UppWireless is a new T-Mobile MVNO that launched last week. Like FreedomPop and TextNow, it's an all-IP service. Texts are sent using the data network and calls use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
UppWireless' parent company is Spanish based UppTalk (formerly Yuilop) which makes an OTT (Over The Top) messaging and calling app for Android and iOS. UppWireless combines a data only mobile plan with the UppTalk app to make calls and send texts. There are three plans:
- $15/month - unlimited calls and texts to the US and Canada, 1 GB of data
- $35/month - unlimited calls and texts to the US and Canada, unlimited data, first 3 GB at 4G speeds
- $55/month - unlimited calls and texts to the US and Canada, unlimited data, first 5 GB at 4G speeds
Red Pocket's plans cost $10, $30 and $50 respectively, $5/month less than UppWireless charges. The UppTalk app is free and includes the same unlimited voice and texts for US users. So what are you getting for $5/month? According to PCmag.com, using the UppTalk app to make calls and send texts doesn't deduct from your data allotment.
Update 2/21: PCMag may be wrong about calls and messages not deduction from your data allotment. On HowardForums, user UppTalk, who identifies himself as a member of the UppWireless team posted "... thee VOIP traffic does count against your data allotment, but it's very efficient VOIP. 1MB = 4minutes typically."
Typical VOIP calls consume about 1 MB per minute so the extra $5/month is worthwhile if your voice usage would push your total data use past the 1 GB, 3 GB Or 5 GB boundary.
UppWireless' Web site sells unlocked phones though a third party vendor but is primary a BYOP (bring your own phone) service. SIMs are $9.95 plus $3 shipping.
One thing to watch out for with UppWireless that according to UppTalk's fair use policy "All calls will be disconnected and require a re-dial after a 20 minutes duration." Having recently spent hours on hold dealing with a problem with my DSL service that seems like a pretty serious limitation on the advertised "unlimited calling".
With UppWireless and other all-IP operators, only emergency calls to 911 use the cellular voice network. All other calls go over VOIP, which is only reliable with a good WiFi or 3G or better connection. All-IP operators are a good deal if voice calling isn't a high priority but aren't a good choice if you need the widest possible voice coverage.
UppWireless' competition is the other two all-IP operators FreedomPop and TextNow. The three vary primarily in the network used: UppWireless uses T-Mobile HSPA+, FreedomPop's phone service uses Sprint 3G and WiMAX, TextNow is also Sprint but has access to LTE as well as 3G/WiMax. For more about the alternatives to UppWireless see:
FreedomPop Launches Samsung Galaxy SII, One and Two Year Unlimited Plans
TextNow Launches VOIP Based Prepaid Mobile Phone Service