BYO Wireless ( ) 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:
Customer Call Center
1325 Barksdale Blvd.
Bossier City, LA 71111
New Wireless Service Provider:
Budget Mobile, L.L.C.
Customer Call Center
1325 Barksdale Blvd., Suite 200
Bossier City, LA 71111
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|
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?
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,
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