel, Jolt or Airvoice. Set up a Google or other calendar reminder so you don't forget to top-up and you won't need auto refill.

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  6. Hi yeswap i'm really sorry for the bother. but do you think that maybe ptel will give us cdma users an incentive to switch to their gsm? like maybe a free phone or free credit or something? also, ptel is tmobile native i'm guessing right? and do you know what to expect in when ptel will be shutting off cdma? like late 2013 or mid? i think tmobile works poorly in my house but is fine elsewhere, and att is better in my house but sometimes not as great as tmobile for call quality. so i'm fine with either one. also, do you have any phones to recommend that have good reception? is the lg nexus 4 good? I hear reception on the iphone 4 is not great, is that true?

    Thanks.

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    1. I suspect PTEL will give CDMA users some incentive to switch, maybe bonus airtime. Free phones, if any, will likely to be limited to basic feature phones.

      CDMA is supposed to be available "into most of 2013" whatever that means.

      I don't have any experience with the Nexus 4. The iPhone 4 has that "antennagate" issue but using a gel case is supposed to fix that. The LG Optimus T is old and low end but is supposed to have excellent reception.

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    2. Keep in mind there is a BIG difference in coverage quality between T-Mobile GSM (2G) coverage and HSPA+ (3G or 4G) coverage.Some places that the 2G coverage is poor, the 3G is excellent.

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    3. The 2G services are only 2G speed throttling. You will still run on the 3G/FauxG network.

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  7. Why is platinumtel still selling cdma phones if they are switching to gsm soon? are they trying to con customers or is cdma going to stay alongside gsm?

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    1. Simple. They have a lot of CDMA phones the need to get rid off.

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    2. Also, as GSM isn't live yet current CDMA customers who break or lose their phones need to be able to get replacements.
      PlatinumTel says they actually have very few CDMA phones left and have raised phone prices to discourage sales and so they can keep some in inventory.

      Delete
  8. Hi Yeswap,
    do you have any experience with the bb torch, mytouch 4g, or inspire 4g? these phones are all about 130 used on ebay in good condition. which one would have the best call reception/ faster speeds/ usability/ and remain in style for around 2 more years. I'm afraid of getting android because their devices are updated so quickly that phones become outdated so soon. however, the blackberry seems to have a slow processor. also, blackbery os is not as nice as android and not as usable also. i know that the inspire is already out of date because of the one x. however, the new mytouch devices are pretty low end and haven't changed much, except tmobile does have the one s. the blackbbery's screen is a little small?

    thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never used any of them, but they are rather different devices.

      There are several BlackBerry Bolds. The latest is the 9900, released in Aug 2011, which has a touch screen. Earlier models didn't have touch. All BlackBerrys require BIS support to be fully functional. The only prepaid plans with BIS are Simple's $50 plan and T-Mobile monthly plans $30 and up with the $10 BlackBerry add-on.

      The HTC MyTouch 4G for T-Mobile was released in Nov 2010 and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It has a 3.7" screen

      The Samsung Inspire 4G is an AT&T phone released Feb 2011. It has a 4.3" screen and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

      Unless you are a fan of BlackBerrys or are a coporate Email user, I'd avoid the Bold. Along with the limited choice of expensive plans, the brand is in decline and may not survive.

      The MyTouch and Inspire are quite similar in specs and performance. Choose the MyTouch if you want to use a T-Mobile based plan as it won't get 3G or 4G on AT&T. Choose the Inspire if you plan on using an AT&T MVNO.

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  9. Airvoice has added data and dropped prices, perhaps in response to changes at Ptel and H20.

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  10. Well that explains where all the good phones went on PTel's site. I thought they were going under. This is almost as bad. I like my CDMA phone, I'm just lucky I didn't get the Zio when they offered it.

    They'd just better make it worth it to stay. If not, maybe one of the Obamaphone companies will switch my phone. One of them offers a Zio upgrade so anything's possible.

    The downside of their Zio deal is only WIFI internet, no high speed network access. But 200 free minutes a month on an android phone with a decent screen sure beats the 5 year old reconditioned flip phones with no frills you usually get on these government plans.

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    1. I am using a Zio on Ptel and it has decent internet access. Not fast, about the same a Verizon 3g. If I want fast, I turn on my FreedomPop WiMax modem (free 500mb/mo). Sprint has upgraded their network in our area to prepare for LTE next year, and 3G speeds and coverage improved recently.

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  11. Ptel is still promoting their discount codes:

    DBLUPCARD, PTGIMME10 and PT100GIMME15 phone + airtime discounts.

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    1. Promoting how? I don't see the codes listed on the the PlatinumTel site and I've been told by PlatinumTel that those codes no longer work.

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  12. This news really sucks. I just bought 2 really nice Samsung Ultra M930's with Platinumtel service and we LOVE these phones. Far better than the Samsung Intercept and the Kyocera.. I am totally bummed right now..

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