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Budget Mobile Absorbing BYO Wireless, Plans Changing For The Worse

Verizon and T-Mobile MVNO BYO Wireless (855-801-2969) is telling customers that BYO is being merged into its parent company, Lifeline provider Budget Mobile effective September 1, 2015. BYO has always been a part of Budget so this seems more like a re-branding rather than a merger. The transition has been ongoing for a while and BYO stopped activating new lines over a month ago. Up to now, BYO and Budget have been very quiet about what the change will mean for current users. But yesterday, some BYO customers got emails with more information. Here's one of the emails which a user posted on HowardForums:

Dear Valued Customer:

On September 1, 2015, your mobile service provider, BYO Wireless L.L.C. will transfer all existing wireless accounts, which are currently being serviced by BYO, to Budget PrePay, Inc. d/b/a Budget Mobile. This means on September 1st, Budget Mobile will be your wireless service provider, will collect your prepaid monthly wireless service payments and assist with all customer service related issues going forward.

BYO shall continue to collect your prepaid monthly wireless service payments, at www.byowireless.com, and through the automatic payment option, up until August 31, 2015. Then starting September 1st, all prepaid wireless service payments should be made payable to Budget Mobile at www.budgetmobile.com or by calling the customer call center at 888-777-4007 each month. Budget Mobile will not accept the automatic payment option set up through BYO.

In addition, you will see changes in the prepaid wireless service plans. Below is a comparison of BYO prepaid service plans to Budget Mobile prepaid service plans.

If you have any questions for either your present service provider, BYO Wireless, or your new service provider, Budget Mobile, in regards to your account or the status of your transfer, please contact either provider by using the information below:

Current Wireless Service Provider:
BYO Wireless, L.L.C.
Customer Call Center
1325 Barksdale Blvd.
Bossier City, LA 71111
support@byowireless.zendesk.com

New Wireless Service Provider:
Budget Mobile, L.L.C.
Customer Call Center
1325 Barksdale Blvd., Suite 200
Bossier City, LA 71111
1-888-777-4007
support@budgetmobile.zendesk.com

Kindest Regards:

BYO Wireless, L.L.C

Attached to the email was a table showing the new plans. However not all users got the same table and according to Budget that's because they will be offering different plans in different states.

Texas and New Jersey BYO customers are being offered six plans that are significantly worse that BYO's old plans:

$5 - 100 minutes, 100 texts, no data. BYO was 100, 100 and 20 MB.
$10 -250 minutes, 250 texts, no data. BYO was 250, 250, 50 MB.
$15 - 350 minutes, unlimited texts, 50 MB data. No BYO equivalent.
$20 - 500 minutes, unlimited texts, 250 MB data. BYO was 500 minutes, unlimited texts, 500 MB.
$30 - 1000 minutes, unlimited texts, 400 MB data. No BYO equivalent.
$40 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 500 MB data. BYO was the same with 1 GB.

Add-on prices are:

$5 - 100 minutes OR 1000 texts OR 100 MB. BYO was 1000 texts OR 250 MB.
$10 - 250 minutes OR 2000 texts OR 250 MB. BYO was 2000 texts OR 500 MB.
$15 - 400 minutes OR 4000 texts OR 400 MB. BYO was 500 minutes OR 4000 texts OR 1 GB.

But a California user's choices were even worse with just three plans available:

$40 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, no data.
$45 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 250 MB data.
$50 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 3 GB data.

I've asked Budget Mobile for a  list of plans for all states and will publish it if and when I get it.

I spoke with a BYO customer support representative who told me that the plans varied by state and confirmed the California pricing was as listed above. She said that customers would still be able to bring their own phones and that both T-Mobile and (3G only) Verizon based service would continue to be be available.

For comparison, here's the old BYO plan lineup which won't be available after August 31, 2015:
Price 1 Talk Minutes Texts Data
$5 100 100 20 MB
$10 250 250 50 MB
$20 500 unlimited 500 MB
$25 unlimited unlimited none
$40 unlimited unlimited 1 GB
$55 unlimited unlimited 3 GB
$70 unlimited unlimited 5 GB
1 BYO adds State and local sales taxes, 911 fees and a Universal Service Fund fee to monthly plan prices. These taxes and fees vary by state and locality and range from 7% to 16%.

