Jolt Mobile, which has operated as an AT&T MVNO since at least 2010, has quietly switched all of its lower priced plans to use the T-Mobile network for newly activated accounts. The first sign of the change was when the Jolt Mobile website started displaying separate coverage maps for unlimited monthly plans and PayGo plans. The PayGo map clearly shows T-Mobile native coverage and the unlimited monthly one displays AT&T coverage. Jolt customer support has confirmed that the company's Unlimited Monthly plans are still on AT&T but the PayGo plans and a new line of non-unlimited "Flex" monthly plans use T-Mobile.
The PayGo plans have changed in other ways besides the network provider switch. The old AT&T based PayGo plans charged 10¢ per minute or text and 6.6¢ per MB for data. A $10 top up was good for 90 days and a $20 refill lasted 120 days.
Jolt's new T-Mobile based plans keep the 10¢/minute rate, but texts are now cheaper at 5¢/each while data is a more expensive 10¢/MB. Top-ups are more expensive too; $25 good for 60 days, $50 for 180 days and $100 good for a year. That makes the minimum monthly cost higher as well; $8.66/month using the $50 or $100 refill compared with $3.33/month with the old $10 top up. As before, Jolt deducts a $1/month service charge plus a 99¢ e911 fee from your PayGo balance every month.
Jolt's new PayGo plans don't seem very competitive against fellow T-Mobile MVNOs PTel and Lycamobile which have lower voice and text rates and a lower monthly minimum as well. Jolt's new monthly "Flex" plans, which also use the T-Mobile network, look a little better. There are three Flex plans:
- $5/month for 50 minutes (10¢/min) or 100 SMS or MMS (5¢/ea) or 50 MB (10¢/MB).
- $10/month for 250 minutes (4¢/min) or 500 SMS or MMS (2¢/ea) or 200 MB (5¢/MB).
- $20/month for 500 minutes (4¢/min) or 1000 SMS or MMS (2¢/ea) or 400 MB (5¢/MB),
Jolt SIMs are free and auto pay is available and recommended as the only other way to add funds is by calling CS with a credit or debit card. Fortunately, 24/7 phone support is available.
If you call or text internationally Jolt offers no extra charge international texting as well as international direct dialing. International rates are pretty good too. Calls to mobiles cost 0.5¢ to Canada, 1¢ to China, 4.1¢ to Mexico, 13.1¢ to the Philippines and 8.1¢ to the UK. On PayGo these rates are in addition to the domestic charge of 10¢/minute.
Jolt's monthly unlimited plans (shown in the table below) have changed as well. They are still AT&T based but now include unlimited international texts. Jolt no longer offers their $40 and $55 international plans which included unlimited calls to 50 countries.
|Plan (Monthly Price) 1||Voice||Global Text||MMS (Picture Messages)||International Call Credit||Data|
|$30||Unlimited||Unlimited||Limited only by available data||500 MB 2|
|$40||Unlimited||Unlimited||Limited only by available data||$1||1 GB 2|
|$50||Unlimited||Unlimited||Limited only by available data||$1||2 GB 2|
|$60||Unlimited||Unlimited||Limited only by available data||$1||3 GB 2|
2 Data is cut off after half the included amount is used (500 MB plans are cut off after 250 MB, 1 GB plans after 500 MB and the 3 GB plan stops at 1.5 GB) The user has to call customer support to have the rest of the data released.
Jolt's unlimited plans are powered by Airvoice and are subject to Airvoice's onerous split data policy which cuts data off after half has been used. It takes a call to customer support to get the bytes flowing again. At least Jolt, unlike Airvoice, offers 24/7 support.
Except for the Flex plans, it's hard to recommend any of Jolt's current offerings, the PayGo plans are uncompetitive and the monthly unlimited plans are the same as Airvoice's except that Airvoice doesn't add a processing fee to airtime purchases and includes unlimited international calls to some destinations its $40, $50 and $60 plans instead of a $1 call credit.
T-Mobile and T-Mobile MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared
AT&T and AT&T MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared