TracFone owned T-Mobile MVNO Simple Mobile has just launched a prepaid phone upgrade plan. Simple is calling theirs by the rather unimaginative name, Phone Upgrade Unlimited Plan. There are three plan choices. They all include unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts and unlimited data throttled after 1 GB per month. They also include 100 to 200 minutes of calls to Canada and landlines in Mexico. The difference between the three plans is how often you can upgrade your phone. There's a $50/month plan that lets you upgrade every 18 months or you can upgrade every 12 months for $60 a month or every 6 months for $70 month.
The way the upgrade works is that you get a $200 ($70 plan) or $300 ($50 and $60 plans) on phones purchased from Simple Mobile's phone sales partner Quality One Wireless. Prices on that site are on the high side: Nokia Lumia 635 $179, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini $289, Samsung Galaxy S III $379, iPhone 6 16 GB $749
In comparison Simple's non-upgrade plan with unlimited talk, text and data throttled after 1GB is $40/month. So you are basically paying $180 ($50 plan) or $240 ($60 plan) for a $300 discount or $180 ($70 plan) for a $200 discount on a limited selection of phones that for the most part are priced above the best deals available from other sources. For example, the unlocked iPhone 6 16GB is $649 at the Apple Store and the Lumia 635 is under $100 at Amazon and Walmart. On the other hand there are a few good deals at Quality One like Moto X (2nd ed) 16 GB for $449, $50.99 less that Motorola's price.
Here are all the Phone Upgrade Unlimited Plans in tabular format:
|Price||Voice Minutes||Domestic & International SMS Text Messages||Domestic MMS Picture Messages||Int'l Min||Upgrade In / AMT||Data|
|$50 (30 day plan)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||100||18 mo / $300||Unlimited, Throttled after 1 GB 1|
|$60 (30 day plan)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||200||12 mo / $300||Unlimited, Throttled after 1 GB 1|
|$70 (30 day plan)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||300||6 mo / $200||Unlimited, Throttled after 1 GB 1|
For Comparison here are Simple Mobile's regular (non -upgrade) plans:
|Price||Voice Minutes||Domestic & International SMS Text Messages||Domestic MMS Picture Messages||Data|
|$25 (30 day plan)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||None|
|$40 (30 day plan)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited, Throttled after 1 GB 1|
|$50 (30 day plan)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited, Throttled after 3 GB 1|
|$60 (30 day plan)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited, Throttled after 10 GB 1|
While I don't think Simple's Phone Upgrade Plans are a terrible deal, they don't have any real advantage over putting $10, $20 or $30 a month in your own phone upgrade bank account and shopping around for the best phone deals when you are ready to upgrade. Plus, if you leave Simple Mobile before you are eligible for an upgrade, money in a bank account will still be there while the extra paid to Simple for a Phone Upgrade Plan will be lost.
Prepaid Operator Profile: Simple Mobile
T-Mobile and T-Mobile MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared