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Selectel Users Can Now Check Their Usage and Expiration Date by SMS

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Verizon MVNO Selectel is testing a new feature that lets customers check their account status by text message.

To use the new service, text BAL to [email protected] from your Selectel phone. You will get a text back with your plan expiration date and the number of minutes, texts and MB used in the current period. If you have a Flex Card the text will also include your current balance. There's no charge for either text.

The new feature is in Beta and still has a couple of quirks. For one thing, sending a text to an email address rather than to a phone number or short code can be a little tricky. With most phones you have to type the email address directly into the messaging app, sending a text to an email address from Contacts doesn't work. If you're using Hangouts as your messaging app you're out of luck as Hangouts doesn't support texting to email addresses. Currently the process is partially manual on Selectel's end and it can take Selectel anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours to return the information.

Warts and all, the new text balance service is already an improvement over Selectel's rudimentary OLAM (OnLine Account Management) system which doesn't show actual usage on unlimited plans.

Selectel Wireless is the only Verizon MVNO that includes off network voice roaming at no extra cost. Text roaming is also free. Other Verizon MVNOs either don't offer voice roaming or charge 20¢ or 29¢ per minute extra for roaming calls.  Also, unlike with other Verizon MVNOs, double dialing is not required on Selectel when placing a call when roaming.

Selectel offers quite a few plans which are listed below. Selectel doesn't allow LTE phones on some of its least expensive plans, presumably because Verizon charges Selectel extra for LTE access. Like all Verizon MVNOs, LTE speeds are throttled to 5 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up on Selectel.

Plan Duration LTE Available, LTE Devices Allowed? Voice Messaging Data
$15 30 Days No 300 Minutes 300 Texts 15 MB
$17 Home Connect 3 30 Days No 1000 Minutes none none
$20 30 Days Yes 500 Minutes 500 SMS 2.5 MB 1
$30 30 Days Yes 1500 Minutes Unlimited 1 GB
$40 30 Days Yes Unlimited Unlimited 2 GB
$55 30 Days Yes Unlimited Unlimited 5 GB
$70 30 Days Yes Unlimited Unlimited 7 GB
$75 Yearly Plan 365 Days No 2000 Minutes 2000 Texts None
$100 Yearly Plan 365 Days Yes 2000 Minutes 2000 Texts 2.5 MB 1
$10 Flex Card 2 Never Expires Yes 2 5¢/min 5¢/ea 5¢/MB
1 2.5 MB of LTE data can only be used for MMS messaging
2 The $10 Flex Card can be used to add additional data, minutes or texts to any plan except the $20 or $100 plans  at the rate of 5¢ per minute, message or MB of data. It's not a standalone plan and must be used together with a monthly or yearly plan. The Flex Card balance never expires.
3 The Home Connect plan is intended for fixed wireless home phone devices but also works with non-LTE mobile phones. A Flex card can be used to add texts, data or extra minutes.

For more about Selectel see our Prepaid Operator Profile: Selectel Wireless


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  1. Doesn't work if you have no data. Selectel states all SMS texts are free, but if you have no data how is it supposed to work? IT DOESN'T.

    1. SMS text messaging does not require data. There are separate buckets for data and texts. Running out of data should have no affect on the ability to send and receive texts.

  2. The account balance text feature is available and rather prompt nowadays.

  3. Does anyone know why your phone data tracker and selectel's data tracker do not match? This month my data was shut off but my phone's data tracker said i had only used half of my data. No one at selectel has been able to explain that to me yet.

    1. Assume you have your phone data usage cycle synced with your Selectel billing cycle?

      Delayed reporting from Verizon to Selectel? If you used a bunch of data at the end of your last cycle maybe delayed reporting from VZ caused it to be "billed" to the next month?

      Might want to turn off data for a day, then use a bit and see how long it takes to show up on Selected billing.

    2. Perhaps Selectel is measuring data use in 100 KB blocks like RingPlus and Page Plus PayGo do. That would cause a dramatic increase in idle data use.

      If you are using Android, 3G Watchdog is a data tracking app that can be configured to measure usage in blocks.

    3. To follow up on Dennis above - please enquire to Selectel what data billing resolution is. Would like to hear their response if you could post back.

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