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Prepaid Operator Profile: Pure TalkUSA

This one of a series of Prepaid Phone News' profiles covering the major US mobile operators and MVNOS.

Overview: Pure Talk USA is an AT&T MVNO that has been in business since 2009. It's a part of Telrite Corporation, a long distance operator and internet access provider.

Technology: Pure TalkUSA uses AT&T's GSM and LTE network which operates on 850 and 1900 MHz for GSM voice, Edge (2.5G), UTMS (3G) and HSPA+ (4G) data. LTE data is available on bands 2 (1900 Mhz), 4 (1700 Mhz), 5 (1900 Mhz) 12 and 17 (700 Mhz) and 29 and 30 (2300 Mhz).

Plans: PureTalk currently offers monthly plans including family plans as well as discounted plans for seniors.

Individual plans:
Plan Monthly Cost Voice SMS domestic / Int'l MMS Data
Simple 300 $10 300 "minutes" (also used for texts) 1 1/3 minute each/25¢ 2 50 3 50 MB 3
Simple 600 $15 600  "minutes" (also used for texts) 1 1/3 min each/25¢ 2 100 3 100 MB 3
Unlimited $24 unlimited unlimited / NA 200, Overage: $4 for 100 MMS 200 MB, Overage: $4 for 100 MB
Unlimited $29 unlimited unlimited / NA unlimited 1 GB, Overage: $4 for 100 MB
Unlimited $35 unlimited unlimited / NA unlimited 2 GB
Overage: $4 for 100 MB
Unlimited $50 unlimited unlimited / NA unlimited 4 GB
Overage: $4 for 100 MB
1 Simple Plan minutes do not roll over. Add on minutes are available at $10 for 130 minutes. Unused add on minutes do rollover but are used before plan minutes.
2 International calling and texting requires a $10 International Calling Card.
3 Available data and MMS add-ons $9.95/month for 200 MMS and 400 MB of data or $19.90/momth for 1 GB and 400 MMS for $19.90. Unused add-on MMS and data expire after 30 days.

Family Plans: Although Pure TalkUSA calls them Family plans, these plans can also be used as single line plans. The prices below are the base price for a single line. Additional lines (limit 4) cost $5 per month which also includes 70 additional minutes. All phones on a Family plan share the same bucket of minutes and texts, but data and MMS add-ons are per line.
Plan Monthly Cost Voice SMS domestic / Int'l MMS Data
Family 160 1 $10160 (6.25¢/min) 1/3 min each/25¢ 2 None. Use add-ons 3 None. Use add-ons 3
Family 400 1 $20 400 (5¢/min) 1/3 min each/25¢ 2 None. Use add-ons 3 None. Use add-ons 3
Family 700 1 $30700 (4.3¢/min) 1/3 min each/25¢ 2 None. Use add-ons 3 None. Use add-ons 3
Family 1100 1 $40 1100 (3.6¢/min) 1/3 min each/25¢ 2 None. Use add-ons 3 None. Use add-ons 3
Family 1500 1 $50 1500 (3.3¢/min) 1/3 min each/25¢ 2 None. Use add-ons 3 None. Use add-ons 3
1 Unused minutes roll-over when the plan renews
2 International calling and texting requires a $10 International Calling Card.
3 Available data and MMS add-ons: $9.95/month for 200 MMS and 400 MB of data or $19.90/momth for 1 GB and 400 MMS for $19.90. Unused add-on MMS and data expire after 30 days.

Senior AddVantage Plans: These plans, which are only available to customers at least 55 years old, have a loyalty bonus feature. The plans' minutes allowance is increased by 10% after each of first 5 months of a customer's service. After 6 months the bonus stops increasing but users keep getting 50% more minutes for as long as they remain on the plan.
Plan Monthly Cost Month 1 Minutes Month 2 Minutes Month 3 Minutes Month 4 Minutes Month 5 Minutes Month 6 and Beyond
AddVantage 300 $10 300 330 360 390 420 450
AddVantage 600 $15 600 660 720 780 840 900
The Senior AddVantage 300 plan includes 50 MB and 50 MMS. The Senior AddVantage 600 plan includes 100 MB and 100 MMS. Data can be added to any of the Senior AddVantage plans by purchasing a data add-on: 9.95/month for 200 MMS and 400 MB of data or $19.90/month for 1 GB and 400 MMS for $19.90. Unused add-on MMS and data expire after 30 days.

Taxes and Fees: plan prices include all state and local taxes and including sales taxes and e911 fees.

International calling and Messaging:  Pure TalkUSA's international options are limited. A $10 International Calling Card is required to make international calls which are charged per minute. International rates are not listed on the Pure TalkUSA site. On the Simple, Family and Senior AddVantage plans, sending an international text also requires an International Calling Card and costs 25c/per message. Outgoing international texts are blocked on unlimited plans,

International Roaming: Not available.

Coverage: PureTalk USA's coverage (map) is the same as GoPhone, AT&T native network only, no roaming.

Devices: Pure TalkUSA offers a selection of feature phones, Android phones and the full iPhone line. Pure TalkUSA is an authorized Apple vendor so MMS works without the jail-breaking or workarounds required with AT&T MVNOs that are not Apple authorized.

BYOP SIMs are $3 online. They work in locked and unlocked AT&T phones and unlocked GSM phones and come with 150 free minutes for the first month on Simple, Family and Senior AddVantage plans.

How to Buy: Pure TalkUSA phones and SIMs are available online at puretalkusa.com and at Sears and Kmart stores.

How to Activate: Pure TalkUSA phones and SIMs can be activated online or by calling 1-877-820-7873.

Data Settings:
Name: Pure TalkUSA Web 
APN: att.mvno
MMSC: http://mmsc.cingular.com
MMS Proxy: proxy.mvno.telrite.com
MMS Port: 80

Not all phones have all the fields listed. There may also be additional fields not listed above. Leave any additional fields at their default values.

Account Management: You can check your rate plan, payment amount, expiration date and usage details and make payments and plan changes using the Account section of the Pure TalkUSA or by calling 611 from your wireless phone, or 1-877-820-7873 from any phone.

Simple and Family plan customers can check their minute balance by dialing  *777# from their Simple Talk phone.

Payment Options: Auto-pay using a credit or debit card is Pure TalkUSA's preferred payment method. Prepaid credit or debit cards are not accepted for auto-pay. One-time payments can be made online or by calling customer support. A $2 processing fee is charged on one-time payments. Sears and Kmart stores sell Pure TalkUSA plan payment cards that can be used to add money to your account.

Call Forwarding, Call Waiting and 3-Way Calling

To forward all calls to another number: Press *21*, the 10-digit number to which you wish to forward your calls, and # and SEND. For example: *21*1234567890# SEND, forwards your calls to the phone number 123-456-7890.  You will receive a confirmation message. Unless you are on an unlimited plan, you will be charged for forwarded calls.
To cancel call forwarding: Press #21# SEND. You will receive a confirmation message.

To forward unanswered calls only (conditional call forwarding): Press *004* followed by the number you want calls forwarded to and # and SEND (*004*-123-456-7890# SEND) and wait for a confirmation tone or message. Unless you are on an unlimited plan, you will be charged for forwarded calls.
To cancel conditional call forwarding: Press #004# SEND and wait for a confirmation tone or message.

Call waiting:  Call waiting is enabled by default. It lets you place one call on hold while you take another call. When you are on a call and have another incoming call, you will hear a short tone. You'll have approximately 30 seconds to answer before the second caller hears a standard message or is forwarded to voicemail. You will be charged for both calls.

To answer Call Waiting: To put the first call on hold, press "SEND." You'll automatically be connected with the second call. To return to the first call, press "SEND" again. To switch between the two calls, press "SEND."

3-Way Calling: Lets you create a conference call between yourself and two other people. You will be charged for both calls if you are not on an unlimited plan.
  • While on the first call, dial the 10-digit number of the second person and press "SEND." The first person is automatically put on hold while the call is made.
  • When the 2nd person answers, press "SEND" to create the conference call.
Pure TalkUSA "Secret" Codes:

*#62# - to display your alternate voice mail access number.
 *777# - view Simple and Family plan minute balaances

Free information services calls
611 - Pure TalkUSA customer care
711 - Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for the hearing and speech impaired
911 - Emergency services

Customer Service: Pure TalkUSA's US based customer support gets positive reviews from PrepaidPhoneNews readers. The following support options are available:

Email support: via this web form.

Phone support: 1-877-820-7873 General support is available 8 AM to 8 PM ET every day. Tech support is available 9 AM to 8 PM every day

Pure TalkUSA on social media: Facebook, Twitter

Pure TalkUSA  Sales and General Information Web Sitehttps://www.puretalkusa.com

Pure TalkUSA Pros: competitive pricing, no taxes, good US based customer support, BYOD, Call waiting, call forwarding and 3-way calling supported, iPhone MMs works out of the box.

Pure TalkUSA Cons: Limited retail presence, limited payment options, limited international calling and texting support.

Updated 8/22/16 $5/month Senior AddVantage 80 plan discontinued.

34 comments:

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  1. Is the iPhone now fully supported on PureTalkUSA ? MMS, data, tethering, and visual voicemail all work without messing with the APN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MMS works, I don't know about visual voicemail and hotspot.

      Delete
    2. I looked into Pure talk recently. They do not offer tethering at all. They weren't certain about the availability of visual voicemail either. I ended up going with Go Phone since I do need hotspot on occasion.

      Delete
    3. I have tethered my Android phone with Pure Talk. Not sure why anyone would say otherwise. I doubt that Pure Talk cares as data is sold in fixed amounts.

      Delete
  2. Puretalk is my favorite AT&T MVNO. Always great service, and now they provide LTE service and lower plan pricing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dennis, the Simple 600 shows on their website to include 100MB data and 100MMS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've corrected the post, thanks for pointing out the error.

      Delete
  4. $10 plan is good for parking a phone number.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Why wouldn't they want to accept prepaid debit cards for autopay but still allow them for one time payments? Seems like a strange policy to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect that Pure Talk has had a high incidence of autopay failing because a prepaid card has an insufficient balance. That means extra customer service expenses related to tracking down and contacting the user. In addition, the customer could be without service without knowing it and blame Pure Talk leading to even more customer service time. PureTalk likely wants to reduce support costs by limiting auto pay to non-prepaid cards where the failure rate is lower.

      When you make a one time payment, you are online or on the phone when you make the payment and Pure Talk can give you immediate feedback if the transaction fails. Plus they charge you $2 which helps cover customer support costs of accepting one time payments over the phone.

      Delete
  6. ...Would be nice...BUT...they actually charge for OVERAGES? Hard- capped DATA should go the Way of the DINOSAURS... Gotta go with T-Mobile or one of the subsidiaries ( GOSMART) or a T-MOBILE MVNO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just to be clear, the customer has to request additional data for purchase. There will be no unexpected automatic charge for going over the data limit.

      What is the big deal? Call them and request more data if you run out. TMobile may offer more data but coverage will not be as good as the ATT network. Your choice. I prefer a phone that works when I need to place a call.

      Delete
  7. Among the very best in the business, for my needs (talk & text). Been with them since last May.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It looks like PureTalk is a much better option than the rest ATT MVNOs if no intl call needed. More data and no tax.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Does iPhone MMS work even for a BYOD?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it should work on any iPhone after you go to Settings > General > About and check for and apply the Pure Talk carrier settings update.

      Delete
  10. PureTalk has improved the Simple and Senior 250 plans. 300 minutes now, and senior increases from that point to 900. 50mb mobile data is included.
    The 300 minute plans will be more attractive than AirVoice's $10/month plan for some people now.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Simple 300 indicates 500 MB, but on their website it's only 50 MB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's 50 MB unfortunately. The post has been corrected. Thanks for reporting the discrepancy.

      Delete
  12. Re coverage - the map linked on their website is the same as ATT postpaid coverage for both voice and data. Is this an error (or deception) on their part?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Pure Talk coverage map is the GoPhone one which includes roaming only in parts of Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado. It is not the same as the AT&T postpaid map which shows additional roaming in Nevada, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin and Maine.

      I have no idea if Pure Talk actually roams in the places in Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado where the map shows roaming.

      Delete
  13. Pure TalkUSA SENIOR ADDVANTAGE plan members can refer a friend to PTUSA and receive a $25 VISA gift card. Limit 12 referrals per customer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This Pure TalkUSA promo is still active. In addition, Simple or Family plan members get 202 minutes per referred person who joins. Unlimited plan subscribers get a $10 bill credit for each completed referral.

      Delete
  14. This Pure TalkUSA Profile does not explain how data overages work:
    "What happens if I go over my data?
    Usage shown in the customer portal will have a 48-72 hour delay; the total will not reflect usage from this time. Customers' data will automatically cap once the plan limit is reached. Customers can select to allow overages, and will be automatically billed an additional $4 for every 100MB of data or 100MMS up to a total 3GB cap, at the end of the billing cycle and after the monthly allotment has been used. Customer is responsible for monitoring his/her own data/MMS usage for any and all additional charges incurred by usage."

    ReplyDelete
  15. Pure TalkUSA is giving their subscribers a $25-$100 discount to upgrade their 2G phones to a modern phone, since AT&T is shuttering its 2G network.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Are Puretalk USA, cricket, and go phone the only prepaid services that are AT&T apple partners? No others will support mms on iPhones without jailbreaking?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MMS also works on iPhones on Straight Talk, NET10 and Consumer Cellular.

      Delete
    2. I looked at the apple support page and it didn't list Puretalk USA as an Apple partner
      https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204039

      Delete
  17. Good to know. Thank you Dennis. I think Puretalk USA looks like the one I would use for AT&T coverage.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dennis,

    I just noticed on the Pure Talk USA profile it says the following...
    "LTE data is available on bands 2 (1900 Mhz), 4 (1700 Mhz), 5 (1900 Mhz) 12 and 17 (700 Mhz) and 29 and 30 (2300 Mhz)."

    Does T-Mobile and ATT share band 12? I also noticed that my Iphone doesn't support band 12 or 30...would that make a big difference if I decide to try this MVNO?

    ReplyDelete
  19. What is the meaning of 1/3 min each for SMS?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every text you send or receive reduces your plan's included minutes by one third of a minute.

      Delete
  20. With the elimination of the Senior 80 plan, you need to remove reference to it just below the Senior Advantage Plans table.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I read the FAQ on their website and learned the Simple plans don't rollover minutes or data. With my highly variable usage throughout the year, Airvoice Wireless $10 for 250 mins makes a better deal.

    ReplyDelete
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