Total Wireless website popped up last week carrying a TracFone Wireless copyright notice in the footer. TracFone, which is owned by huge Mexican based multinational mobile operator América Móvil, already operates the TracFone, NET10, Straight Talk, Simple Mobile, Page Plus and SafeLink prepaid MVNO brands in the US.
Total Wireless' coverage map makes it obvious that it's running on the Verizon network, as do the four Android devices shown on the Total Wireless home page. The $79.99 ZTE Savvy Z750, $89.99 Motorola Moto E XT830c, $149.99 Alcatel OneTouch Pop Icon and $249.99 Samsung Galaxy S3 all should be familiar to TracFone watchers.
According to the site, Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) and Hotspot will also be available on Total Wireless. There's a picture of the Unimax U240C 3G only hotspot but no price is listed for it or for hotspot data plans.
Total Wireless' plans seem intended to compete with AT&T's Cricket brand with its emphasis on multi-line or shared plans. There are three multi-line options:
- $60/month for 2 lines with unlimited talk & text and 5 GB of shared data
- $85/month for 3 lines with unlimited talk & text and 9 GB of shared data
- $110/month for 4 lines with unlimited talk & text and 12 GB of shared data
- $25/month: unlimited talk & text and no data
- $35/month: unlimited talk & text and 2.5 GB
Total Wireless' $35/month for unlimited talk and text and 2.5 GB individual plan pricing is considerably less expensive than other Verizon based options including TracFone's other brands. Page Plus is $39.99 for unlimited T&T and 1 GB, Straight Talk and NET10 are $45 and $50 respectively for unlimited T&T and 3 GB.
Total Wireless shared plans are also cheaper than NET10's family plans which cost $90 for 2 lines, $130 for 3 lines and $170 for 4 lines with each line getting unlimited talk and text and 3 GB of data.
The trade off for lower prices
Update 2/24: The Total Wireless Terms and Conditions page confirms that LTE is not available and that LTE capable phones are not allowed: "Phones and wireless devices that are 4G and 4G LTE capable are currently not supported by Total Wireless." Hat tip to an anonymous reader for discovering this quote.
Although the Total Wireless site seems to be in a relatively finished state, the actual service doesn't appear to be live yet. Attempting to buy a phone brings up a "Coming Soon" page. The site also says "Available at Walmart" but I'm unable to find any mention of Total Wireless on walmart.com.
According to PhoneNews.com, Total Wireless will be sold exclusively online and at Walmart.
Update 2/25: It looks like it's now possible to buy phones and service on the Total Wireless site. The currently available phones are all 3G as expected. They are the $59.99 LG Optimus Fuel, $89.99 Motorola Moto E XT830c, $99.99 Samsung Galaxy Ace Style, $149.99 Alcatel OneTouch Pop Icon and $249.99 Samsung Galaxy S3. Shipping is free on orders of $29.99 or more. BYOP access codes don't seem to be available online yet.
Update 2/28: Total Wireless phones and airtime cards are now available at walmart.com. Total Wireless BYOP access codes are now available on the Total Call site.