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T-Mobile and T-Mobile MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared

Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) function as mobile operators without actually operating a mobile network. They do this by reselling service from an actual mobile network operator like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon.

There have always been a lot of AT&T and Sprint based MVNOs but relatively few based on T-Mobile. The Tracfone companies, including Net10 and Straight Talk have long offered T-Mobile based phones. But the only other T-Mobile prepaid MVNOs that I was aware of until recently were Simple Mobile, which was acquired by America Movil in May, 2012 and Spot Mobile.

That's changed in over the last couple of years with the launch of Ultra Mobile, PTel GSM, Brightspot, Lycamobile and Solavei.

Here's a table comparing T-Mobile's own prepaid monthly plans with those of the T-Mobile MVNOs that offer monthly plans. Except as noted prices include all taxes except ones collected at point of sale such as state sales taxes.
Plan Monthly Cost Sim or Activation Cost (1) Voice SMS MMS Data
Lycamobile National Plan $16.00 free 250 minutes unlimited (3) not available 50 MB
Ultra Mobile Talk & Text + $19 $9.99 1000 minutes unlimited (3) unlimited 100 MB
Spot Mobile $24.99 Unlimited 24.99 $8.00 unlimited unlimited (3) none none
GoSmart Mobile (owned by T-Mobile) $25 $8.00 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited Facebook (web or app) but no other data
Simple Mobile $25 Unlimited $25.00 $12.99 unlimited unlimited (3) none none
NET10 750 Minute Plan (2) $25 + (7) N/A 750 "minutes" (also used for texts and data) 1 minute each 3.5 minutes each (average) 1 minute per minute of browsing
Lycamobile Unlimited $29 free unlimited unlimited not available unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 250 MB)
Ultra Mobile Talk & Text + $29 $9.95 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited 250 MB
Solavei  $29.00 + (9) $9 unlimited unlimited (3) none none
Spot Mobile $29.99 Unlimited $29.99 $9.99 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited 250 MB
T-Mobile Monthly 4G $30 (4) $10 100 (overage 10¢) unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 5 GB)  
Straight Talk All You Need (5) $30 + (7) N/A 1000 1000 (SMS and MMS combined) 1000 (SMS and MMS combined) 30 MB (hard cap, overage not available)
PTel $35 Unlimited $35.00 $4.99 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps)
GoSmart Mobile (owned by T-Mobile) $35.00 $8.00 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps)
Brightspot (Target) $35.00 $8.00 unlimited unlimited unlimited not available
Lycamobile Unlimited $39.00 $10 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 500 MB)
Ultra Mobile Talk, Text & Data + $39.00 $9.95 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 500 MB) 
Solavei  $39.00 + (9)  $9 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited Unlimited throttled to "2G speeds" after 500 MB)
Spot Mobile $39.99 Unlimited $39.99 $9.99 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 1 GB)
Simple Mobile $40 Unlimited $40.00 $12.99 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 256 Kbps after 1 GB)
PTel $40 Unlimited $40.00 $4.99 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 250 MB)
MetroPCS (owned by T-Mobile) $40.00 $10 unlimited unlimited  unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 500 MB)  
Straight Talk Unlimited $45.00 + (7) $14.99 unlimited unlimited unlimited Unlimited, throttled to 128 Kbps after 2.5 GB) 8
Brightspot (Target) $45.00 $10 unlimited unlimited unlimited 1 GB (throttled to 128 Kbps after 1 GB)
GoSmart Mobile (owned by T-Mobile) $45.00 $8.00 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 5 GB)
Lycamobile Unlimited $49.00 free unlimited not available unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 1 GB)
Ultra Mobile Talk, Text & Data + $49.00 $9.95 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 1 GB)
Solavei $49.00 + (9)$9 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited Unlimited (throttled to "2G speeds" after 2 GB)
Spot Mobile $49.99 Unlimited $49.99 $9.99 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 2 GB)
NET10 Unlimited $50.00 + (7) $14.99 unlimited unlimited unlimited Unlimited, throttled to 128 Kbps after 2.5 GB) 8
Simple Mobile $50 Unlimited $50.00 $12.99 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 256 Kbps after 3 GB) 
MetroPCS (owned by T-Mobile) $50.00 $10 unlimited unlimited unlimited 2.5 GB (throttled to 128 Kbps after 2.5 GB)  
PTel $50 Unlimited $50.00 $4.99 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 2 GB)
T-Mobile Monthly 4G $50.00 99¢ unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 1 GB) 8, 10  
Brightspot (Target) $55.00 $10 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 3 GB)  
Spot Mobile $49.99 Unlimited $59.99 $9.99 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 3 GB)
T-Mobile Monthly 4G $60.00 99¢ unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled to 128 Kbps after 3 GB) 8, 10  
Simple Mobile $60 Unlimited $60.00 $12.99 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited unlimited (throttled to 256 Kbps after 5 GB) 
MetroPCS(owned by T-Mobile) $60.00 $10 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited, unthrottled 8 
Solavei  $69.00 + (9) $9 unlimited unlimited (3) unlimited Unlimited throttled to "2G speeds" after 4 GB)
T-Mobile Monthly 4G $70.00 $10 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited, (throttled to 128 Kbps after 5 GB) 8, 10   
T-Mobile Monthly 4G $80.00 $10 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited, unthrottled 8, 10 
(1) SIMs are often available at very low prices on Ebay or Amazon
(2) Must use a NET10 non-smartphone
(3) International SMS included at no extra cost
(4) $30 100 minute, unlimited data and messaging plan is only available with phones purchased at Walmart or with a new online activation at prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-activate.
(5) Must use a Straight Talk non-smartphone
(7) NET10 and Straight Talk adds taxes and fees averaging $1 - $2/month. They can be avoided by using top up PINs from Walmart, Callingmart, eBay, etc.
(8) LTE data available
(9) Plus 10% to 20% in taxes and fees
(10) T-Mobile $50 Plan includes 10 MB of data roaming per month. $60 and $80 plans include 50MB of data roaming, $70 plan includes 100 MB of data roaming. Hotspot usage is allowed on $50 and higher plans (capped at 5GB on the $80 plan)

Some of the T-Mobile MVNOs offer pay as you go plans as well. The table below compares them with T-Mobile's own prepaid plans.

PlanMinimum Monthly Cost Voice SMS MMS Data
Lycamobile Pay as you go
(5)
4¢ to send, free to receivenot available 6¢/MB
T-Mobile Pay As You Go
83¢-$3.33 (1)
10¢ - 33¢ 10¢25¢ none (2)
Spot Mobile
Pay As You Go
$1.67 10¢
5¢ + data used (data add-on required)
100 MB $10, 250 MB $15,
500 MB $25.
30 day expiration
PTel Real PAYGO $5.00 $0.02 $0.02 10¢/MB

Tracfone (3)
$9.99 4.4¢ - 33¢ 1.5¢ - 11¢ 11¢ - 88¢ 2.2¢ - 16.5¢ per minute of browsing

NET10 (4)
$15.00 10¢ 33¢ 10¢ per minute of browsing
(1) 83¢/month is for T-Mobile's "Gold Rewards" members (after $100 in airtime purchases you are automatically enrolled in T-Mobile's "Gold Rewards" plan and starting with the next airtime purchase all refill denominations have a one year validity.)
(2) Data is available when needed by switching to the $2 or $3 Daily plans temporarily.
(3) Tracfone non-smartphone required
(4) NET10 non-smartphone required
(5) Balance never expires provided an outgoing call is made or text message sent or data is used at least every 90 days. Minimum top up is $10.

The Coverage Question
T-Mobile, like Sprint, has a much smaller network than AT&T or Verizon. You can generally find T-Mobile service in cities and most medium sized and some small towns and along major interstates. T-Mobile Prepaid and some of T-Mobile prepaid MVNOs do offer roaming, but most do not.

T-Mobile Prepaid and Solavei: Extensive voice and data roaming, similar to T-Mobile postpaid
Straight Talk, NET10 and Tracfone: Extensive voice and some data roaming
MetroPCS, Brightspot: Voice and SMS only roaming
Ultra Mobile, Spot Mobile, PTel and Go Smart Mobile: No roaming.

Here are a couple of maps comparing T-Mobile Prepaid's voice coverage, which includes roaming with that of Go Smart Mobile's, which doesn't. Click the maps to view full sized interactive version that lets you zoom in to see block level coverage.

