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More About PTEL's New GSM Service Including PAYGO Expiration and Tentative Launch Date

As reported here earlier, Sprint MVNO PlatinumTel is changing their name to PTel and becoming a T-Mobile MVNO.

The initial announcement left a lot of questions unanswered and the Platinumtel site doesn't have much information either. But PTel has been posting the missing pieces in dribbles and drabs on their Facebook page and on Howard Forums.

Here are all the details I've been able to find in one place. See the footnotes for links to the sources.

When will Ptel GSM services start? Around December 15th1

What plans will be available?

Plan Cost Voice Minutes Texts MMS Data
Real PayGo 1 $10/60days* 5¢/each 2¢/each 2¢/each 10¢/MB
$40 Unlimited Everything 2 $40/30 days unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled after 250 MB)
$50 Unlimited Everything 2 $50/30 days unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled after 2 GB)
* Other refill denominations are available; $20/90days, $30/120 days, $50/180 days, $100/365 days.

When will PlatinumTel's CDMA service be shut down? Mid-2013, around the end of May. 3

What will happen to existing PlatinumTel CDMA customers airtime and phone numbers? CDMA customers will be able to transfer their phone numbers and airtime balances to GSM. SIMs will be free for CDMA customers switching to GSM. 4 SIMs for new customers will be $4.99.

These are mostly positive changes. The monthly plans are less expensive and include more data and unlimited MMS at all price points. PAYGO MMS pricing has been cut from 10¢ to 2¢ each. I haven't seen any mention of the 50¢ monthly fee on PAYGO so hopefully it has been eliminated. GSM gives users total freedom to switch phones by simply swapping their SIM from one phone to the other. T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G data is up to ten times faster than Sprint's EVDO 3G.

There are a few downsides. The $10 and $30 PAYGO refills don't last as long, 60 days instead of 90 for the $10 and 120 days vs 180 for the $30 refill. Current PlatinumTel customers will need new phones. PTel has said they will likely offer a promotion or discount for customers who "recently" bought a CDMA phone. Personally, I thing the positives outweigh the negatives and I'm looking forward to this transition.

Ptel reply to a Facebook comment
Ptel's "News for December" Facebook Note
Ptel reply to a Facebook comment
Ptel post on HowardForums

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14 comments:

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  1. I will get my free SIM and see what kind of deal they offer on the phone switch. $5/mo. is fine for me.

    The new Spot Mobile $40 plan provides twice as much fast data before throttling, 500mb; but the $50 Ptel plan gives you an extra Gig vs. Spot's new plan before slowing you down.

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    1. New Ptel site is up and working. Good special on Woot: For $20 you get a sim and pin for the $40 unlimited plan, saving $25. Use code SIMWOOT40 in Ptel checkout.

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  2. Good news: Ptel coverage map includes AT&T roaming in areas that Tmob does not have coverage. This makes Ptel more attractive than Spot or Ultra.

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    1. Sounds good, as long as they really used the intended map, the same map that Tmobile monthly plans and Pay-Go uses

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    2. Here is the Tmob prepaid map for their monthly 4G plans. It does NOT include roaming for data on AT&T, and is much smaller than the one Ptel used:
      http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-coverage

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    3. PTel's coverage map is the T-Mobile postpaid one, BUT underneath the coverage map on the PTel site it says:

      "Coverage in Mexico and Canada and that provided by Service Partner not included"

      Service partner is T-Mobile-speak for roaming. You have to zoom into the map to see the service partner areas but when you do you will see the the coverage is the same as Simple's.

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    4. Thanks; I see it now.
      So we have to visit Simple, Ultra or Tmob Prepaid (data tab) to see the actual Ptel coverage.

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  3. I just chatted with ptel. They did not offer free sims or discounts on phones. WE've got 4 ptel phones that will have to be replaced. Very disappointing.

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    1. Wait a bit. On their Facebook page PTel says that they will have a free SIM promotion for existing customers beginning in a few days. I expect that there will be phone deals eventually as well.

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  4. Can at&t go phone be activated on ptel pay as you go? If so does it need unlocked or anything?

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    Replies
    1. AT&T phones need to be unlocked to work on a T-Mobile MVNO like PTEL.

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  5. Would all features if an android work? Data and picture messaging.

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    1. Yes, data and MMS will work provided you setup the APN correctly.

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    2. I just set up a Blackberry and iPhone. Manual setup worked fine on iPhone. Blackberry data works out of box with old service books; no need to change APN, etc to use Opera or stock browser (icon did not load, but use command to switch applications and you can pick it). BB cannot use BIS or BBM on Ptel; I use browser to get email. SMS works fine.

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