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Defense Mobile, a Prepaid Service By and For Veterans

Defense Mobile is a unique prepaid MVNO that is available only to active duty military personnel, veterans and their families.

Originally a Sprint MVNO when it launched in 2013, Defense Mobile currently offers service on the AT&T and Sprint networks and plans to add Verizon based service in August. The Sprint based service includes off-network voice, messaging and data roaming. There's no roaming on the AT&T platform. According to Defense Mobile,  90% of their customers are on AT&T.

Proof of military service is required to become a Defense Mobile customer. The company gives back to the military and veterans community in several ways. It only hires veterans for its US based customer support and donates 10% of its profits to veterans service organizations. Defense Mobile customers get a several free perks including a service related email address (...@armymobile.com, ...@navymobile.com etc.) and a smartphone app called MILISOURCE that helps veterans find and use all the services and benefits they are eligible for. The Defense Mobile's Board of Directors and Advisors includes a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  two of the longest serving Navy SEALS, five FLAG Officers and a former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force.

Defense Mobile offers both individual and family plans.

Defense Mobile Individual Plans
Plan Monthly Cost 1 Voice Messages Data
Alpha $30 300 300 300 MB
Bravo $35 unlimited unlimited 1 GB
Charlie $40 unlimited unlimited 3 GB
Delta $50 unlimited unlimited 6 GB
Zulu $80 unlimited unlimited 12 GB

Denense Mobile Family Plans
Plan Monthly Cost 1 Lines Voice Messages Data (Shared)
Squad $95 2 unlimited unlimited 12 GB
Platoon $130 3 unlimited unlimited 18 GB
Battalion $140 4 unlimited unlimited 24 GB
Regiment $170 5 unlimited unlimited 30 GB
Brigade $195 6 unlimited unlimited 36 GB
1 Defense Mobile taxes and fees average 20% and are charged in states like California and New Hampshire that don't normally tax prepaid airtime.

LTE is available on all Defense Mobile plans on the Sprint and AT&T networks and will also be available when on the Verizon based service when it launches. Tethering and hotspot are allowed on all plans.  Call waiting, three way calling and conditional and unconditional call forwarding are all available, as is Visual Voicemail on iPhones.

Defense Mobile supports BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) for both Sprint and AT&T network compatible devices. There are no activation fees and SIMs are 99¢ each when purchased with a plan. Defense Mobile also sells a variety of phones ranging from a $29.99 flip phone to flagships like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S5.

When comparing Defense Mobile prices with other operators you need to take into taxes into account. Unlike most prepaid operators, Defense Mobile adds postpaid style taxes and fees of 10-30% to plan prices. Taxes vary by state and city and include the usual sales taxes plus pass-throughs of regulatory surcharges and fees that Defense Mobile is required to pay. With a San Francisco, CA billing address I was quoted $9.16 in taxes and fees on the $30 plan. Neither California or San Francisco charge any point of sale taxes on prepaid airtime so these are all provider-level telecom taxes that Defense Mobile is passing on.  In contrast, California users pay no taxes or fees on Boost Mobile, MetroPCS, Cricket or T-Mobile prepaid services.

Defense Mobile accepts credit and debit card for payments online. Auto pay is available. Defense Mobile dealers (find a dealer) also accept cash payments.

20 comments:

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  1. Good coverage, decent value

    ....and good values.

    A big cheer for this, in this world of Lycamobiles and other really lame MVNO's.

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  2. Doesn't sound like our service personnel are getting such a bargain, especially when compared to carriers for which refills are available from CallingMart.com .

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  3. Cricket Wireless is still better and you don't have to be in the army to sign up.

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    1. That's true for every single MVNO and subsidiary plan out there right now. But this one has an interesting angle, at least.

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  4. it would be a pretty good deal for our service members if the taxes were included like they are on cricket.

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  5. Yes since 90% are on ATT a family of 5 could pay $100 on Cricket.

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  6. 5 Lines for 100 dollars on Cricket. 5 Lines for 170 On Defense Mobile. I rather be on a family plan and have my own data then to be on one and share with everybody. That sucks. One person can just decide to use more data then the rest.

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  7. Defense mobile used to be sold at RadioShack before they went into bankruptcy.
    Actually during the last day of one store being open, they had a 90% off sale they had a gs3 from defense mobile that's unlocked and I got it for 65 bucks. Yes the gs3 is older, but for that price unlocked it's a great deal.

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  8. These aren't not even good value at all in comparison to existing MVNOs--especially when you consider the hidden cost of taxes (20% is ridiculous)! Service members, especially younger ones, or those who've only ever been on active duty right out of high school, have not enough real world experience to discern good deals from rip-offs (BEFORE ANYBODY TRIES TO ATTACK ME ON MY COMMENT ABOUT THE MILITARY, LET IT BE KNOWN THAT I'M A SERVICE MEMBER MYSELF). They automatically assume services MARKETED as "military exclusives" as a bargain without doing research. And businesses like Defense Mobile count on these naivety and gullibility to prey on.

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    1. I agree with you - Defense is not a good value. Anytime a deal is only for a select few - military, credit union member, etc, usually there is no deal. That's companies preying on the naive. Even Costco sometimes is not a deal.

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    2. Very true, although I would argue on behalf of Costco (where I've been a long time member of). Costco only sells the highest quality product. And with the exception of electronics, Costco members have the privilege of returning their Costco purchases anytime for any reason.

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  9. I agreed 20 percent tax is insane on top of what you paying. I rather go with Cricket or Metropcs I know taxs are included in the plan. These plans suppose to be a good deal for military folks but if you look hard enough they are not really. There are alot of mvno out there have better deals and you dont have to be in the military to sign up.

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    1. Part of the problem... .well, the WHOLE problem, is the existence of these taxes in the first place. These should be taxed like any other good or service, no different.

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    2. Yeah, I'll bet you think government should be free, too. And throw in a free lunch.
      They tax everything they can get away with, for as much as possible. Telephone taxes are a preferred target because everyone needs one.
      Oregon just started taxing drivers based on the number of miles they drive. In addition to the gasoline tax.

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    3. Where did you get the "government for free"idea? I said that the phone cards, etc should have existing taxes for goods, services. These being in a hefty amount of revenue..m and the government is already making a near record tax haul.

      That's not a free lunch.

      Yes, the Oregon government is putting the screws to the people. Sales tax same as any good is all that is needed for gasoline.

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    4. @ Anonymous July 4, 2015 at 8:25 AM - But consider the fact that many MVNOs rates are ALL-INCLUSIVE with no surprise fees and taxes for the customers rather than hide the true cost like Defense Mobile and hosts of other MVNOs.

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  10. I KNEW a gsm platform was more appropriate for a military based mvno. Geez, what dummy thought a Sprint platform could carry it IDK. Know your market. Geez. 90 percent are on Att gsm. No duh. lmao.

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  11. Unless it includes free roaming when I'm overseas, it's not a good deal at all.

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  12. I have been with every major carrier and a few MVNOs. I have to tell you that the customer service with Defense Mobile is the best I've had. When dealing with electronics stuff can and will go wrong. It's how you deal with it that matters. As for value,that's great also.They a lot of different plans and call quality is very good. They run on Verizon and AT&T networks.

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    Replies
    1. And it's on the only two true nationwide networks

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