T-Mobile Prepaid

Go Smart Mobile

Recommendations: If you use data and messaging primarily and not many voice minutes, T-Mobile's online only $30/month 100 minute, unlimited data and messaging plan is an unbeatable deal. Straight Talk's $45 Unlimited plan is the best value overall for heavy users. For light users who need reasonably priced pay as you data, PTel Real PayGo or Lycamobile pay as you go are good choices. Light users who don't need data will be well served by T-Mobile Pay As You Go.

Updated 5-Apr-2014: GoSmart $45 plan speed increase.

106 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. When the heck is Ultra mobile going to offer their PAYGO plan???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This month supposedly. I'll believe that when I see it.

      Delete
    2. I hope so... One more thing, in the recommendations part I think you meant "unbeatable deal" and not "unbeatable data"

      Delete
    3. Thanks for catching that typo.

      Delete
  2. www.phonenews.com/sprint-to-launch-own-internal-prepaid-brand-this-month-with-sprint-as-you-go-22096/

    ReplyDelete
  3. That $30 monthly unlimited up to 5GB of 4G and 100 minutes is a great plan! If you're in good TMobile coverage area for HSPA+ then you can take advantage of any VoIP like Vonage for outgoing calls to save. Works like a champ

    ReplyDelete
  4. Or as I do, Google Voice + GrooveIP on my Nexus 4. FTW!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Only one I don't trust is Solavei. My boyfriend told me you are better off going with T-Mobile directly. He said it's network is really slow. So he says going with T-Mobile's $70 plan is better. He pays for my phone and I don't b*tch about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't leave out of state. So where I live, I pick up great T-Mobile coverage.

      Delete
    2. I have been using Solavei for 5 months and I love it.. is as fast as T-Mobile for me.. only when phones are not correcly configured they migt have problems... but I am very happy with 4gigs of 4g and plus it pays me.. I don't pay for my phone bill anymore...

      Delete
    3. Been using Solavei for about 3 months now and so far it has been good. Data speed reaches around 10-13MB DL at times in Nexus 4 in NYC. Even when i had gone on trip to Colorado i was getting coverage & decent speed in the plains. Their only drawback is they charge tax in NYC unlike Simple Mobile/Ptel that comes out to be $10pm thereby reducing one of the advantages of going prepaid.

      Delete
  6. Remember, coverage is limited to T-Mobile's native network with no roaming on all the MVNO's. Quite limited like Sprint's native network. Hence off a major interstate or a trip well into suburbs, NO SERVICE. Counts as well with some states too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Solavei offers roaming, as the article says.

      Delete
    2. Straight Talk, NET10 and Tracfone offer roaming, as the article says.

      Delete
  7. Minimum cost per month with Spot PayGo is $1.67, not $2.50.
    Add at least $5 every 90 days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right. I've updated the post with the correct information.

      Delete
  8. You must make (or receive) at least one billable call during your 90-day Spot PayG0 service period, according to the Welcome letter. If not, the Terms of Service say you will be deactivated and lose your phone number.
    If you refill early, your Service End Date will be extended and you will have more time to make or receive a billable call.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "The Coverage Question
    T-Mobile, like Sprint, has a much smaller network than AT&T or T-Mobile."

    Not sure what you're saying here...

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That should say "T-Mobile, like Sprint, has a much smaller network than AT&T or Verizon."

      Delete
  10. Great write-up. Unfortunately the data column of the top table is hiding behind the sidebar. Perhaps something could be done about your wide left and right margins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't reproduce that in the current versions on Chrome, Firefox and Opera on Linux. Or with Chrome or IE9 on Windows 7. What browser, version and OS are you using?

      Delete
    2. Looks fine with Safari, Firefox and Opera on Mac OSX 10.6.8 and 10.8.2.

      Delete
    3. It even looks good in IE6 on XP. aap try setting your browser's zoom level and/or text size to the default (normal, medium or 100%).

      Delete
    4. On iPhone 3GS running iOS 6.0.1 stock browser, can't see full width of table with either mobile or web view of page. Cannot pinch table to zoom out. Fit zoom screen button does not go far enough.

      Delete
    5. Table looks good on Froyo 2.2 with either Opera or stock browser. On the latter, you have to push the page left and right to see full table, in either mobile or web view.

