posted on HowardForums that the T-Mobile MVNO is ceasing operations on January 30, 2016. PTel is sending the following message to dealers:
PTel To Discontinue Service on January 30
01/20/2016 10:55 am
We regret to inform you that after 15 long years, PlatinumTel's journey in wireless has come to an end and we will no longer offer service effective the end of January. Accordingly, activations have been disabled, and your ability to top-up will soon be stopped as well. Please begin to port your customers to new providers. PIN requirements for port-outs have been disabled.
The dealer says that service on PTel's Giv Mobile brand is also ending service Jan. 31.
PTel hasn't announced the shutdown on their website or their Twitter or Facebook accounts. However, I can confirm that activations as well as phone and airtime purchases are disabled on the PTel site. Chat is also disabled.
I haven't been able to contact Ptel by phone (been on hold over 50 minutes). But a PrepaidPhoneNews reader who was able to reach PTel using Chat earlier today was told that the shutdown is indeed happening J
Unfortunately, the prepaid landscape has changed a lot in the 15 years since PTel launched. In their battle for market share, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint as well as Amerca Movil's TracFone have gotten very aggressive with their prepaid pricing making it difficult for small independent MVNOs like PTel to survive. . In particular, T-Mobile's MetroPCS and GoSmart brands have undercut PTel's pricing on everything except low margin PayGo and sub $30 monthly plans. I fear that PTel's demise is just the beginning and that we will see more MVNOs go down in the coming years. I hope I'm wrong as fewer MVNOs means fewer choices, less competition and likely higher prices eventually.
Update 1 PM PST 1/20. I just recieved an email from PTel support confirming the shut down. It reads:
I regret to inform Ptel Mobile will be discontinuing wireless service as of January 31, 2016. We urge subscribers to process their requested Port Outs by January 26, 2016 to ensure successful port outs. Additionally, all wireless accounts will remain active until 1/31/2016 to ensure carrier transfers. At this time we are working to supply details via the site. Currently an SMS has been sent in batches to subscribers to inform of service update. Please note- the next step to take will consist of porting out of Ptel Mobile in order to retain your same number. Here are the following suggested companies for service: Ultra Mobile- 888-777-0446/Simple Mobile-877-878-7908/Metro PCS- 888-863-8768/Ting- 855 846 4389/ LycaMobile- 866-277-3221/T-Mobile- 877-413-5903. To initiate a port request, please contact the new selected service provider. Please supply the new service provider with the phone number as the account number. The 4-digit PIN on the account is 0000. We appreciate your patience and cooperation in this matter.
Update 8:30 PM 1/22: PTel has updated their website's home page with information about the shutdown and links to special offers from Ultra Mobile, Simple Mobile and Ting. PTel customers can get a free SIM and free month of service on Ultra or Simple or a $75 account credit from Ting. For the Ting offer you need to purchase a SIM for $9 plus $4 for shipping.
Update 10:30 PM: It looks like T-Mobile is letting PTel stay up a few days longer. The PTel homepage has been updated to say you now have until Feb 5 to port out.
To port out of Ptel, your account number is your 10 digit phone number and your PIN is 0000. PTel recommends initiating port outs by 1/26 to insure the port completes by 1/31.
Related: Prepaid Operator Profile: PTel Mobile