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ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





Introduction
First, I'd like to thank Rastor for the previous thread. It helped a ton with this one!

This thread's going to be a based in the USA. It's not because we don't care about your country, just it'd take a shitload of time just to go and list every MVNO (well, that and I don't know if other countries have this type of thing anyway).

In the US, you have four carriers. They are Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. These carriers (except for T-Mobile and Verizon because they're special snowflakes) use contracts that will lock you in for about two years. Some people hate contracts, some people hate subsidies, some people hate spending lots of money, and some people hate spending money at all. Does any of that apply to you? Cool. You're in the right thread then!

General Stuff
  • Going with an Android phone and want to keep your number? Then you’ll probably want to port your number over from your old carrier to Google Voice. Google will charge you $20 to take your number and put it into their system. This way, you can receive and send texts, have Visual Voicemail, block callers/texts, and make calls and texts without using your phone via computer. The caveats to this is there’s no MMS or group messaging. Also it doesn't seem to work well with iPhones so I wouldn't recommend doing it if you have an iPhone.

  • MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) usually don’t have their own towers, they just piggy back off of the big four. Since they don’t own their own towers and tend to have lower priority traffic, you may experience delayed texts, service outages, and general slowness. Now a days, this isn't too prevalent as it once was but just know it can happen. Some carriers have this issue more than others.

  • Most prepaid carriers can’t roam outside of their towers. So far, only two MVNOs can actually do this. They are Straight Talk and Net10. This is because America Movil (which owns TracFone and multiple other MVNOs in the US) pays carriers to allow this. Only GSM carriers on ST and Net10 can roam.

  • Unlimited in prepaid world is changing...slowly. Unlimited voice and text usually are actually unlimited as long as you’re not trying to make 5,000 calls a day or something. Data, however, is another story. Only one MVNO has truly unlimited data, that would be Boost Mobile. The rest have "unlimited". This means that, up to a point, it’s unlimited until you reach a certain number of MBs or GBs. Some carriers disclose this number and some do not.

  • Coverage maps tend to lie out the rear end, really. If you’re asked to enter your zip code, do it. Better yet, ask around in the thread or ask someone in-person how their service is in your area. If your area has no service, then you usually will not be able to buy a phone or plan.

  • To borrow from the older thread, I’m going to assume that most goons use tons of data. So, all plans listed will be at least 250MB of data per month, at full 3G/HSPA/HSPA+/LTE speed.

  • Most plans listed here, unless stated otherwise, include taxes and/or fees with the quoted price. Be aware that you may be paying a little bit more than what you see here.

  • The "Notable Phones" categories all contain phones that are the better phones that you can buy direct from the carrier. They aren't the only phones you should get but pretty much the phones you should aim for or at least somewhere around in terms of quality and specs.

  • This OP is kind of hard on ST/Net10/SIMple Mobile and honestly for good reason. Their customer service just hasn't gotten better as time has passed. They did at least admit that they do cap and throttle but they still do throttle randomly from time to time and their CS is just the worst. Not to mention there are just better choices. However, they are included for AT&T as we seem to get people asking about them for that carrier. Their plans are the same across the board, however. So if you want a T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon plan with them, just apply the AT&T plans. Really though, you are better off not going with them for the most part.

  • There are some MVNOs on this list that will outright stop access to data on your device as soon as you have hit your data cap. Be mindful when using your data unless it is advertised as “unlimited” with a clear cap. If the MVNOs plans do not mention throttling on this page, then they do not give any data after that amount as been reached.

If you don’t understand some terms I’m using, consult the FAQ.

TL;DR
Find out which of the four carriers work best in your area (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint) and then find out what phone you want that works with that carrier.

Have a phone already? Then you most likely can use it on an MVNO. Pick an MVNO that uses the best carrier in your area and go with it!

Carriers
AT&T
Known for having the iPhone first in the US and having that weird “text talk” commercial, AT&T is a GSM carrier. Being a GSM carrier, they use SIM cards and have HSPA+ and LTE instead of the 3G and LTE of a CDMA carrier.

CHECK COVERAGE!




Upgrading your Cricket device? READ THIS FIRST.
As of April 25, 2015, it is currently not possible to upgrade your Cricket device through the website or the Cricket app. So far, the ONLY way to upgrade your device is to go to a Cricket store to have it physically done for you. This means, if you bring either a BYOD device OR buy a Cricket-branded one, you must go to a Cricket store to have it activated. Cricket's website claims this is temporary but there is no indication as to how long this has been in effect. However, you might be able to do this by manually adding the APN information into your new device.

You know that really sketchy MVNO that people thought was just for burner phones and poor people? Yeah. AT&T bought them back in 2013. Remember Aio Wireless, AT&T’s prepaid answer to Straight Talk? That’s gone now as AT&T has merged both Aio Wireless and Cricket into one glorious carrier.

Say hello to...well, Cricket Wireless. AT&T has basically taken Cricket Wireless, changed the color scheme to a sort of blueish green mixed with actual green and given it Aio's plans and phones while vamping up the customer service.

Since AT&T is a GSM carrier, they are currently in the process of slowly moving CDMA Cricket customers over to GSM devices. This should be completed in 2015 or so.

The new Cricket Wireless has the same caveats as Aio Wireless had, the main ones being a speed cap of 4mbps for HSPA) and 8mbps for LTE. Once you go over your allotted data amount, you drop down to about 256kbps.