      Delete
    6. I was able to reproduce the table truncation issue with the mobile version of Prepaid Phone News using the Android Gingerbread browser. I've made a fix that forces the tables to fit the screen width.

      It's kind of ugly, especially in portrait orientation, because text in the table cells now wraps in the middle of words on small screens, but at least you can see all the data now.

      If you'd rather view the table formatted normally on Android, scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap the "View web version link". You will need to zoom out or scroll sideways to see the whole table.

      I will check the page on iOS at the Apple Store latter today.

      Delete
    7. Your fix works for me on iOS 6.0.1 stock browser. Has the 'kind of ugly wrap' in mobile view, but works perfectly in web view, with full pinch and spread support.

      Delete
    8. I also got a good result with the stock Gingerbread browser, mobile or web view.
      Same results using Firefox on Gingerbread 2.3.4.

      Delete
  11. I just activated a Ptel GSM SIM for my iPhone 3GS.
    Entered data settings, turned off WiFi and got a 3G signal right away. Ran SpeedTest and got the following:
    1581 down -112 up -135 ping
    1504-113-134
    1297-111-126
    2900-114-116
    2539-113-134
    I am 20 miles outside of the closest area that Tmobile says they re-farmed 3G to the 1900 channel.
    I guess they are really making progress, even since the 12/20 announcement of 37 markets re-farmed.

    ReplyDelete
  12. How does the coverage map with Simple Mobile compare?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Identical to Ultra and Go Smart.

      Delete
  13. Do you have any news on telcel america?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Telcel America is using AT&T, not T-mobile.

      Delete
    2. Nothing new at Telcel America since I wrote Telcel America - New Tracfone Brand Now Available in October. Same plans, same three phones and T-Mobile based BYOD SIM.

      I didn't include Telcel America in this post because the post is too long already and Telcel America's plans and pricing are identical to Straight Talk except that Telcel America allows international texting on all phones and SIMs and Straight Talk only allows it on Sprint based phones.

      Telcel America doesn't use AT&T except for some roaming. The SIM and two feature phones are on T-Mobile and the Samsung Precedent Android phone is on Sprint.

      Delete
  14. Solavei now offers a $100 service credit over the first 6 months if you buy their basic ZTE android phone for $100.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Strange how the Simple Mobile site still says that you need to have a phone that works with 1700mhz, and the iPhone is still not on their "approved" list. But on the other hand they say that their data uses HSPA+ which the iPhone 4s will work with...

    Are they not aware that TMo has been refarming their network?

    I would think with the refarming of TMo to 1900mhz (in some cities) it would work with the iPhone just as it does when you buy service from TMo...

    Is it me or....

    S

    ReplyDelete
  16. Spot Mobile is to offer $25 unlimited talk/text in January. Idk if Ultra is going to move on their 5 cents everything paygo plan. Ultra is being outstripped at every turn by its fellow Tmvnobile brethren. It had better offer something different or it is in trouble.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The $25 unlimited on Spot is for 15 days, not 30.

      Delete
  17. Will there be an AT&T MVNO Comparison too? Thanks in advance. This is great.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Any chance I can find a comparison of all Sprint MVNO's in here or somewhere on the net?.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not limited to Sprint, but you might find CellGuru's
      Prepaid Comparison
      and
      Unlimited Comparison
      pages useful. Or you can wait for me to write my Sprint MVNO comparison. :)

      Delete
  19. Ultra Mobile PAYGO coming mid Feb according to their twitter http://tinyurl.com/bbcpnfz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's already available... www.ultra.me

      Delete
    2. Nope, I only see monthly plans there. The FAQ on the support page says "PAYGO - Our PAYGO plan is coming soon. We will update this FAQ once we launch PAYGO."

      Delete
  20. PAYGO is pay as you go... By the minute or by the month, it's still pay as you go.
    Maybe I'm not gettin it....

    S

    ReplyDelete
  21. PAYGO or pay as you go traditionally means that you are charged only for the minutes, texts or MBs of data used. Unused cash balance rolls over when you top up.

    Ultra's current plans are Prepaid Monthly Plans. Where you get a fixed bucket on minutes, messages and MBs per month. The monthly bucket is use it or lose, unused balances do not roll over.

    PAYGO plans are generally more cost effective for light users (under 600 minutes and messages or 300 MB per month)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Incase anybody cares... I moved from GoSmartMobile to UltraMobile today. Kind of funny that my number was moved while I was on the phone transferring it! The called failed while she was doing and I thought damn I lost her, when in fact my number had been moved. Took about 2 minutes! : )

    For $49pm They include up to 4G data, throttled after 1gig. I did a speed check here in Vegas shortly after I was activated at about noon, and got 7.44Mbps down & 2.09Mbps up.. great!

    Just thought someone might like to know!


    S

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yeswap, I'm not sure if you've ever been asked this but why do major carriers give business away to MVNOs? In the above case why wouldn't T-Mobile want to try to keep as much MVNO business as possible?

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They wouldn't do it if it wasn't profitable. The MVNO handles the costs of customer acquisition, billing and customer support which are large and unpredictable. The MNO sells the MVNO service at a markup that guarantees them a profit while the MVNO takes the risk.

      Also it lets the MNO reach customers who can't afford the MNO's own branded service without having to offer lower prices to it's own customers.

      Delete
  24. Yeswap, what does "MNO" stand for in your above reply?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mobile Network Operator, the one who owns the network T-Mobile, AT&T, etc.

      Delete
  25. All T-Mobile MVNO's have absolutely horrid customer service except for SPOT mobile and Ultra.me I have called all of them.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ptel has very good customer service, in my experience.

    Spot Mobile has been trying for 6 weeks to fix their online account software, and has not been able to reset my PW or delete my online account during all this time.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Please correct the UnlTnT plan chart to show that Solavei has a 4GB cap before throttling within a billing period. Speed returns when new period begins.
    https://support.solavei.com/docs/DOC-1197

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ultra Mobile has a new $59 plan that includes 2gb of data before throttling. $49 and $59 plans include $20 ILD credit.

    ReplyDelete
  29. It took Spot 12 weeks to reset my account challenge question so I could reset my pw. I followed up politely many times. Then their system did not email me the new pw. They said I had to wait 3 business days more before they would do anything. After the 3 days they said pw reset was working, but I still did not get the new pw (not in junk or spam folders either). The only way I could get it was for them to change my account email address to their address, then forward the reset email to me. I tried entering my other email address once I logged in, and I still could not reset and receive a new pw. I think there is something about their back-end system messages that causes them to be treated as spam and deleted by my ISPs. They now ignore my requests to send a new account pw one last time, so I am locked out of my account permanently.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I was considering Ultra, the $29/month plan with optional 500mb of data. Last week of Feb I asked whether the data option lasts 30 days, or expires on the plan renewal date. Almost 3 weeks later, I got this reply:

    "In line to your query about the $10 additional high speed, we
    apologized but it's not yet available for now so we cannot provide the
    answer yet to this question. But we'll have this service soon and we'll
    keep you posted and updated on the website."

    If this is true, Ultra is still a work in progress.

    ReplyDelete
  31. What about adding the MetroPCS plans, at least as a comparison. According to the FAQ on metropcs.com, the same plans will be available for MetroPCS customers as exist now at MetroPCS, and the "new, faster network" will be available (at the same prices) for those who buy phones compatible with the T-Mobile network when the merger is complete sometime in 1H2013. This would make MetroPCS effectively nothing but an MVNO, but perhaps the best-priced one at $40 for unlimited everything and 500MB of high speed data before it gets throttled. And that's $40 with all taxes included. AND you save $5 per phone if you have multiple lines, so two people could have unlimited everything and 500MB 4G data for $70 total, including taxes.

    Also an interesting addition might be which plans are tax-inclusive or not. That can easily make a $50 plan closer to $60.

    This is a great list. Thanks for compiling it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The MetroPCS T-Mobile deal still has to be approved by shareholders which is not a sure thing. If and when Metro starts selling service on the T-Mobile GSM/LTE network I will add them here.

      AS far as I know, all the carriers plans listed here are tax-inclusive except for Solavei and in some cases StraightTalk . I'll add notes about taxes and fees for them.

      Delete
    2. You're absolutely right. The deal isn't technically approved yet. It looks like it probably will, though, and I'm personally trying to decide whether to jump on one of these options above or stick with MetroPCS and wait until the new network is available. If one of the MVNO's had a better plan I'd go ahead and jump now, but it looks like MetroPCS will have the best MVNO pricing once all is said and done. Just wanted to make a note of that.

      As for the tax/fee info, that will be very helpful. For Solavei I've heard some say that increases the cost to the $55-$60 range and all of a sudden their pricing isn't all that hot anymore. Thanks!!!

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the tax update!!! Are you aware of any of the plans being inclusive of state sales tax as well? In the MetroPCS example again, it includes ALL taxes, including state sales tax. I didn't know if all the plans above require payment of state sales tax, or if some of them had it included like MetroPCS.

      Delete
    4. When you top up online, most MVNOs only charge sales tax in the state where they are based. For example, PagePlus offices are in Ohio so only Ohio residents pay sales tax when ordering refills online.

      Mobile network operators; Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon have a physical presence in all the states where they offer service so they charge everyone applicable sales tax.

      I didn't know that MetroPCS doesn't charge sales tax as I live in California, which has no sales tax on prepaid airtime. I wonder how they do that. Do they discount the plan price by the tax amount? For example, if the plan price is $40 and the sales tax is 10% do they charge about $36.35 for the plan + $3.65 tax so the total is $40?

      Delete
  32. Yeah, I'm sure they're PAYING sales tax to the state and they just bundle it in to the price. What I know for sure is that I've had MetroPCS for years, and they simply auto charge my credit card, and my bill is exactly $40.00 every month, not a penny more, not a penny less, and they specifically advertise it that way. Actually, it's $35 every month now because if you add a second line every line gets a $5/mo discount.

    Also, I'm from Texas and if I try to buy a Straight Talk 30 day card on walmart.com and put in Texas as my delivery address, it tries to charge sales tax, so apparently this kind of service is not tax free in Texas, but MetroPCS still isn't charging me (directly) for it.

    Anyway, I know that MetroPCS is NOT a T-Mobile MVNO yet, but it will be a pretty a good deal if we end up getting unlimited everything with 500MB of 4G data and ALL taxes, even sales taxes, included for $40, or $35 each if you buy two. Or $50/$45 for 2.5GB 4G data, or "unlimited" for $60/$55.

    I'm technically grandfathered in to an "unlimited 4G, but only 250MB of video streaming" plan, but that's not very helpful to this discussion, I don't think. :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. It's not prepaid, but the no contract Wallmart Family Mobile plan at $40 gives 1GB of 3G data. This plan gives roaming for voice and sms, and maybe 2G data as well. With taxes, it probably compares to the GoSmartFamily Mobile $45 plan in price, but offers a different mix of features. Anybody using this plan?

    ReplyDelete
  34. GIVmobile was launched by Ptel on Weds. Same unlimited plans as Ptel, but they donate 8%, up to $50/year to the charity of your choice. You help them choose future charities.
    http://www.givmobile.com/

    ReplyDelete
  35. I check Ultra mobile once a month, just in case they have finally started the PayGo plan. Today I noticed their headline: Monthly Plans for Everyone. I won't be checking any more.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi and thanks for all the great info here. I'm wondering if anyone knows which T-Mobile MVNOs support call forwarding (conditional and/or unconditional). I believe that ptel & Solavei do, but I assume they're not the only two. I'm especially interested to know if Ultra Mobile does.

    Thanks again,

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that PTel & Solavei are the only T-Mobile NVNOs that support call forwarding.

      Delete
  37. Thanks for the quick response--I really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Solavei is giving $50 to new customers who sign up this month.
    http://www.solavei.com/pageView/index/4292

    ReplyDelete
  39. Simple and Ptel would have given up when you hit Iowa. Virtually nothing across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota or Colorado, so you might have had to learn smoke signals.
    You got to use AT&T for the extra $10.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Are the incoming texts on Lyca mobiles PAYGO plan really free? I don't see them mention that on their website.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't mention it on the Lyca site but multiple Lyca customers have reported that they are never charged for incoming texts.

      Delete
    2. That's Awesome, I just ordered a couple of sims from Amazon and will try Lyca as soon as the sims get here. I'll be sure to share my experience with them here.

      Delete
  41. Walmart Family Mobile has two, new plans that are very competitive:
    http://www.walmart.com/cp/Family-Mobile/1076544
    You now save 12c/month and get 2.5GB of data for $39.88/month.
    There is a new, $29.88 plan for Unlimited TnT. Save $5/month on each additional lines. These plans include roaming on AT&T towers in many areas, but are postpaid, no-contract plans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How are taxes and fees on these plans?

      Delete
    2. I haven't found anyone using WFM, but I will guess the taxes and fees are the same % and flat amounts as Tmobile postpaid no contract. I read that Tmobile also handles customer service. I paid 12.5% in my state two years ago with Tmobile postpaid. It is probably higher now, at least 50c more for the e911 fee.

      Delete
    3. WFM on Walmart website is also selling the Tmobile iPhone 5 for $629.88. Tmobile just raised the total price on their monthly financing plan to $650.
      http://www.walmart.com/cp/Family-Mobile-Phones/1082804

      Delete
  42. Are there any T-mobile mvnos that allow incoming premium text messages like from a bank? I know Lyca doesn't do that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are they really premium messages? A premium message is one where you are charged extra like paying 99¢ for a ringtone.

      Banks usually use 5 digit short codes not premium messing. I've never heard of a bank using premium messaging.

      Some operators do block some or all short codes. I heard that no short codes work on PTel or Solavei. On Tracfone with a T-Mobile SIM some short codes work and others don't.

      I can receive messages from Chase Bank on T-Mobile pay as you go. I don't currently have any T-Mobile MVNO accounts to test with.

      Delete
    2. Oh yeah that's what I meant, the short code numbers from companies and banks.

      Delete
  43. Hi Dennis,

    I would like to know if unlocked AT&T Samsung Galaxy III does work on T-Mobile service?

    Would I be able to get 3G/4G on it? I do not think T-Mobile is able to support LTE on it, is that correct?

    Thank you for your help in advance,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An AT&T S3 on T-Mobile should get LTE wherever it's available but HSPA+ 3G/4G only in refarmed 1900 Mhz markets.

      Delete
  44. Ive been in solavei for 8 months and love it. just to those that come across this article, solavei does have tax and it ranges from $3-$11 depending on where you are. Solavei offers call forwarding and voice roaming and international text at no extra charge. Solavei also is the only MVNO that is a partner with t mobile. we don't only resell t mobile service but we have a close relationship with them so we will always have better things than other tmobile MVNOs. also if you don't mind referring others to solavei, you'll get $20 for every 3 referrals. That may sound MLM ish, but hey, if you can, just do it for the free bill like i am. you can stop there is you want. if not, you don't have to do it, but doesn't hurt to try :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hi Dennis, thanks for the updates. Looks like there is a mistake in the table above - Spot Mobile $24.99 plan does have text, and Go Smart Mobile $25 does not. Swapped?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for noticing that. They were swapped. I've fixed it.

      Delete
  46. i live in NYC,recently i am thinking swiching to Metro pcs or Solavei from simple mobile,because simple mobile here is very slow. i dont use too much data usage,but i just need it fast and better has LTE, can u tell me which one i should have?

    ReplyDelete
  47. They both use t-Mobile. I used neither of them but I have a hunch Metro PCS would be better since it is owned by t-Mobile. Solavei is an MVNO with an optional pyramid scheme. Convincing people to switch their cell plan to Solavei sounds like it would' be so easy.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Free Facebook access on GoSmart Mobile without a data plan, according to Tmobile executives. I guess this applies to the $25 and $30 monthly plans.

    ReplyDelete
  49. http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2013/12/23/t-mobile-prepaid-service-to-offer-free-facebook-access/?intcmp=fbfeatures

    ReplyDelete
  50. Dennis can you please update Simple Mobile LTE on the $50 and $60 plans?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've updated it. Thanks for reminding me.