The old BYO actually had some nicely priced plans at the low end, but the new Texas plans are significantly worse and the California ones are awful. Plus the email makes it sound like current customer's plans will not be grandfathered and will have to switch to one of the new plans.

These changes puzzle me. The tend in mobile is to lower prices not higher ones. If their really isn't any grandfathering, I can't imagine many current BYO customers, especially California ones on sub-$40 plans, will stay. I also don't understand the point of having different plans in different states. That makes sense for Lifeline service because state lifeline subsidies vary. But there's no subsidy for non-Lifeline service so why confuse customers with different plans and prices?

Update 8/24:

A South Carolina reader forwarded an email to me that he received from Budget listing the plans that would be available in South Carolina after Sept 1st:

  • $5 - 100 minutes, 100 texts, no data.
  • $12.75 -250 minutes, 250 texts, no data.
  • $15 - 350 minutes, unlimited texts, 50 MB data.
  • $20 - 500 minutes, unlimited texts, 250 MB data.
  • $30 - 1000 minutes, unlimited texts, 400 MB data.
  • $40 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 500 MB data.

Which are the same as the Texas plans except for the $12.75 plan which is $10 in Texas for the same thing. South Carolina add-on prices are the same as Texas.

A Washington state reader left a comment saying he was told by BYO CS that there would be no change to plans in that state.

Update 8/26: A New Jersey user reported that his new plans were the same as the Texas plans listed above,

Related posts:
Verizon and Verizon MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared 
Big Changes at BYO Wireless But No Sign of Verizon LTE
BYO Wireless Launches GSM Service, Doubles Data For Auto-Pay Users

36 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. You are jumping the gun. Nothing will be known until 9-1-15. Those Plans you listed are only for certain states for walk in Pre-Paid users not affiliated with Lifeline services in TX. In CA it was posted only 3 Unlimited plans would be available. I seriously would not take what is in the e-mail to customers as an actual example of what is going to be available after 9-1.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like an insider.

      Delete
    2. Anything is possible and plans could change between now and the first. However. I spoke to a BYO customer support representative today who told me that the ONLY plans available to me as a California resident after Sept. 1st were:
      $40 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, no data.
      $45 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 250 MB data.
      $50 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 400 MB data.

      Delete
    3. Did she also tell you that everything you see on the Budget Mobile Web site is going to change come Sept 1st? That is what I was told.
      I also received an email showing only 3 Unlimited plans available to me and I am in CA
      Except the $50 Plan shows 3GB not 400MB
      There is a screen shot posted on the BYO thread on HoFo

      Delete
    4. The $50 California plan does have 3GB. 400 MB was my typo, now corrected.

      Delete
  2. i always believed that the Budget Mobile brand had more staying power of the two brands. they just had to try a separate sub-brand (BYO) that did not come with the stigma of being a LifeLine service provider. In all reality BYO Wireless has really all along been disquised as Budget Mobile. Back to square one for Budget PrePay Inc.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If they've always been the same company why would they stop activating new lines for over a month?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i do not know, but when i was with byo Wireless and i dialed 611 for customer service the voice first says and said "Hi welcome to budget". after hearing this i decided to do a little research and was able to open an online account WITH Budget Mobile by just using my cell number, just like their website OFFERs under MY Account, by the way for those 6 Months i was with BYO i paid for my service throught My budget Mobile account with out having to pay the 14.3% total tax rates for my state as BYO was adding on. When i ported out AT&T csr could not find anything for BYO wireless so i told them to check Budget Mobile. Bingo. enough said.

      Delete
  4. You want more for less and a soft cap only? Switch it Cricket (AT&T) or Total Wireless (Verizon).

    Why people use these obscure providers is beyond me....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not everyone uses 2000 minutes/messages/megabytes a month.

      Obscure providers tend to feature better deals on the lower end of the usage scale.

      Delete
    2. Sounds like the answer is "Lifeline".

      Delete
    3. Budget Mobile has two lines of plans they have the Lifeline Plans and also a line of prepaid plans (same as BYO) that they offer. the prepaid plans page link is at the bottom of thier home page, but the plans have never been updated on the link,but were when you logged into your budget mobile account. the exact same BYO wireless plans were available. You could not buy any Lifeline Plans unless your account was certified for those plans.