If you don't want to set up a SIM card on Cricket's site, you can now go to Walmart to pick up a SIM for $9.88.

Notable Phones:
Galaxy S 5
Galaxy S 6
iPhone 5c
Can bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on AT&T's bands)

Current Plans:
  • Basic
    $35/mo with Auto Pay discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2.5GB of LTE data (throttled to 256kbps after cap is reached)

  • Smart
    $45/mo with Auto Pay discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled to 256kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes free International Texting
    Includes Unlimited Voice/Text to Mexico and Canada.

  • Pro
    $55/mo with Auto Pay discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    10GB of LTE data (throttled to 256kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes free International Texting
    Includes Unlimited Voice/Text to Mexico and Canada.

  • Advanced
    $55/mo with Auto Pay discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    20GB of LTE data (throttled to 256kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes free International Texting
    Includes Unlimited Voice/Text to Mexico and Canada
    Not eligible for Group Save Discount

    As of April 9, 2015, the Advanced Plan is no longer available to be used by new users. If you switched to this plan before April 9, 2015, you will still be grandfathered in as long as you continue to pay the $60/mo ($55/mmo with Auto Pay discount). If you lapse on a payment, you will permanently lose the Advanced Plan.

All prices include any taxes or fees and are flat rate.

Each plan will get a discount of $5 if you sign up for Auto Pay. You do not have to use AutoPay and can pay anytime before it automatically comes out of your account. Basically, just use it for the discount.

If you do want Cricket, there are a few in the thread who can toss you a referral code. While a referral code is not needed for service, it does get you a $25 credit on your bill after 60 days of continuous, paid-on-time service from both you and the person who referred you. Want a referral to Cricket? Awesome. Ask in the thread for a Cricket goon to give you one.

Cricket, as Aio did before it, doesn't really care if you stream music or HD video. As long as you don't use insane amounts of data, you should be fine. Tethering is a mixed bag as they don't always come after people if they tether but they easily could. YMMV on tethering.


GoPhone is AT&T’s first attempt at prepaid. The plans cost more than Cricket but the big difference is that you aren't throttled for HSPA/LTE speeds. You can also use refill cards on GoPhone to pay your bill for you. These can be bought from websites like CallingMart.com or eBay. You can also check brick and mortar stores.

Notable Phones:
iPhone 5
iPhone 5c
Can bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on AT&T's bands)

Current Plans:
  • $45
    $40/mo with Auto Refill discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1.5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes Rollover Data
    Includes unlimited Messaging to Mexico, Canada, and 100 other countries

  • $60
    $55/mo with Auto Refill discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    4GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes Rollover Data
    Includes unlimited Messaging to Mexico, Canada, and 100 other countries
    Includes unlimited Texting to Canada and Mexico.


H2O Wireless uses AT&T towers and allows you to bring any unlocked GSM device to them as long as it works on AT&T's bands.

Notable Phones:
Galaxy S 5
iPhone 6 PLus
iPhone 5s
iPhone 5c
Moto X (2013)
Can bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on AT&T's bands)

Current Plans:
  • $30
    $27/mo with Auto Recharge discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    500MB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited International Talk (to 50+ countries)
    Includes unlimited International Text
    Includes International Talk Credit of $10

  • $35
    $31.50/mo with Auto Recharge discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    500MB of LTE data (throttled to 128kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited International Talk (to 50+ countries)
    Includes unlimited International Text
    Includes International Talk Credit of $10


  • $40
    $36/mo with Auto Recharge discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data (throttled to 128kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited International Talk (to 50+ countries)
    Includes unlimited International Text
    Includes International Talk Credit of $20

  • $50
    $45/mo with Auto Recharge discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2GB of LTE data (throttled to 128kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited International Talk (to 50+ countries)
    Includes unlimited International Text
    Includes International Talk Credit of $20

  • $60
    $54/mo with Auto Recharge discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3GB of LTE data (throttled to 128kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited International Talk (to 50+ countries)
    Includes unlimited International Text
    Includes International Talk Credit of $20

  • $65
    $58.50/mo with Auto Recharge discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3.5GB of LTE data (throttled to 128kbps after cap is reached)

    Includes unlimited International Talk (to 50+ countries)
    Includes unlimited International Text
    Includes International Talk Credit of $20


Pretty much the same as H2O Wireless, really. They also have a CDMA side now too since the last thread. More on that under Sprint since they use that carrier for CDMA.

Notable Phones:
Galaxy S 5
iPhone 5
iPhone 5S
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
Can bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on AT&T's bands)

Current Plans:
Red Pocket’s Flagship Plans will also work with their GSM and CDMA plans. The plans listed below specifically refer to Red Pocket’s GSM-only plans on AT&T’s network..

  • Unlimited Talk & Text - 500MB 4G LTE
    $30/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    500MB of LTE data

  • Web & Texter
    $35/mo
    300 Minutes of Voice
    Unlimited Text
    2GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited calling to China and Hong Kong

  • Unlimited Everything - 1GB 4G LTE
    $50/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes 200 minutes of free International calling
    Includes unlimited calling to China and Hong Kong

  • Unlimited Everything - 3GB 4G LTE
    $60/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes 200 minutes of free International calling
    Includes unlimited calling to China and Hong Kong


Straight Talk isn't as popular as it once was, to say the least. With data throttling caps finally being admitted, poor customer service, and low-end phones (unless you bring your own), they're not really the best option anymore. They cater to both GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile) and CDMA (Verizon and Sprint).

Notable Phones (devices may vary based on zip code):
To be honest, I can't 100% tell you what's the best ST phone to get because they're incredibly vague on what works with what carrier and availability varies based on zip code. However, you can bring your own unlocked device (make sure it's supports AT&T's bands).

Current Plans:
  • $45
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $60
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited talk to China, India, Canada, and select international landlines.

  • $130
    Service lasts for 90 days
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $255
    Service lasts for 180 days
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $495
    Service lasts for 365 days
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)


Contrary to what the old logo said, Net10 is at the very least mildly evil or at least uncaring about their customers. They're pretty much Straight Talk with different plans. Maybe this is why the logo was changed.

Notable Phones:
The available phones will vary depending on your zip code. However, you can bring your own unlocked device (make sure it's supports AT&T's bands).

Current Plans:
  • $35
    $31.50/mo with Auto-Refill discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    500MB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $40
    $36/mo with Auto-Refill discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1.5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $50
    $45/mo with Auto-Refill discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $65
    $60/mo with Auto-Refill discount
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes International Voice

Really, Net10 is about the same as Straight Talk. They cater to both CDMA (Sprint/Verizon) and GSM (AT&T/T-Mobile). Same customer service as well.


Previously affiliated with T-Mobile, Harbor Mobile has switched over to AT&T for all new customers. Current customers will stay with T-Mobile unless the account is disconnected. It looks like Harbor Mobile is still for businesses only. So, if you want a business line, here you go.

If you do not have a business, you may still be able to use Harbor Mobile as sometimes, they don’t seem to ask for documentation. However, if they do ask, they will most likely ask for you to submit LLC / incorporation documentation to prove you have a business.

Notable Phones:
Must bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on AT&T's bands)

Current Plans:
Plan prices are currently unknown at this time but the form you’re required to fill out does list what each plan includes.

  • Unlimited Voice and Text
    Includes unlimited talk to Canada and Mexico
    Includes unlimited text to over 190 countries

  • Plan Choice 1
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited talk to Canada and Mexico
    Includes unlimited text to over 190 countries

  • Plan Choice 2
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2.5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited talk to Canada and Mexico
    Includes unlimited text to over 190 countries

  • Plan Choice 3
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    4.5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited talk to Canada and Mexico
    Includes unlimited text to over 190 countries

  • Plan Choice 4
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    10GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited talk to Canada and Mexico
    Includes unlimited text to over 190 countries

T-Mobile
T-Mobile is the nation’s second GSM carrier. Their CEO is quite possibly insane. Compared to AT&T, T-Mobile doesn’t have as many towers but usually they’re pretty good if you do actually have towers. T-Mobile’s “4G” is actually just a really fast HSPA called “HSDPA”.

T-Mobile uses AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) frequencies 1700/2100 MHz for their services. Some GSM phones do not support this. These devices include the iPhone and most European Phones. T-Mobile is currently working on using the 1900 MHz frequency.

CHECK COVERAGE!


T-Mobile actually has their own brand of prepaid as well!

Notable Phones:
Galaxy S 5
Can bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on T-Mobile's bands)

Current Plans:
  • Unlimited Web & Text with 100 Minutes Talk (aka “The Dork Plan”)
    $30/mo
    100 Minutes
    Unlimited Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Only available for devices purchased from Walmart or devices activated on T-Mobile.com

  • $50/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $60/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $70/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • $80/mo
    Unlimited Voice, Text, and LTE Data
    Includes 7GB Smartphone Mobile Hotspot
    Includes Rhapsody unRadio Subscription


Project Fi is Google’s joint MVNO with T-Mobile and Sprint. Basically, you will use either T-Mobile’s GSM towers or Sprint’s CDMA towers (depending on who’s got the best signal where you are). Most of the time, however, you will be on Wi-Fi. The data on this plan is customizable at $10 for every 1GB per month you’d like to have.

Notable Phones:
Nexus 6 (right now, this is the only device that works on Project Fi)

Current Plans:
  • The Fi Basics
    $50/mo
    Unlimited Talk and Text
    3GB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited International Talk and Text
    Includes Wi-Fi tethering

Keep in mind, the plan is customizable can change from $30/mo for Unlimited Talk + Text and 3GB of LTE data per month to $120/mo for Unlimited Talk + Text and 10GB of LTE data.


MetroPCS, previously their own carrier, has now been merged into T-Mobile. Like Cricket Wireless, all taxes and fees are included in the quoted price.

Notable Phones:
Galaxy S 6
Can bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on T-Mobile's bands)

Current Plans:
  • $30/mo
    $25/mo with a family plan
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes Mobile Hotspot

  • $40/mo
    $35/mo with a family plan
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes Mobile Hotspot

  • $50/mo
    $45/mo with a family plan
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    4GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes Mobile Hotspot

  • $60/mo
    $55/mo with a family plan
    Unlimited Voice, Text, and LTE Data
    Includes Mobile Hotspot


GIVmobile will contribute 8% of your bill to a charity of your choice. This donation is included in each plan’s quoted statement.

Notable Phones:
Moto X (2014)
Can bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on T-Mobile's bands)

Current Plans:
  • The 20
    $20/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    250MB of HSPA data
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $1 International Dialing Credit
    $1.60 donated to charity

  • The 25
    $25/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    Unlimited 2G data
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $2.50 International Dialing Credit
    $2 donated to charity

  • The 30
    $30/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $5 International Dialing Credit
    $2.40 donated to charity

  • The 40
    $40/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2GB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $5 International Dialing Credit
    $3.20 donated to charity

  • The 60
    $60/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    10GB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $10 International Dialing Credit
    $4.80 donated to charity

The carrier supports conditional call forwarding which would give you full Google Voice support and it also supports short codes (it does not support premium short codes, however).


PTel Mobile is back with LTE and cheaper plans!

Notable Devices:
The available phones will vary depending on your zip code. However, you can bring your own unlocked device (make sure it's supports AT&T's bands).

Current Plans:
  • $20
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    250MB of HSPA data
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $1 International Dialing Credit

  • $25
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    Unlimited 2G data
    Includes Unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $2.50 International Dialing Credit

  • $30
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $5 International Dialing Credit

  • $40
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes Unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $5 International Dialing Credit

  • $50
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $5 International Dialing Credit

  • $60
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    10GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited Global Texting
    Includes $10 International Dialing Credit



Smartel seems to be newbie in the MVNO business. Their website advertises AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon coverage. As of this writing, only T-Mobile and Verizon have stepped up to give service. All taxes are included with the pricing.

The T-Mobile side of Smartel is coded pink. You are not able to port from a postpaid T-Mobile account to the prepaid Smartel.

Notable Phones:
Must bring your own device (make sure it's unlocked and works on T-Mobile's bands)

Current Plans:
  • Silver
    $25/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Texts
    1GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)

  • Gold
    $45/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    10GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)


  • Pink Gold
    $30/mo for 1st and 2nd month
    $35/mo for 3rd and beyond until you cancel
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    10GB of LTE data with free additional 10GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes 12-month Rollover Data
    NOTE: This plan is temporarily available and will no longer be available on 09-20-2015. You must use the free 10GB of data before data begins to roll over into the next month


  • Platinum
    $55/mo
    Unlimited Voice, Text, and LTE Data

SIMple Mobile / Straight Talk / Net10
SIMple Mobile is brought to us by the wonderful company known as TracFone. You know TracFone as the company who owns Straight Talk, Net10, and yes, even the TracFone brand. Are they any better with a T-Mobile only MVNO? No, not really. Just go for any T-Mobile plan, really. You still get the same shittastic customer service and terrible phones on SIMple Mobile as you do on ST and Net10.

Verizon
Verizon is one of two CDMA carriers in the US. The carrier is known for having the most subscribers and the largest coverage. The network Verizon uses is based on EVDO/CDMA and covers pretty much all of the continental US. They have LTE as well.

CHECK COVERAGE!



Notable Phones:
Galaxy S 5
Galaxy S 6
Galaxy S 6 Edge
Nexus 6
iPhone 5c
iPhone 6
Can bring your own used Verizon branded device.

Current Plans:
  • $45
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited Text to Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico

  • $60
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2.5GB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited Text to Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico

Addons:
  • $5/mo
    Extra 500MB of LTE data per month

  • $10/3 mo
    Extra 1GB of LTE data per month

  • $20/3 mo
    Extra 3GB of data per month

Yeah, Verizon is the only carrier on this list with an addon section. They're that special. Then again, it's better than ST/Net10 so there's that.


PagePlus allows you to reactivate a used Verizon device and pay them for the service.

Notable Phones:
Just bring your own used Verizon device.

Current Plans:
  • $29.95
    1,200 Minutes of Voice
    300 Texts
    500MB of LTE data

  • $39.95
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited Voice to International landlines

  • $55
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3GB of LTE data (throttled to 64kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited Voice to International landlines

  • $69.95
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data (throttled to 64kbps after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited Voice to International landlines



Smartel seems to be newbie in the MVNO business. Their website advertises AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon coverage. As of this writing, only T-Mobile and Verizon have stepped up to give service. All taxes are included with the pricing.

The Verizon side of Smartel is coded red. You are not able to port your number from a postpaid Verizon account to the prepaid Smartel.

Notable Phones:
Must bring your own device (make sure it works on Verizon's bands)

Current Plans:
  • Bronze
    $28.75/mo
    1,200 Minutes of Voice
    5,000 Texts
    500MB of LTE data

  • Silver
    $37.75/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data

  • Gold
    $45.75/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2GB of LTE data

  • Platinum
    $28.75/mo
    1,200 Minutes of Voice
    5,000 Texts
    500MB of LTE data

  • Diamond
    $28.75/mo
    1,200 Minutes of Voice
    5,000 Texts
    500MB of LTE data

Straight Talk / Net10
Just go with PagePlus or Verizon.

Sprint
Sprint is the nation’s second CDMA carrier, also based on EVDO/CDMA. They used to use a sort-of psudeo 4G called WiMax but killed that off a couple years ago. Now they use LTE as their “4G” network. Out of the four main carriers, Sprint has caveats such as slower data and most people tend to have service issues with them.

CHECK COVERAGE!


Since the thread was created, Sprint’s gone and made more than one plan! They have tons of addons too.

Notable Phones:
Moto E (2015)

Current Plans:
  • $35
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data
    Includes mobile hotspot

  • $45
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3GB of LTE data
    Includes mobile hotspot

  • $55
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    6GB of LTE data
    Includes mobile hotspot

Addons:
  • $5/mo
    Extra 500MB of LTE data per month

  • $10/mo
    Extra 1GB of LTE data per month

If you are to go with this carrier and plan, get the Moto E. Yes, this is still better than Straight Talk and Net10.


Boost is Sprint's first foray into the prepaid world. Apparently they took over an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. That sounds...interesting and strange. They've recently dropped truly unlimited data in favor for hard caps and add-ons.

Notable Devices:
Galaxy S 5
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
Sharp Aquos Crystal

Current Plans:
  • $30
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    2GB of LTE data
    Available only when you sign up on Auto Re-Boost

  • $35
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data

  • $45
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    5GB of LTE data

  • $55
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    10GB of LTE data

Addons:
  • $5/mo - Data Pack
    Extra 1GB of LTE data per month

  • $10/mo - Data Pack
    Extra 2GB of LTE data per month

  • Todo Mexico Plus
    $5/mo
    Unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada
    Includes unlimited International Text
    Only available with the $45 and $55 Plans

  • International Connect PLUS
    $10/mo
    Unlimited Talk to over 70 countries
    Includes discounted call rates to over 200 destinations
    Includes 1,000 Minutes to Mexico mobile or landlines in the Dominican Republic (or combinations thereof)
    Includes unlimited International Text

  • International Minute Packs
    $3/90 days
    Bundle of Minutes good for 1 select country
    Includes unlimited International Text

  • $3/day - Monthly Hotspot
    500MB of Hotspot LTE Data per day

  • $5/mo - Monthly Hotspot
    1GB of Hotspot LTE Data per month

  • $10/mo - Monthly Hotspot
    2GB of Hotspot LTE Data per month


Virgin Mobile is kind of Sprint's data-based MVNO. All of their plans are capped to 2.5GB a month and if you stream video, you may be knocked down to 3G instead of LTE. So, it's not much of a data-based plan, really. But hey, you can tether for one day if you add $5 to any plan.

As of 6-21-2017, Virgin Mobile does not sell Android devices. Nothing has been said about what will happen to current customers with Android devices.

Notable Phones:
iPhone (pretty much any of them)
This carrier does not allow or use Android devices.

Current Plans:
  • $35
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data

  • $45
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3GB of LTE data

  • $55
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    8GB of LTE data


Ting was created by Tucows, the shareware downloading website. I believe a goon works here, actually. Their phones are pretty drat good Sprint LTE phones. You can bring your own phone or pick up something nice like the Galaxy S 5, HTC One M8, or the iPhone 5.

Notable Phones:

CDMA
Galaxy S 6
HTC One M9
iPhone 6
LG G4
Nexus 6
Can bring your own Sprint branded device

GSM
iPhone 6
Moto G (2015)
Moto X (2014)
Nexus 6
Can bring your own unlocked GSM device

Current Plans:

Ting's plans are actually pretty unique. You can pick and choose what features you'd like. If you don't want to use your phone for talking, then don't pick that. If you want to ONLY use it for data, go ahead. Tethering is free on this MVNO.

There are multiple possibilities, actually. If you want to make your own, click here.


Sometime between this thread and the previous, Red Pocket has decided they'd like to have a CDMA side as well as their AT&T GSM side. So, they now support Sprint.

Notable Phones:
Must bring your own used Sprint branded device.

Current Plans:
Red Pocket’s Flagship Plans will also work with their GSM, CDMA, and CDMA-S plans. The plans listed below specifically refer to Red Pocket’s CDMA-S only plans on Sprint’s network.

  • Unlimited Talk & Text - 500MB 4G LTE
    $30/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    500MB of LTE data

  • Web & Texter
    $35/mo
    300 Minutes of Voice
    Unlimited Text
    2GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes unlimited calling to China and Hong Kong

  • Unlimited Everything - 1GB 4G LTE
    $50/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    1GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes 200 minutes of free International calling
    Includes unlimited calling to China and Hong Kong

  • Unlimited Everything - 3GB 4G LTE
    $60/mo
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    3GB of LTE data (throttled after cap is reached)
    Includes 200 minutes of free International calling
    Includes unlimited calling to China and Hong Kong



Notable Phones:
Moto E 2015
Moto X 2014 (customizable via MotoMaker)

Current Plans:
  • Republic Basic Plan
    About $18/mo ($15/mo with Republic Refund discount)
    Unlimited Voice and Text
    $7.50 per 500MB of data.

Republic Wireless recently changed their pricing structure so that everyone starts at the $10/mo plan but each 1 GB of data is about $15/mo. Whatever part of the 1GB (or more) you don't use, you get back in credit. Basically it's like Google's Project Fi but charges more for data and you have no GSM to fall back on.


Project Fi is Google’s joint MVNO with T-Mobile and Sprint. Basically, you will use either T-Mobile’s GSM towers or Sprint’s CDMA towers (depending on who’s got the best signal where you are). Most of the time, however, you will be on Wi-Fi. The data on this plan is customizable at $10 for every 1GB per month you’d like to have.

Notable Phones:
Nexus 6 (right now, this is the only device that works on Project Fi)

Current Plans:
  • The Fi Basics
    $50/mo
    Unlimited Talk and Text
    3GB of LTE data
    Includes unlimited International Talk and Text
    Includes Wi-Fi tethering

Keep in mind, the plan is customizable can change from $30/mo for Unlimited Talk + Text and 3GB of LTE data per month to $120/mo for Unlimited Talk + Text and 10GB of LTE data.

Straight Talk / Net10
Remember all that stuff up there about how ST/Net10 just isn't worth it? Yeah, it's still not worth it.