      Delete
  51. Dennis...where did you get this info on pay as you go Lyca mobile plan "Balance never expires provided an outgoing call is made or text message sent at least every 120 days. Minimum top up is $10 and SMS free for receive"? I could not find on the website. Further I found this "2c/min, 4c/text, 6c/MB 4G data (for incoming and outgoing) (from account credit)". Do you think they always update at anytime?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "3.4 If you do not use your SIM Card to make a voice call, or send a message or data, or if you do not purchase a top-up using the Top-Up Services, for a period of ninety (90) days from the date you registered or activated your Account or your last use of the Services (whichever is later), Lycamobile will contact you by SMS or e-mail advising you that your SIM Card will be deactivated. Lycamobile will then provide you with an additional thirty (30) days to make a voice call, send a message or data, or purchase a top-up using the Top-Up Services.

      3.5 If you make a voice call, send a message or data, or purchase a top-up using the Top-Up Services within the additional thirty (30) day period, your SIM Card will remain active. Any previous credit balance in your Account will remain available for you to use, and you will be able to access and use the Services."

      From http://www.lycamobile.us/en/termsandconditions

      Delete
  52. Is there any T-Mobile MVNO where I can used a locked T-Mobile phone without getting it unlocked. I am really looking for a good pay-as-you-go prices for my son who hardly uses his phone and we want to stop paying T-Mobile $50/month when his usage was only aboug 30 minutes / month.

    I got a Lycamobile SIM card and tried that in his phone - but it does not work.

    Any suggestions?

    Hare Krishna
    Sridhara-syama dasa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can use a locked T-Mobile phone with any T-Mobile MVNO except Lycamobile. For pay as you go I recommend PTel, or if you don't need data T-Mobile's own pay as you go.

      Delete
  53. We don't need data. But T-Mobile's pay-as-you-go is 33c/min while there are others like Lycamobile and few others for less than 10c/min.

    Thanks Dennis. What a co-incidence that out of all the T-Mobile MVNO's I ordered the SIM or Lycamobile - the only one that wouldn't work with a locked T-Mobile phone. :(

    Hare Krishna
    Sridhara-syama dasa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you add $100 to a T-Mobile prepaid account (total, or all at once), your service is good for a year (Gold Status). You pay 10c/minute if you add a $100 PIN, 12.5c/minute with a $50 PIN, good for 3 months before you reach Gold. For the second year, you would only need to add $50 to cover your son's usage at a good rate, and they give you 15% extra minutes, for 460 total, 10.9c/minute. 38 minutes/month average.
      On days when your son needs data, he switches to the $2 or $3 daily plan and gets unlimited data for that day. Then he can switch back that night to regular PayGo.

      Delete
    2. T-Mobile actually costs less per month than Ptel for your son's use after you reach Gold Status. $4.17/month minimum for the $50 PIN good for a year. You also get free roaming on other GSM networks, which is important for many people who do not stay in cities or major towns, or near major highways.

      Delete
    3. The previous comments are correct. Gold Rewards, which lets you keep your account active for $10/year, roaming and the ability to switch to a day plan for data and/or unlimited talk and text when needed is what makes T-Mobile PAYGO an excellent value for light use.

      Delete
  54. I noticed that 35orless allows WiFi Calling (http://35orless.com/pages/faq). Anyone know if other T-Mobile MVNOs allow WiFi Calling as well?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Lycamobile is advertising on their website free calls to other Lyca customers in 17 countries. Is this new? It could be a good way to communicate with friends overseas, maybe even on the $16 plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lycamobile has been advertising that feature on their site for about a week. It says "on any plan" but I can't find any other information about the offer on the Lycamobile.us site.

      The Lycamobile UK site ( www.lycamobile.co.uk/en/lyca-to-lyca says:

      Lycamobile is now offering FREE CALLS to other Lycamobile in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Norway, Germany , Ireland, Italy, France, Nederland’s, Sweden, Poland, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, UK & USA. The promotion is applicable for both existing Lycamobile customers and new customers.

      Promotion is valid from 03-10-2014 to 05/31/2014. New and existing Customers must top-up to qualify for the promotion and will receive free Lycamobile to Lycamobile calls to any Lycamobile for 30 days from date of top-up. Customers must maintain a minimum balance of one penny. Offer is valid for personal use only. After the 30 days free calls the customer must top-up again to continue the free calls otherwise the customer will be charged at the standard tariff. International calls are billed per minute. This promotion is only available to Lycamobile UK customers and is not applicable to roaming calls.

      I have no idea if the rules are the same in the US.

      Delete
  56. Looks like you are missing Proven Wireless.

    ReplyDelete
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