      Delete
    4. Total Wireless = America Movil = Avoid at all costs!!! (even if I have to pay more)

      Delete
  5. These plane are not any good at all. I'll stick to Airvoice unlimted talk and talk for 20 bucks a month tax and fee are included.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let alone it took an army of AT&T CSRs and port/ transfer number specialist to get BYO/Budget Mobile to release my number to my GoPhone. Stay Away as far as i am concerned.

      Delete
  6. BYO / Budget is far too expensive

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wonder if the rollover addon glitch will continue to work? Ive been enjoying my $5 a month service 😄

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will until after the 1st of Sept when the current BYO plans are eliminated. I just topped up a few weeks ago and the roll over worked, so I might just top up again on the 31st to draw this out a little longer. After that I have no use for the plans that they are apparently offering those of us in CA.
      .
      I still think Budget will be offering similar plans as they did under BYO and we won't know until Sept 1st.

      Delete
    2. The Texas BYO customer was offered the "6 OLD" never updated plans on Budet Mobiles prepaid plans link. When i was with BYO paying for my service through my Buget Mobile account the current BYO plans were exactly the same as on the Budget Mobile site, with actually MORE add-on options than the BYO site. Like Anonymous August 22, 2015 at 11:19 AM said "I still think Budget will be offering similar plans as they did under BYO" , i agree. I do believe Budget Mobile is NOT going to be offering service in every state in the country, but only states that they have approval to with their LifeLine Programs, hence "different plans in different states". No future expansion hopes for Mississippi, Nebraska, Alaska, Illinois according to their site, various other states with planned expansion-approval.

      Delete
  8. Just talked to BYO customer service. They told me state of Washington plans are staying exactly the same as current BYO plans- and they will be adding back the $15 plan they removed a few months ago. Looks like no need to change carrier for Washingtonians if you are satisfied with BYO!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I haven't received any notification in NH about my plan. I am hoping they stay the same and the $5 glitch keeps working :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Would it be possible to convert a non-Lifeline account to Lifeline on Budget Mobile if the account owner qualifies for Lifeline?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Contact them by email and ask what your plans will be. I emailed them because I didn't get an email with the plan changes. I heard back and mine are the same as Texas

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just got an email that all verizon customers on byo become selectel customers come sept 1... anyone else get that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's only in certain states. In other states BYO customers are going to Budget Mobile. What state are you in?

      Delete
    2. Maybe budget mobile is only for gsm customers? It doesnt state which byo customers in the op.

      Delete
    3. I'm a CDMA customer in MD and am being moved over to Budget.

      Delete
  13. In Virginia, I got this email:
    On September 1, 2015, your mobile service provider, BYO Wireless L.L.C. will transfer all existing wireless accounts, which are currently being serviced by BYO, to Selectel Wireless. This means on September 1st, Selectel will be your wireless service provider, will collect your prepaid monthly wireless service payments and assist with all customer service related issues going forward.

    Selectel = big change in price

    ReplyDelete
  14. In Maryland, I got an email that my (VZ CDMA) phone will go to Budget. Plan listing looks VERY close t other BYO plans, except that they added back in a $15 and $30 plan. I had the $15 (350/unlim/50) with BYO before they took it away ad only offered unlim. texts on their $20 plan, so this will save $5/mo n on my non-smartphone but heavy texting line. None of the plans are really wothwhile for all but the lightest smartphone users.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I tried changing providers and they've locked MY phone!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Their CS got back to me pretty quickly. Who were you porting to? Sometimes the receiving company just doesn't put it in right for MVNO's. But this is why I moved my main number to Google Voice.

    ReplyDelete
  17. For anyone that cares, the top up glitch still works on Budget Mobile as it did with BYO. I've been rolling over unlimited talk and text and adding $5/data a month with BYO and I just topped up again and it's working on Budget.

    ReplyDelete
  18. huh. I just did the $10 top-up. noticed the minutes/texts/data stayed huge from last time. thought it would just stay that way until the previous month expired on the 19th. I'll have to check and see if they're still there tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Same as the poster above. I went to port my number and they've locked my phone. It's a nightmare dealing with them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. my rollover appears to be alive and well just like you said. 5 days past the previous 'expiration', and it still shows a ton of min/texts/data even though I only added the $10 min/texts top up. shows expiration next month. guess I'll try the $5 next time.

    ReplyDelete
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