Want to compare the above plans? whatever7 has kindly given us access to a chart made with Google Sheets.

Click this to see all comparisons.

ThermoPhysical fucked around with this message at 18:39 on Jun 21, 2017

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Mister Fister
May 17, 2008


Thanks for this. For allset, it's LTE as of the 17th. Also, you can use any verizon phone. Also, you get an extra 500 megs of data for autopay.

ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





Mister Fister posted:

Thanks for this. For allset, it's LTE as of the 17th. Also, you can use any verizon phone. Also, you get an extra 500 megs of data for autopay.

No problem and made the changes! Thanks.

SB35
Jul 6, 2007
Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Looking good thermo! I'm available for Cricket referrals if anyone wants one just PM as are a few other goons; TraderStav and ThermoPhysical to name a few off hand.

Wanted to note that it's a $25 credit on your account after 60 days. Not quite what you have in the OP.

SB35 fucked around with this message at 11:24 on Jul 21, 2014

ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





SB35 posted:

Looking good thermo! I'm available for Cricket referrals if anyone wants one just PM as are a few other goons; TraderStav and ThermoPhysical to name a few off hand.

Wanted to note that it's a $25 credit on your account after 60 days. Not quite what you have in the OP.

I don't know what I was going for with that. hah Thanks!

Yeah, I also have referrals too. I'll pop a list up in the OP as well since we have gotten people asking.

Leap Day William
Aug 11, 2006


I've been using ST on AT&T for about 2 years now, and while their reputation for poor customer service is rightly earned they're still very usable with a nice price point. They're also one of the only MVNOs that roam, so if you travel you might have better luck with reception.
I think most of the hate for ST comes from their deceptive marketing ("unlimited" data) and the reports of throttled or disabled service. I've never really had any issues with that, but I rarely exceed 2gb a month in usage. I do have occasional problems when I transition from WiFi to mobile data (I get a "access denied" message) but its easily fixed and I'm not sure if it's ST or my phone causing the problems.

However, I'm dreading the day when I finally have to port my number out of Straight Talk.

Rastor
Jun 2, 2001



Nice OP ThermoPhysical, thanks for taking over.

AT&T supports Wifi hotspot on the $60 gophone plan. (source)

cage-free egghead
Mar 8, 2004

Ready to eat me, sir!


I was getting fed up with Verizon in my city so I switched to Target's Brightspot (T-Mobile). Their $35 includes 300 minutes, 3gb, and unlimited texts. Seems like a good bump from the Dork Plan. 100 minutes was doable for me but that extra cushion at the expense of 2gb less seemed worth it to me. The port took all of 10 minutes to do as well, the staff in store were a huge help.

ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





Rastor posted:

Nice OP ThermoPhysical, thanks for taking over.

AT&T supports Wifi hotspot on the $60 gophone plan. (source)

No problem! Added the change! I wonder if they'll do it for Cricket. It's weird because Cricket actually had their own hotspot thing before AT&T bought them...but it IS AT&T so...


Lblitzer posted:

I was getting fed up with Verizon in my city so I switched to Target's Brightspot (T-Mobile). Their $35 includes 300 minutes, 3gb, and unlimited texts. Seems like a good bump from the Dork Plan. 100 minutes was doable for me but that extra cushion at the expense of 2gb less seemed worth it to me. The port took all of 10 minutes to do as well, the staff in store were a huge help.

Huh, nice deal. Added it to the list!

The website claims it's "up to 3G at 4G speeds". I'm assuming it's 3GB at LTE and then the rest is throttled down. Otherwise, you're just getting 3GB of data and it's not "Unlimited". Or maybe Target's doing like TracFone is doing...

cage-free egghead
Mar 8, 2004

Ready to eat me, sir!


ThermoPhysical posted:

The website claims it's "up to 3G at 4G speeds". I'm assuming it's 3GB at LTE and then the rest is throttled down. Otherwise, you're just getting 3GB of data and it's not "Unlimited". Or maybe Target's doing like TracFone is doing...
I'm currently using a Verizon unlocked phone on there but I believe it does include LTE. I do get at least HSPA+.

Wacky Delly
Apr 2, 2008






I can do Cricket referrals if we're starting a list.

Also, if you're just looking for a backup phone, the absolute cheapest I've found is to take a used Verizon phone to Page Plus. Unlike most, minutes you buy there (if you just buy ala carte minutes) theirs don't expire for 90 days and the balance rolls over. So if you can get by with 100 minutes every 3 months and don't mind topping off that's the absolute cheapest I've found.

Did that for my Dad for a while. Gave him a handme down phone and just put on it every 3 months. Worked well since he never made that many calls/texts, just to be available.

Stupid_Sexy_Flander
Mar 14, 2007

Is a man not entitled to the haw of his maw?


Grimey Drawer

Cool, might go with the target deal. Seems like a decent enough price.

Side note, anyone want a nokia 521 for kinda cheap? Thinking of upgrading to another phone and I don't need this one laying around if I do.

TraderStav
May 19, 2006

It feels like I was standing my entire life and I just sat down


Athenry posted:

I can do Cricket referrals if we're starting a list.


Curious, what's the best way to handle it? Just a list that we cycle through as new people need referrals? Get moved to the bottom of the list every time someone new comes in, and they then get added to the list? Sounds like management hell.

ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





TraderStav posted:

Curious, what's the best way to handle it? Just a list that we cycle through as new people need referrals? Get moved to the bottom of the list every time someone new comes in, and they then get added to the list? Sounds like management hell.

Yeeah, on second thought it does. I'll just remove the list.

Everyone who has a Cricket account can refer someone so, I'd say, if you want a referral, just ask and if someone sees it, they'll be able to give you one. I believe it's unlimited referrals anyway.

I'll be checking this thread a lot anyway (and it's bookmarked) so I'll probably see it.

Mooktastical
Jan 8, 2008


Grimey Drawer

The t-mo dork plan comes with 100 mb of tethering, and they do have actual LTE in some places, fyi.

Geoj
May 28, 2008

BITTER POOR PERSON


Mooktastical posted:

The t-mo dork plan comes with 100 mb of tethering, and they do have actual LTE in some places, fyi.

Anecdotal reports on this indicate that the 100 MB tethering cap that you can only see on the My T-Mobile app doesn't really exist, with numerous people on the internet saying they see little/no use of this metric during heavy tethering or it getting maxed out when they don't tether at all.

Also T-Mobile is a case of when they have coverage, it's very good - better than Verizon in my experience and substantially faster to boot. However, get away from major population centers and if you have any data at all its "edge," their buzzword for 2G.

Rastor
Jun 2, 2001



Buzzword? Hey now, T-Mobile aren't the ones who made up Enhanced Data rate for GSM Evolution.

(but you still don't want to be stuck on an EDGE connection in the year 2014)

whatever7
Jul 26, 2001

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN


Basically the TL;DR version is

super cheapass: Ring+
normal: TMobile $30 plan
high demand: Harbor Mobile

Your welcome.

ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





whatever7 posted:

Basically the TL;DR version is

super cheapass: Ring+
normal: TMobile $30 plan
high demand: Harbor Mobile

Your welcome.

I like how Ring+ requires you to make an account before you even see their plans or phones.

Harbor Mobile looks like it's only for businesses though but I could be mistaken.

Rastor
Jun 2, 2001



I used to order from Dell's small business site and just put my name as the name of my business. I wonder if anyone has tried something similar with Harbor Mobile yet.

whatever7
Jul 26, 2001

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN


ThermoPhysical posted:

I like how Ring+ requires you to make an account before you even see their plans or phones.

Harbor Mobile looks like it's only for businesses though but I could be mistaken.

I will order an unlimted sim next month, I will let you know.

whatever7
Jul 26, 2001

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN


ThermoPhysical posted:

I like how Ring+ requires you to make an account before you even see their plans or phones.

Harbor Mobile looks like it's only for businesses though but I could be mistaken.

Also, it's on Ringplus's front page, maybe your browser is broken?

edit: and somebody need to buy ThermoPHysical a John Legere avatar.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

whatever7 fucked around with this message at 00:31 on Jul 22, 2014

whatever7
Jul 26, 2001

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN


If anybody want to try out Ring Plus, most Boost Mobile phones work.

I have both Boost Kyocera Hydro and Samsung Rush confirmed work.

You can buy a preowned Hydro for 15 on BOost Mobile right now.

You want to go through one of the cashback referral sites (Ebates, Fatwallet, Extrabux etc), it will give you a cash back amount of $17-20 for your Boost purchase. You can't do more than twice otherwise BM blacklist your address. ;p

I really like the Samsung Rush. It has decent fits and finish and you rarely see 750MB memory on a throw away phone.

ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





whatever7 posted:

Also, it's on Ringplus's front page, maybe your browser is broken?

edit: and somebody need to buy ThermoPHysical a John Legere avatar.



OK, maybe my Chrome desktop is broken because it seems to work fine on mobile.

Dogecoin, Bitcoin, $2 plans? This seems crazy.

Please do tell how your experience is!

The CEO of T-Mobile? Am I that crazy?

Venkmanologist
Jun 21, 2007

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together -- mass hysteria.

I just want to get in on the first page and say feel free to PM me for a Cricket referral. I've used StraightTalk GSM (it was garbage) then migrated to Aio and am now a happy Cricket customer.

Good job on the OP, ThermoPhysical!

whatever7
Jul 26, 2001

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN



Only registered members can see post attachments!

whatever7 fucked around with this message at 16:08 on Jul 23, 2014

air-
Sep 24, 2007

Who will win the greatest battle of them all?



Cool thread. I'm on the $30 Tmo 5 gb/100 min plan and this has me pondering going over to Cricket.

Curious though, why isn't MetroPCS in here?

ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





Wooo! Thanks for the awesome avatar!

air- posted:

Cool thread. I'm on the $30 Tmo 5 gb/100 min plan and this has me pondering going over to Cricket.

Curious though, why isn't MetroPCS in here?

Because I am dumb and forgot it. Fixing that.


I...wow.

Reminds me of TracFone's Telcel America, specifically catered to Hispanics as it provides cheap cell service to Mexico.

cage-free egghead
Mar 8, 2004

Ready to eat me, sir!


Oh snap, didn't realize Harbor Mobile is capable of the whole #musicfreedom thing T-Mobile has going on. Their plans are basically $20 cheaper than T-Mobile's. Have we found out exactly what you need to be a business? Just a non-public email address?

Civil
Apr 21, 2003

Do you see this? This means "Have a nice day".

I know this thread is about smartphone data plans, but I figured I'd just drop in with my "cheap phone for a kid" plan.

I have a 9 year old, who certainly doesn't need a smartphone, but I wanted him to have an emergency phone this summer, as we were sending him off to summer camps and wanted him to be able to contact us in an emergency.

