Series Archive

Series Recap: Non-Major Cell Phone Providers (MVNOs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

In December (2015) and earlier this month, I reviewed the services and offerings from six different non-major mobile providers (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).

Here are the links to each overview:

After my research, I decided to go with Consumer Cellular to replace my AT&T plan.

Here is the reasoning behind this decision:

  • Price
    • I will be saving roughly $60 each month (and have a much nicer phone)
  • Remaining on the AT&T Network
  • Ability to bring your own phone over
  • Offering of the iPhone 5s
  • Offering of a payment plan
    • Don’t have to shell out the full price of a new phone at once
  • $20 Credit Off offer
  • Excellent customer support

I really like what Republic Wireless has to offer, but they don’t currently offer the ability to bring my wife’s phone over.

As I just switched over a few days ago, I will post an update when I’ve been with Consumer Cellular a bit longer.  I can tell you, though, that it’s nice to be not locked into a contract!

**If you’re interested in CC and found my overview helpful, please let me know.  When you sign up for service, we will both get a $10 referral credit.**

Republic Wireless: An Overview

“A better way to connect”

 

The Details (How it Works)

Republic Wireless is a MVNO that offers a a low cost mobile phone service option (starting at $10 a month).  This company is very devoted to their customers and are always looking to improve.

They have a patented hybrid calling experience.  Basically how it works is that Wi-Fi networks are used primarily (the default), while Sprint’s cellular network is used as a fall back if no Wi-Fi networks are in range.  This switch is done seamlessly and automatically. As a result, this saves you money and offers you more coverage.

Here are some more details…
  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Nationwide coverage provided by Sprint (4G/LTE data)
    • Check your coverage here
    • Adequate but it is not 100% reliable (dropped calls, etc.)
  • Phones
    • You cannot bring your own phone, as you must purchase/use a Republic Wireless provided phone
      • This is because the phones have a specialized ROM that allows the hybrid cell + WiFi calling technology (as mentioned above)
    • The phones are engineered to work across multiple networks
    • Choose from the Motorola Moto E, Moto X, and Moto G Android Phones:

Moto E (Black) (2nd Gen.)

Moto X (Black) (2nd Gen.)

Moto G (8GB) (Black) (3rd Gen.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • No-Contract Plans
    •  Republic Wireless pays you back for the cell data that you don’t use every month
      • You can add additional data at any time as well

Here are the currently available base plans:

    • $5 – WiFi Plan: Unlimited Talk/Text/Data over WiFi
    • $10 – Base Plan: Unlimited Talk/Text over WiFi + Cell | Data over WiFi Only
    • $17.50 – Base Plan + 0.5 GB Cell Data
    • $25 – Base Plan + 1.0 GB Cell Data
    • $40 – Base Plan + 2.0 GB Cell Data
    • $55 – Base Plan + 3.0 GB Cell Data

republicplans

  • Customer Support
    • No call center – customer service via emails, live chat, and forums only
      • If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can submit a help ticket online or talk to someone on live chat

 

The answer

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Previous overviews: StraightTalk Wireless | Consumer Cellular | FreedomPop | Net10 Wireless | Ting Wireless

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

Ting Wireless: An Overview

http://androidspin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ting.jpeg

“Mobile That Makes Sense”

 

The Details (How it Works)

Ting Wireless is an affordable wireless service provider with a unique pricing model.  The bottom line is that you only pay for what you use.  Here are some more details…
  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Ting offers mobile service on two nationwide, LTE networks (including Sprint)
    • You can have “any combination of active GSM and / or CDMA devices under one account sharing minutes, messages and megabytes”
    • View their coverage maps here
  • Phones
    • You can bring your existing phone over or purchase one from their selection of phones
    • Both new and refurbished phones are available
    • A few that I spotted include the Motorola Moto E, Apple iPhone 6s, Samsung Galaxy S5, etc.
  • No-Contract Plans
    • Tiered rate plan (“floating pricing”): XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
      • Voice minutes, text messages, and MB of data are billed separately
      • At the end of the month, whichever tier you fall in is what you pay (only pay for the levels you reach)
      • Your usage is pooled and shared across all devices in your account
    • Each activated number on an account costs $6 per month
    • May not be the best plan for heavy data users

Levels

XS S M L XL XL+
Devices
$6 each
1
$6
2
$12
3
$18
4
$24
5
$30
6 +
$6 /device
Minutes
Nationwide
no usage
$0
1 – 100
$3
101 – 500
$9
501 – 1000
$18
1001 – 2100
$35
2101 +
$35 + 1.9¢ /additional min
Messages
Global
no usage
$0
1 – 100
$3
101 – 1000
$5
1001 – 2000
$8
2001 – 4800
$11
4801 +
$11 + ¼¢ /additional msg
Megabytes
Nationwide
no usage
$0
1 – 100
$3
101 – 500
$12
501 – 1000
$19
1001 – 2000
$29
2001 +
$29 + 1.5¢ /additional mb
  • Customer Support
    • I didn’t see anything negative mentioned during my research
  • Other Notes
    • Check out the Ting Savings Calculator
    • The Ting online account dashboard and the official Ting app are useful tools
    • If you’re moving from another carrier to Ting you have the option to “port” (bring) your number along
    • No hidden fees or overage penalties (you pay for only what you use; see above)
    • Referral program available that nets you $50 in credit for the first friend who joins and $25 per friend after that

 

 

 

 

 

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Previous overviews: StraightTalk Wireless | Consumer Cellular | FreedomPop | Net10 Wireless

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

Net 10 Wireless: An Overview

The Details (How it Works)

NET10 Wireless is another prepaid (“pay as you go”) cell phone provider.  What separates them from competitors, is their large selection of devices and plans. Here are some specifics:
  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Through its partnerships with all four major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.), it  has connectivity on virtually every tower in the nation
      • This results in high network quality + dependable coverage for half the cost
    • Uses both GSM and CDMA phone technologies (based on model purchased)
      • Only company to do so

 

 

 

 

 

  • Phones
    • You can bring your existing phone over or purchase one from them (99¢ sim cards available currently)
    • There were a number of phones available to choose from such as:
      • LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple iPhone 5s, etc.
    • There is a lease-to-own option on a few phones
  • No-Contract Plans
    • No contracts; pay by the month or pay as you go
    • There are variety of plans to choose from such as:
      • 30 Day Plans
      • Family Plan Family plans are also available on an unlimited basis ranging from $75 for 500MB to $170 for 2.5GB.
      • Pay As You Go
      • Monthly Plans
      • International Calling Plans
    • Here’s an overview of the 30-day plans:

net10plans

  • Customer Support
    • Many have reported their customer service to be very poor
  • Other Notes
    • Available at stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Dollar General, RadioShack
    • No hidden fees or overage penalties (you pay for only what you use)
    • No paper bills
    • Enroll in Auto-Refill and your service plan will be automatically refilled every month
      • + You will save $5 a month on select plans

 

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Previous overviews: StraightTalk Wireless | Consumer Cellular | FreedomPop

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

FreedomPop: An Overview

No Contracts • No Gimmicks • No Hassles


The Details (How it Works)

FreedomPop (a relatively new MVNO) is the first ever 100% FREE mobile phone service, offering both flexibility and value.  Here are some specific details:
  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Uses Sprint’s 4G LTE network
    • The tool here provides high-level estimates of their wireless coverage
    • Coverage is not available everywhere and varies based on a number of factors
  • Phones
    • You can bring your existing phone over or purchase one from them
    • These four were available for me to purchase:
      • Kyocera hydro Icon
      • HTC Desire 510
      • Samsung Galaxy S4
      • Apple iPhone 5 16GB
  • No-Contract Plans
    • No contracts required (cancel anytime, no commitment)
    • The following plans are available:

fpplan

 *Additional data can be purchased for 2 1/2 cents per MB.

 

  • Customer Support
    • Unknown
  •   30 Day Risk-Free Trial (100% Risk Free Guarantee)
    • You can cancel your trial anytime on site or by calling customer support
    • Trial only available for a limited time
    • You’ll continue to receive Premium 1GB every month for $19.99 after the trial period expires
  • Other Notes
    • No overage penalties
    • You can earn more data by participating in special offers or by referring friends
    • Usage alerts available for $1.99/month
    • Check out a recent Penny Hoarder article here ($50 Phone Comes With a Free Monthly Plan)

 

http://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=OIP.M0c4dde643f39aa2e75dab674cf2d92c9o0&w=300&h=207&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0&r=0

 

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Previous overviews: StraightTalk Wireless | Consumer Cellular

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

 

Consumer Cellular: An Overview

The Details (How it Works)

Consumer Cellular is another no-contract cell phone service option.  Both Consumer Reports and Nielsen Mobile Insights have recently rated them very high on customer satisfaction and other ratings.

They offer affordable, risk free cellphone plans starting at $10/month.

  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Full nationwide coverage through AT&T networks
  • Phones
    • You can bring your own device
    • Consumer Cellular also offers the following for sale:
      • Flip Phones
      • iPhones
      • Android Smartphones
    • Payment plans (on the higher value phones) and protection plans are offered
  •  No-Contract Service Plans
    • You can upgrade, change, or cancel your plan at anytime without penalty
    • Family Sharing Plan
      • Family members can be added for only $10 per month, per line
      • Share minutes
        • Free calls between all phones on the same Consumer Cellular account
    • Low price cell plans for every need and budget:

         Talk Plans:                                                    Text/Data Plans:

cctalkplansccdataplans

  • Customer Support
    • Friendly, U.S.-based customer support
  •  30 Day Risk-Free Trial (100% Risk Free Guarantee)
    • If you’re not satisfied for any reason, you can cancel your service anytime within the free trial period and pay nothing (no questions asked)
  • Other Notes
    • Free activation
    • Special benefits for AARP members
    • Phones can also be purchased at Target and Sears
    • Free, automated Usage Alerts service monitors your usage for you
    • $20 off credit on first statement when signing up between Nov 15-Dec 31, 2015

 

100% Guaranteed Cellular Phone PlansMore Value

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

Straight Talk Wireless: An Overview

Straight Talk

 

 

 

$30 Nationwide Plan$45 Unlimited Nationwide Plan$60 Unlimited International Plan

The Details (How it Works)

In summary, Straight Talk is a pay-as-you go prepaid wireless phone service (available only at Walmart) that requires no long term contracts.  Here are some specifics:

  • You can bring your own phone or purchase one from Straight Talk
    • The selection of phones is limited, but Straight Talk supports unlocked phones for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint — as well as compatible unlocked phones bought elsewhere
    • With a simple switch of a SIM card, almost any phone can be a Straight Talk Wireless phone
    • iPhones are now offered by Straight Talk — iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, and iPhone 4S
  • No-Contract Service Plans
    • Plans range from $30 to $495 (see chart below)
    • The Unlimited Plan ($45) offers the best value
      • Unlimited Talk/Text/Data
      • 30 Day Plan
      • First 5GB data at high speeds then 2G
  • Coverage / Performance Overview
    • Nationwide coverage (99.6%) via four national carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint)
    • No, your Straight Talk phone won’t roam,
    • Straight Talk is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that buys capacity from the four large nationwide carriers and resells it to its customers. Performance will largely depend on which of the carriers is providing your service, and that’s determined by which phone you buy or bring to Straight Talk. Keep in mind, however, that while talk and text performance will be just as good, reviews say that LTE data speeds will likely be a little bit lower than what the carrier being used delivers to its own customers.
  • Customer Service Issues
    • J.D. Power and Associates surveys that look at customer care and the buying experience aren’t very complimentary. Among prepaid providers, Straight Talk finishes second to last in customer care and dead last in the buying experience.
  • Known Pros:
    • Uses all four national carriers for service
    • Good options for international callers
    • Can use your own (existing) phone
  • Known Cons:
    • Limited plan options and features (no daily or pay-as-you-go plans)
    • Mixed grades for customer service

 

Untitled2

Untitled1

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

Lowering Your Cellphone Bill: No Contract / Prepaid / Wi-fi First Plans

Last time, I looked at the basic ways to lower your cell phone bill.

Now I will be delving into the biggest area of potential savings: switching to contract free, wi-fi first, or prepaid services.  This includes offerings from non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).

Each service below (that I handpicked) will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends in December.

  • Straight Talk Wireless
  • Freedom Pop
  • Republic Wireless
  • Scratch Wireless
  • Net10
  • Ting
  • Consumer Cellular

 

It’s become easier than ever to switch mobile phone service providers.  Many providers now offer plans that no longer lock you into long-term contracts and long waits for phone upgrades.  So if you’re not happy with your smartphone or your provider, don’t feel stuck. you have choices. – Ben Z. Gottesman (PC Magazine)

 

Stay tuned for more!

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

Back To Top