Fixed broadband and mobile broadband provider NetZero recently launched Sprint powered mobile phone service. A selling point with NetZero is that they are giving a free ZTE Fury LTE Android phone (reg $79.95) to new customers who pay in advance for six months of service on any NetZero plan priced at $25/month or higher. There's a $6.95 shipping and handling fee and a $20 activation fee, making the total cost of the "free" phone and six months of service on the $25 plan $176.95.
Speaking of plans, NetZero offers the following:
- Talk&Text $24/3 months - 100 minuutes and 100 texts per month, no data
- Basic $25/month - 500 minutes, 1000 texts, 100 MB of high speed data
- Pro $39/month - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data, first 1 GB at high speed
- Platinum $55/month - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data, first 2 GB at high speed
NetZero's plans are reasonably competitive with other Sprint MVNOs (see Sprint and Sprint MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared). However they are not at all competitive with Sprint's own prepaid brands, especially Boost Mobile, which offers unlimited Talk and Text and 10 GB of high speed data for $55/month (or with 5 GB for $45 or 1 GB for $35). I have to wonder how any Sprint MVNOs are going to be able to stay in business when Sprint itself is offering two to five times as much data for the same price as any of its MVNOs.
The only thing Sprint MVNOs like NetZero still have going for them is that they allow customers to "Bring Their Own Sprint Device" (BYOSD) with relatively few restrictions compared with Sprint's own prepaid brands. NetZero can activate all clean-ESN (not financed or reported lost or stolen) Sprint phones except models released in the last 12 months.
Besides the ZTE Fury, NetZero offers a small selection of Android phones including the Samsung Galaxy S III as well as the iPhone 4s, both priced at $199.95.
Update 6/23/2016: NetZero no longer offers mobile phone service.
NetZero Mobile Broadband Adds Sprint 3G Support
NetZero Launches "Free" Prepaid Mobile Broadband