AT&T's go phone has an option for 10c/minute, which requires a $25 deposit, which is good for 3 months. This means you have 250 minutes of talk spread over 3 months for about $8/mo. Good for emergencies, but not good if you need to really chat it up daily. Text messages are 20c per, and incoming and outgoing will both bite into your balance, but you can buy messaging bundles (which last 1 month) out of your balance as well. Same for data, but this type of plan is really best if you have wifi access.

I bought him one of the Nokia 520 phones for around $45, which came with the gophone activation plan. When you set it up, it asks you for the IMEI of the phone. Hopefully, you can dig up an old IMEI that the system doesn't recognize, and that will allow you to move onto one of the non-smartphone plans. Once the SIM is activated, you can either continue to use the Nokia, or move onto an android or iphone - it doesn't really matter. They don't care what you do from that point.

So anyway, that's about the cheapest month-to-month option I've found, and has worked well enough for our summer usage. When my kid is back in school, I'll let the plan expire, and buy another $25 worth of air time when we want to send him off on his own again.

Mister Fister
May 17, 2008


Civil posted:

I know this thread is about smartphone data plans, but I figured I'd just drop in with my "cheap phone for a kid" plan.

I have a 9 year old, who certainly doesn't need a smartphone, but I wanted him to have an emergency phone this summer, as we were sending him off to summer camps and wanted him to be able to contact us in an emergency.

AT&T's go phone has an option for 10c/minute, which requires a $25 deposit, which is good for 3 months. This means you have 250 minutes of talk spread over 3 months for about $8/mo. Good for emergencies, but not good if you need to really chat it up daily. Text messages are 20c per, and incoming and outgoing will both bite into your balance, but you can buy messaging bundles (which last 1 month) out of your balance as well. Same for data, but this type of plan is really best if you have wifi access.

I bought him one of the Nokia 520 phones for around $45, which came with the gophone activation plan. When you set it up, it asks you for the IMEI of the phone. Hopefully, you can dig up an old IMEI that the system doesn't recognize, and that will allow you to move onto one of the non-smartphone plans. Once the SIM is activated, you can either continue to use the Nokia, or move onto an android or iphone - it doesn't really matter. They don't care what you do from that point.

So anyway, that's about the cheapest month-to-month option I've found, and has worked well enough for our summer usage. When my kid is back in school, I'll let the plan expire, and buy another $25 worth of air time when we want to send him off on his own again.

Cheapest i found was H20 wireless for $10 gives you 200 minutes, lasts 90 days too. Uses the AT&T network.

Rastor
Jun 2, 2001



Lblitzer posted:

Oh snap, didn't realize Harbor Mobile is capable of the whole #musicfreedom thing T-Mobile has going on. Their plans are basically $20 cheaper than T-Mobile's. Have we found out exactly what you need to be a business? Just a non-public email address?

Apparently Harbor Mobile is literally selling T-Mobile business plans. And according to that article another similar provider only lasted three months before they relaunched with stricter vetting for what qualifies as a business.

Civil
Apr 21, 2003

Do you see this? This means "Have a nice day".

Mister Fister posted:

Cheapest i found was H20 wireless for $10 gives you 200 minutes, lasts 90 days too. Uses the AT&T network.

That's way better, perfect for this application. I had no idea this existed. Thanks!

Mister Fister
May 17, 2008


Civil posted:

That's way better, perfect for this application. I had no idea this existed. Thanks!

Buy minutes from callingmart, get another 3% or 5% off and don't pay taxes either.

Edit: Oh yeah, and you can find 99 cent sim cards on ebay, H20 charges something ridiculous for their sim cards.

Mister Fister fucked around with this message at 20:21 on Jul 23, 2014

Mister Fister
May 17, 2008


Does that $30 t-mobile prepaid plan also have unlimited music streaming as well?

Merv Burger
Jan 3, 2008



Mister Fister posted:

Does that $30 t-mobile prepaid plan also have unlimited music streaming as well?

It requires you to be on a "qualified Simple Choice plan." It's not marketed as a simple choice plan, so I just assume Music Freedom is not covered under it.

Stupid_Sexy_Flander
Mar 14, 2007

Is a man not entitled to the haw of his maw?


Grimey Drawer

I've asked em about it, and the streaming stuff is apparently available on the dork plan.

It's also through the resellers through tmobile as well, or at least from harbor mobile.

cage-free egghead
Mar 8, 2004

Ready to eat me, sir!


Stupid_Sexy_Flander posted:

I've asked em about it, and the streaming stuff is apparently available on the dork plan.

It's also through the resellers through tmobile as well, or at least from harbor mobile.

I got really excited about this but it went against my limit for listening to Spotify for a half hour. I'm just a bit skeptical. HowardForums (unsurprisingly) doesn't have the full info on it either.

tonic
Jan 4, 2003



Going to sign up for Cricket and I'd like a referral.

ThermoPhysical, do you have another contact method to get the referral going? Looks like you don't have PM and I'd like to help you out since you put in the time to make this thread.

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ThermoPhysical
Dec 26, 2007





tonic posted:

Going to sign up for Cricket and I'd like a referral.

ThermoPhysical, do you have another contact method to get the referral going? Looks like you don't have PM and I'd like to help you out since you put in the time to make this thread.

Thanks!

You can shoot me an e-mail at one of my throwaways:

[Redacted]

ThermoPhysical fucked around with this message at 23:58 on Jan 15, 2017

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